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October 12: Deadline to pick-up your scooters, motorcycles and private cars

PHILIPSBURG - The Police Department (KPSM) is hereby informing the general public about the following: In connection with the large number of unclaimed scooters, motorcycles and private cars which were confiscated by police for traffic violations or for other investigations, that the dates which were set to claim these vehicles have been extended until October 12th, 2018.

Persons wanting to claim their vehicle can do so daily (except Saturday October 6th and Sunday 7th) from 11.00 a.m. to 02.00 p.m.

Only those persons with valid documents to prove ownership should come and claim their scooter, motorcycle or private car. Persons without any valid documents claiming any scooter, motorcycle or private car will not be eligible to receive any of these vehicles.

To claim any of these scooters, motorcycles or private car on other dates than those that are mentioned, will not be possible. The scooters, motorcycles or private vehicles that are not claimed would then be disposed of in an appropriate manner.

Visit KPSM Facebook Page for more information for more information.

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Countdown to October 30 Career & Study Fair 2018

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – The St. Maarten Career & Study Fair Committee is pleased to announce that they will be hosting their annual Career & Study Fair on Tuesday, October 30, 2018.

Last year the Committee was forced to cancel the Career Fair, as a direct result of the devastating Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The Committee welcomes the community to their annual Career & Study Fair on Tuesday, October 30, 2018 at the Bel-Air Community Center under the theme: “What you do today can improve your tomorrows”.

The Career Fair will allow interested students and parents to meet with the various college representatives and become more familiar with career opportunities.

Pre-exam and exam students from all secondary schools on the island will be accommodated from 9:00 a.m.to 1:30 p.m.

The Career & Study Fair will be open to the general public from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. The Committee is appealing to the general public to take advantage of this opportunity.

Educational Institutions

Participating colleges and university representatives from the region, Curaçao, Aruba, Bonaire, Anguilla, the United States and Holland will be on hand to share information about their academic institutions and services.

This year we are happy that more (new) Dutch and US colleges and universities will be joining the 2018 Fair. Since studying in the region is being promoted by all the former Netherlands Antilles, the Career and Study Fair Committee is happy to have the colleges and universities from Curaçao, Aruba and Bonaire fully on board.

In addition, local educational institutions such as the University of St. Martin, representatives from the Student Support Services, NIPA as well as the Cape and IB programs will be in attendance to provide information to the public regarding their services.

Local Businesses

There will also be local businesses and organizations in attendance, such as UTS, Winair and the White & Yellow Cross. We encourage all other interested businesses to register as there are spots still available. Institutions who have not yet confirmed their participation, are encouraged to complete their registration process.

“The Committee is grateful for the businesses, colleges and universities that have confirmed their participation in this event. The information that will be disseminated will be helpful to not only the youth of Country St. Maarten, but to anyone who would like to further their education, when deciding what their next step in life would be.

Attendees are encouraged to use this opportunity to obtain more information on a particular career they might be interested in”, committee officials said. This annual event promises to be very informative and serves to support the decision-making process in furthering one’s education and or career path.

The general public is invited to come out and benefit from the information and advice that will be made available. Visitors at the fair will be able to meet representatives from a wide selection of colleges and universities to get detailed information about the courses they are interested in.

The experienced representatives from the colleges and universities will be present to offer guidance to students on their study options. Parents and or guardians are especially encouraged to visit the Fair.

For registration please contact us by email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. For more information please visit us on Facebook: St. Maarten Career & Study Fair

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Prime Minister Romeo Marlin speaks at Nelson Mandela Peace Summit

SINT MAARTEN/NEW YORK - While on a working visit to the UN General Assembly in New York, Prime Minister Leona Romeo Marlin had the opportunity to give an address at the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit.

“Today, I am truly grateful on this occasion to participate in this Peace Summit devoted to one of the most prominent revolutionary figures of our time, Nelson Mandela,” Dedicating the 2019-2028 period to Nelson Mandela, as affirmed in the political declaration [to be] adopted today, has great symbolic and inspirational value.

“Let me seize this opportunity to thank South Africa and Ireland for their valuable efforts in co-facilitating the drafting process. 

Today’s global challenges and threats remind us that the world Madiba hoped for, the world also envisioned in the UN Charter, is still far from being a reality”, said Prime Minister Romeo Marlin.

Prime Minister Leona Romeo Marlin along with the Prime Minister of Aruba Evelyn Wever-Croes and Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte formed part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands delegation attending the annual gathering of world leaders at the UN General Assembly.

The UN General Assembly is one of the six main organs of the United Nations. During the week, several side events and meetings were kept in the margins of the UN General Assembly.

Strengthening International Maritime Cooperation in the Caribbean was the subject of another side event attended by Prime Minister Romeo Marlin, Prime Minister Wever-Croes and Minister of Defense of the Kingdom of the Netherlands Ank Bijleveld.

During the meeting discussions centered around issues of enhanced cooperation between the various countries and institutions within the Caribbean region in the field of fighting transnational organized crime (such as illicit trafficking of narcotics, weaponry and other contrabands, smuggling of migrants and human trafficking) making better use of the legal instruments in place and promoting citizen security.

In addition to this, the Kingdom of the Netherlands and Costa Rica made efforts to reach out to countries concerned in order to promote, improve and possibly expand the Caribbean Regional Maritime Agreement of the San Jose Treaty.

A follow-up meeting with CARICOM countries will be planned in the near future as they have showed willingness to engage in maritime cooperation.

“Attending such high-level meetings at the United Nations helps to position Sint Maarten in its quest to re-establish itself as the beacon of the Caribbean following the passing of Hurricane Irma and Maria.

“As Prime Minister I recognize and promote the importance of international relations and networking at the highest levels with world leaders which can benefit the overall development of our country” said Prime Minister Romeo Marlin.  

Before returning to Sint Maarten, talks were also held with one of our neighboring countries St. Kitts and Nevis represented by current Prime Minister Timothy Harris.

On behalf of the Government and people of Sint Maarten, Prime Minister Romeo Marlin expressed congratulatory greetings on St. Kitts and Nevis achieving its 35th Anniversary of Independence on September 19th, 2018. 

The discussions with Prime Minister Harris touched on maritime regulations, combatting crime on both islands and encouraging the return of consumer tourists from the twin island country via our harbor and airport.

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Smith now has the green light to start Law Classes

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Minister of Education, Culture, Youth & Sport (ECYS) Wycliffe Smith will now be able to enter a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Curacao for the commencement of Law classes at the University of St. Martin, now that Finance Minister Perry Geerlings has signed the National Ordinance to guarantee its funding.

The National Ordinance was signed during a brief ceremony at the office of Finance Minister Geerling’s at the Government Administration Building on Soualiga Road #1 on Friday.

Minister Smith said the signing of the document would reassure those waiting to attend the law classes that the course will soon begin.

Minister Geerlings had indicated during a sitting of Parliament last week that the Naf.1 million was already in place for the law course. He explained that the National Ordinance was the final piece of the process that was being awaited.

Once it was signed by his Excellency the Governor Eugene Holiday, Minister Geerlings was able to co-sign the document to facilitate the release of the funds.

The USM, the University of Curacao and Minister Smith had planned for the law course to start in September. Now that the National Ordinance has been signed, the Minister of Education is able to finalise the details of the agreement with the University of Curacao for the immediate commencement of the law classes on St. Maarten.

The classes will be streamed live from Curacao to students in St. Maarten and some classes will be pre-recorded and sent to students here as well. In some cases, the professors will travel to St. Maarten to attend classes in person and work with local students when they have specific assignments.

The law program will last four to five years at the cost of USD$3000 per year for each student.

The commencement of this Law program through the University of St. Martin meets a target under the Governing Program 2018-2022 in which USM becomes the nucleus for national and international development.

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Winair partners together with CC1 St. Maarten

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Winair and CC1 St. Maarten are pleased to announce their exclusive partnership in St. Maarten, both companies said in a joint statement.

“Together we will provide our mutual customers premium beverage products on board all ATR aircraft between St. Maarten and Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire, Santo Domingo, Haiti, San Juan, Dominica and Guadeloupe.

“Thanks to the efforts of CC1 St. Maarten and Winair, two local St. Maarten companies working together we are now able to offer our customers a truly enjoyable flight.

“The customer will have the choice of the products Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coca-Cola Zero, Dasani water, Canada Dry Club Soda and BUD Light beer, added to these products are also Keann Juices which are distributed by Prime Distributors.

“Commencing October 15th, we are able to offer free Bud Light beer on the flights listed above to eligible customers. Both CC1 St. Maarten and Winair do advice our customers to drink responsibly,” the joint statement said.

“Offering CC1 premium beverages to Winair customers, is reaching the “skies”. We at CC1 St. Maarten are very committed to our consumers that now can enjoy our world known beverages on Winair ATR Flights,” said Mrs Gina Phelipa, General Manager of CC1 St. Maarten.

CC1 St. Maarten is one of St. Maarten’s largest beverage distributors refreshing the island one drop at a time! Our distribution center is located at Oryx Drive 1 in Cay Hill.

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UPDATED: TS: Kirk. Schools closed from St. Lucia to Guadeloupe. Police on Standby. Reports of roofs blown off

SINT MAARTEN/CARIBBEAN – Eye-witness reports out of St. Lucia Thursday night reports power outages throughout the country; reports of some roofs blown off in Gros Islet; some trees are down.

Barbados has reported violent showers, periods of rain, thunderstorms and gusty winds across most of the country. Rainfall accumulations recorded are between three to five inches and wind gusts of 44 to 48 miles per hour.

The Barbados meteorological services expect that the aforementioned conditions are expected to persist into early Friday and a Flood Warning has been issued until 6.00am Friday.

Even though Tropical Storm Kirk is now in the Caribbean Sea, the tail section of the system is expected to persist for several hours going into Friday.

ARCHIVE: SINT MAARTEN/CARIBBEAN – Tropical Storm (TS) Kirk on Thursday night has started to impact several of the islands of the Windward Islands as it crosses the Lesser Antilles island chain into the Caribbean Sea during the course of Thursday night.

Kirk has already crossed over St. Lucia into the Caribbean Sea the National Hurricane Center (NHC) announced at 11.00pm.

There have already been some unconfirmed reports out of St. Lucia where in the northern part of the island some roofs have blown off.

The NHC reported late Thursday night that tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 150 miles (240 km) mainly to the east of the center – earlier on Thursday this was up to 140 miles.

A station at Fond-denis-Cadet in the higher terrain on Martinique recently reported a wind gust to 68 miles per hour (110 km/h).

Preparations have been underway on several islands in the path of the storm for a couple of days. St. Lucia disaster management authorities closed schools on Thursday and they are to remain closed on Friday as well. Guadeloupe, which is part of the southern Leeward Islands, also closed its schools.

Private sector operations such as supermarkets, pharmacies and gas stations in St. Lucia were encouraged to cease operations by 6.00pm on Thursday giving staff sufficient time to reach home.

St. Lucia also placed all Police Officers both on duty and on leave on standby with respect to the passing of Kirk.

Dominica also closed schools on Thursday and they may remain closed also on Friday as Kirk moves through the islands on Thursday night. Businesses were also closed on Thursday in order for employees to be able to prepare for the passing of Kirk.

The Acting Prime Minister of Barbados Dale Marshall announced earlier in the day on Thursday that no national shutdown order of public and private sectors had been given and it was business as usual.

The decision was based on the advice provided by the Department of Emergency Management following advice from the Barbados Meteorological Service in consultation with the National Emergency Operations Centre.

However, public daycare centres, nurseries, primary, secondary and tertiary institutions were closed on Thursday as well as several beaches in order to facilitate the opening of the sluice gate to control water levels in the Graeme Hall Swamp.

SOUALIGA NEWSDAY WEATHER WATCH REPORT  

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Leslie forecast to regain storm status. Possible new storm/hurricane activity after October 4

SINT MAARTEN/CARIBBEAN – The Colorado State University (CSU) Department of Atmospheric Science has issued the latest two weeks forecast related to storm/hurricane activity and the next two weeks will be characterized by activity at above-normal levels.

Leslie, currently a post-tropical system in the north Atlantic Ocean is forecast to become a subtropical or tropical cyclone – rebirth - in the next few days.

CSU expects says the Madden-Julian Oscillation is forecast to make weather conditions during the next two-week period become fore favorable to Atlantic hurricane activity as vertical wind shear decreases.

CSU adds that the period September 27 to October 10 with respect to climatology is still an active part of the hurricane season, but the primary threat formation area for major hurricanes shifts from the eastern and central tropical Atlantic to further westward.

None of the reliable global weather models indicate additional significant tropical storm/hurricane development in the next week.

With a decrease in wind shear forecast in the western Caribbean, this could potentially favor storm development in this region after October 4.

SOUALIGA NEWSDAY WEATHER WATCH REPORT  

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Minister Lee goes on Labor inspections. Gross non-compliance found

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - Minister of VSA (Public Health, Social Development and Labor) Emil Lee stated on Wednesday that he experienced ‘gross non-compliance’ during his recent field visit with the Labor inspectors of VSA.

Lee further commented that the inspectors were initially denied access to conduct their inspection of a Government owned entity, “I think this is clearly inappropriate and something that I will bring up with the management of that entity.” 

Lee occasionally joins the field inspections in order to better understand and assess the challenges faced by the inspectors and understanding of “what’s going on in the community.”

“As a Government, we need to try and ensure compliance and we are looking at it as a phased approach. Certainly, for people who are paying their taxes and premiums, we would work along with the employer in terms of how we can improve their compliance in terms of work permits and residence permits for example.

“For those companies who are not paying their taxes and social premiums - that is unforgivable. For the country that is something, we just simply cannot afford to let happen.” – Emil Lee, Minister of VSA

Employers and employees alike are called upon to adhere to compliance regulations. The general observation is that employees who were addressed, were under the impression that they were being compliant.

However, when asked to provide appropriate documentation such as pay slips and labor agreements they were unable to show proof. “It is troubling to see that a lot of these workers are in a way being taken advantage of. Imagine, many of the employees couldn't even provide the name of the company that employed them.

 Employees are reminded and encouraged by the Minister to be sure to receive a pay slip from their employer, to always have a valid form of identification on hand and to have a copy of their labor agreement

"If you have a smart phone, take a picture of your last pay slip and labor agreement and have this on hand." Employers are reminded that they must understand that they have a responsibility, regardless of the legal status of an employee – taxes and social premiums must be paid, it is a legal obligation.

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ODM Monitoring Tropical Storm Kirk. Community Advised to Monitor System

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY, DCOMM) – According to the Meteorological Department of St. Maarten (MDS), Tropical Storm Kirk which is located more than 600 miles southeast of Sint Maarten as of Wednesday afternoon, is forecast to pass approximately 194 miles south of the country Thursday night into Friday.

Tropical storm force winds extend up to 115 miles from the center.  While this storm does not pose a direct threat to Sint Maarten, MDS expects that the country could experience based on Wednesday afternoons information, gusty winds, high seas and heavy rainfall is also a possibility with the passage of the system.

The Fire Department/Office of Disaster Management (ODM), is advising residents of Sint Maarten to closely monitor the progress of Tropical Storm Kirk. 

ODM request residents to use the time now to review their hurricane season preparations and to re-check their disaster supply kit.

The MDS along with the ODM is closely monitoring the progress of this system and will keep the community of Sint Maarten informed with respect to the approach of Tropical Storm Kirk to the Lesser Antilles.

For official local weather and Government related disaster/hurricane information please visit (www.meteosxm.com); the Government of Sint Maarten website (www.sintmaartengov.org) or the Government of Sint Maarten social media Facebook Page (www.facebook.com/SXMGOV), or tune into Government Radio 107.9 FM.

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Agreement signed for Terms and Conditions of Employment of Teaching Staff

SABA - On September 20th, 2018, the commissioners of Education, the deputy Kingdom commissioner, school boards, representative’s representation of the staff and the Trade Union on Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius signed the new terms of employment agreement for 2018 – 2020.

The deal includes:

  • There will be a salary increase of in total 3.75% over two years. Specifically, this means a rise of the gross remuneration amounts of 2% effective from January 1, 2018 and a risk of the gross remuneration amounts of 1.75% effective from January 1, 2019;
  • Further development of the end-of-year bonus to a thirteenth month’s salary. This is implemented gradually effective from January 1, 2018. Specifically, this means the following:
  • - Effective from January 1, 2018 the nominal end-of-year bonus is replaced by a payment in percentage terms of 5% of the gross salary with a minimum of USD 1,500.00.
  • - Effective from January 1, 2019 the end-of-year bonus amounts to 6% of the gross salary with a minimum of USD 1,500.00.
  • - Effective from January 1, 2020 the end-of-year bonus amounts to 7% of the gross salary with a minimum of USD 1,500.00.

At the end of 2019 it is determined whether there is room available for further salary developments. The potential available room will then be discussed in the consultations with the trade unions and the employer. The guiding principle is that available room is basically used in or about 2020 or in subsequent years to realize an increase of the end-of-year bonus towards 8.33%.

  • Other arrangements:

Moment of payment of vacation allowance and end-of-year bonus: In the Consultative Committee Caribbean Netherlands of January 24, 2017 it was decided that the vacation allowance will be paid in the month of May and the end-of-year bonus in the month of November;

  • Deployment of additional means for terms and conditions of employment in the primary education:

In recent years the primary education has worked hard on improving the quality. The teachers in the primary education are basically classified in salary scale LA and partly in salary scale LB. The available resources are deployed for a structural additional increase of the salaries in scale LA of three per cent effective from January 1, 2018. The salary amounts in scales LB and LC are not increased additionally. Instead, the remaining resources, where possible, are used by the school boards for (1) the allocation of an additional increment (scale increment) for the teachers in LB (this can also be upon commencement of the employment) and/or (2) the advancement of teachers from scale LA to scale LB or from scale LB to scale LC. Due to this deployment the income position of the lowest paid teachers is relatively enhanced the most.

  • Additional work pressure resources for primary education:

In the European Netherlands on February 9, 2018, the trade unions, the Primary Education Council and the cabinet reached an agreement on the reduction of the work pressure in primary education. Resources were also made available for this for primary education in the Caribbean Netherlands.

How the resources for the reduction of the work pressure are deployed, is determined per school. With a more considerable role for the teachers, the ownership of the work pressure problem is stimulated for the teachers. That is why the deployment of resources is determined in consultation with the staff delegation of the participation council (MR). On basis of the meeting with the (representation of the) teachers and in consultation with the school principal, the school board determines the spending plan. Eventually, the school board is responsible for the deployment of resources to the reduction of work pressure.

In the spring of 2018, as a start of the implementation of these arrangements, employees of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the RCN/OCW had initial exploratory discussions with the trade union, participation councils, teachers, school boards and the Public Entities.

Following that, a conference was organized in August 2018 during which the parties concerned were informed and consulted about the possible improvement of the current process of collective formation of terms and conditions of employment.

Following that steps are now taken in the direction of improvement of the process of collective formation of terms and the conditions of employment, with attention for the necessary preconditions.

This agreement on the terms and conditions of employment with a term of three years offers room for going into discussions (and arriving at arrangements) for improvement of the consultative model. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)

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