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More Indian nationals in NL conned by fake IND officials, call for better warnings

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Indian nationals in the Netherlands are still being conned out of thousands of euros by scammers who pose as officials from the Dutch immigration service IND, DutchNews can report.

The latest victim, a master’s student at Delft University, lost €1,400 after she was threatened with arrest for ‘failing to provide proper paperwork’ when she came to the Netherlands 18 months ago. 

Anubhuti Chandna told DutchNews.nl she was telephoned earlier this week by a man who had her passport number and her address. ‘I verified the number and it came from the immigration service,’ she said. 

‘He told me there was a warrant out for my arrest because there was reason to believe I was involved in criminal activity either here or in India.’ The man, who may have had an Indian accent, told Chandna she would be arrested if she put down the phone, asked for her BSN and other numbers, as well as information about how many bank accounts she had. 

‘He was extremely threatening,’ she said. ‘At that point your head stops working.’ The caller told Chanda to buy Apple gift cards to the value of €1,400 from a supermarket as security and give him the numbers. 

He said that a policeman would drop round shortly to give her a cheque for the amount and verify her documents. ‘It was then I realised this was a scam,’ she says. ‘I immediately called the number back and got the foreign ministry who told me they are aware their number is being hacked.’ 

Embassy 

The Indian embassy in The Hague told her it knows about the con trick but that there is little officials can do. ‘They told me not to worry because the scammers are not in the Netherlands and no-one is going to come to my house,’ Chandna said. 

She has also made a formal complaint to the police, who say they are aware of other examples of people being conned. ‘All three agencies are aware this is going on, but no-one is warning the Indian community,’ she said. 

‘I know the money is not going to come back, but more should be done to make sure other people don’t fall for the same trick.’ 

Warning

The IND has a warning on the news section of its website which dates from 2016. Neither the justice ministry nor the Indian embassy responded to DutchNews requests for comment about what can be done to stop more people falling victim to the scam. 

In January 2018, the justice ministry told DutchNews.nl that 160 expats had reported attempts to con them out of cash by people posing as workers at the IND immigration service. 

At least 10 attempts of those attempts have succeeded the ministry said. Website Fraud Helpdesk has a recording of one of the scammers in action. (DutchNews)

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Surcharge for AOV per 2020 depending on personal situation

SABA/ST. EUSTATIUS - The allowance for AOV beneficiaries in the Caribbean Netherlands as of January 1st, 2020 depends on the personal situation of the applicant. The housing and living situation and income determine whether someone is entitled to this allowance and how high the allowance will be.

In a letter from State Secretary for Social Affairs and Employment (SZW) Tamara van Ark, to the House of Representatives and the rectification thereof, specific amounts are mentioned. Namely a surcharge of $186 per two weeks for Bonaire, a surcharge of $233 per two weeks for St. Eustatius and of $224 per two weeks for Saba.

With this allowance, the personal income is supplemented to the amount of the statutory minimum wage (Wettelijk Minimum Loon, WML) per 2020. The amount depends therefor on the housing and living situation and the income of the person in question. The supplement may be higher than the amounts mentioned, for example if the concerning person is cut in his or her AOV. However, it is also possible that there is no entitlement to supplement at all, in the event that the total income is already higher than the WML.

In total, people living alone entitled to AOV on Bonaire will have at least 894 dollars per month in income from January 1st, 2020. On St. Eustatius it is at least 1120 dollars per month and on Saba 1076 dollars per month. AOV beneficiaries who have a partner can also qualify for the allowance if their joint income is below the WML. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)

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Solution found for 33-year-old pregnant Venezuelan woman

BONAIRE - On Monday February 18th, a 33-year-old pregnant woman from Venezuela was denied access to Bonaire. The woman did not meet the requirements for access as set out in the “Wet Toelating & Uitzetting BES”. 

“The law requires that persons who do not fulfill the conditions of entry, to leave the country. For humanitarian reasons and in order to avoid potential health risks, the Royal Netherlands Military Constabulary (KMAR) cancelled the return flight and because of the pregnancy of the woman medical advice was requested, from which it was apparent that the woman was allowed to fly.“Because of  the concerns expressed by the Bonaire community, the Island Governor contacted the State Secretary of Justice & Security who is responsible for the “Wet Toelating & Uitzetting BES”. In addition, this was discussed with the public prosecutor, the police and the KMAR.  “The KMAR is well aware of the difficult situation and had a personal conversation with the woman. In this conversation it was explained that, as long as the woman is fit to fly on medical advice, she must leave the country, as the law prescribes. 

“Currently the borders between the ABC islands and Venezuela are closed. In addition, the KMAR was in contact with the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) and the Ministry of Justice & Security. 

“They agreed that, if an application for family reunification is submitted, the return process of the woman in question will not be initiated. Meanwhile an application for family reunification was submitted. This application is being processed at the IND.” (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)

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Continuation Plenary Public session Princess Juliana International Airport

PHILIPSBURG – The House of Parliament will sit in Continuation Plenary Public meeting on Friday, February 22.  The Prime Ministerand the Minister of Tourism Economic Affairs, Transport, and Telecommunications will be present.

The Plenary Public meeting which was adjourned on Monday, February 4, 2019 will be reconvened on Friday, February 22, 2019 at 10.00 hrs. in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelminastraat #1 in Philipsburg.

The agenda point is:

Discussion on the decision of the Council of Ministers taken on Tuesday to go with the Dutch government and European Investment Bank (EIB) financing proposal to the tune of US $100 million for the reconstruction of St. Maarten’s Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA) (IS/487/18-19 d.d 14 January 2019)

This meeting was requested by MP A.M.R. Irion, MP E.J. Doran, MP C.T. Emmanuel, MP S.E. Jacobs, MP F.G. Richardson, and MP R. Brison.

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 session will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 115, via SXM GOV radio FM 107.9, via Pearl Radio FM 98.1, the audio via the Internet www.sxmparliament.orgwww.pearlfmradio.com and Parliament’s Facebook page: Parliament of Sint Maarten.

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Continuation Central Committee meeting regarding financial status of SZV

PHILIPSBURG – The House of Parliament will sit in a Central Committee meeting on Friday. The Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor will be present.  

The Continuation Central Committee meeting no. 9 which was adjourned on Friday, November 16, 2018 will be reconvened on Friday, February 22, 2019 at 14.00 hrs. in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelminastraat #1 in Philipsburg. 

The agenda point is: The current financial status of SZV and the revenue losses since the passing of hurricanes Irma and Maria (IS/116/2018-2019 dated September 26, 2018)

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 session will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 115, via SXM GOV radio FM 107.9, via Pearl Radio FM 98.1, the audio via the Internet www.sxmparliament.orgwww.pearlfmradio.comand Parliament’s Facebook page: Parliament of Sint Maarten.

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AICESIS to hold board meeting about the Digital Revolution

SINT MAARTEN/CURACAO - On March 7 and 8, 2019, the International Association of Economic and Social Councils and Similar Institutions (AICESIS) will hold its annual board meeting in Willemstad, Curaçao (Dutch Caribbean), which will be followed by an open workshop for all members. This international event will take place in the Renaissance Curaçao Resort & Casino.

AICESIS, whose primary objective is to encourage and promote dialogue and exchange of views and good practices among its members and, at a wider level, to encourage dialogue between economic and social partners around the world, currently unifies 72 Economic and Social Councils and Similar Institutions (‘ECS’s-SI’s) from African, Latin American, Asian and European countries.

The Economic and Social Council of Curaçao (‘SER’) is since 2017 member of the board of AICESIS, representing the Latin American region.

The SER feels much honored to have been offered the responsibility to host this great event this year, which will bring delegates from ECS’s-SI’s from all over the world to our colorful and vibrant island.

The SER sees this as a unique opportunity for AICESIS-members to meet and greet each other and to exchange ideas and best practices in a distinctive Caribbean environment, known for its European style, rich cultural and architectural heritage with a blend of more than 55 nationalities.

 

 

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Plenary Public session of Parliament regarding sexual molestation cases

PHILIPSBURG – The House of Parliament will sit in a Plenary Public meeting on Thursday, February 21. 

The Public meeting is scheduled for 14.00 hrs. in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelminastraat #1 in Philipsburg.The Minister of Justice will be present.

The agenda points are:

  1. Incoming documents 
  2. Regulation of tasks
  3. Discussion on handling of sexual molestation cases that have been surfacing in the media

(IS/539/2018-2019 dated January 30, 2019)

This meeting was requested by MP T.E. Leonard, MP F. A. Meyers, MP S.M. Bijlani and MP C.A.H. Peterson.

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 session will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 115, via SXM GOV radio FM 107.9, via Pearl Radio FM 98.1, the audio via the Internet www.sxmparliament.org, www.pearlfmradio.sxand Parliament’s Facebook page: Parliament of Sint Maarten.

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Successful “Driven to OWN” Financial Planning & Mortgage Seminar Hosted at Motorworld in Collaboration with CIBC FirstCaribbean

SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) - The community of St. Maarten responded positively with record-breaking attendance at the launch of the “Driven to OWN” financial planning and mortgage seminar held at Motorworld on Wednesday February 13th in Collaboration with CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank.

“We were extremely pleased to see over two hundred persons - individuals driven for financial success and ownership - join us at our first ‘Driven to Own’ series event. We look forward to working with Motorworld and other partners in offering residents more financial freedom and ownership possibilities. CIBC FirstCaribbean is here to offer you more than just banking services, we are committed to helping you grow and to your financial future” stated Whitfield Vlaun, Loan & Mortgage Manager, at CIBC FirstCaribbean.   

The “Driven to OWN” Financial Planning & Mortgage Seminar was an unprecedented mortgage and financial planning series launched to educate and empower individuals with essential tools. Participants responded positively with sincere interest, pointed questions and discussions, as well as the pledge to continue on the journey towards home and/or property ownership. 

“In keeping with our corporate responsibility, we were pleased to kick-off this ‘Driven to OWN’ series with participants who were enthusiastic and genuinely interested in the information and tools provided towards home and/or property ownership,” says Jacqueline Louis, Marketing Management Consultant, Motorworld Group of Companies. 

This insightful and interactive seminar was moderated by Ife Badejo, CEO of the Produce Wealth Revolution (PWR) Agency who shared: “Driven to Own was amazing.  It was impressive to see how many people came and participated. I would like to thank the entire community for making this such a success. I look forward to seeing more financially independent people and, economically resilient island. To make that happen we need to own more. Hopefully this inspires people to do just that."  

Informational presentations were conducted by Debby Richardson (CIBC FirstCaribbean), representatives of Island Real Estate, and Motorworld’s CFO

Jagdesh Haripersaud, sharing tips and tricks on the importance of saving towards owning that dream car and/or home. Together, these partners remain committed to help individuals build their financial portfolios, and remain “Driven to OWN”, a piece of our beloved island paradise.

The follow-up session is being planned for June, with the ultimate goal to encourage success stories for those individuals who dare to dream and, thereby,

activate a movement of residents who are “Driven to Own” property, home, and/or automobiles through financial empowerment. 

Please contact Motorworld at (721) 544-5294 and/or stay tuned to Motorworld St. Maarten/ St. Martin’s Facebook page for ongoing updates.

For further information on the financial and mortgage products available at CIBC FirstCaribbean, please contact Debby Richardson at (721) 544-3745 ext 6271 or via e-mail at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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U.S. Consul General Hawthorne Hosts Visit of USAID Administrator Mark Green

SINT MAARTEN/CURACAO - U.S. Consul General Margaret Hawthorne hosted the visit of United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Mark Green on February 18 and 19. 

Ambassador Green was sworn in as the 18th USAID Administrator in August 2017. Prior to joining USAID, he served as president of the International Republican Institute, a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to advancing democracy and human liberty around the world. 

Ambassador Green served as the U.S. Ambassador to Tanzania from 2007 to 2009. While there, he led a mission of more than 350 Americans and Tanzanians and was responsible for some of the world’s largest U.S.-funded development programs. 

During his visit to Curaçao, Ambassador Green met with Prime Minister Eugene Rhuggenaath, the Director of Foreign Affairs, and the Director of Disaster Management. 

In his meetings, Administrator Green discussed the need for pre-positioning civilian humanitarian aid for the people of Venezuela, throughout the region. Prime Minister Rhuggenaath and Ambassador Green agreed on the need for coordination among international partners to help solve the worsening humanitarian crisis in Venezuela and expressed their mutual desire to pursue the agreements that would allow the United States and other donors to stockpile supplies in private warehouses in Curaçao for eventual transfer to Venezuela. 

Ambassador Green also met with members of the Venezuelan diaspora in Curaçao, who described their desire to restore democracy in Venezuela and the horrific conditions many of their friends and relatives face under the Maduro regime. 

The stories of shortages of medicine and food, repression, and extreme poverty underscore the vast humanitarian need among the people of Venezuela, and the regional consequences of this crisis. 

The Administrator expressed his admiration for the generosity of the Venezuelan community in Curaçao for their efforts to deliver aid to their countrymen through private channels. 

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COM takes note of the arrest of MP Theodore Heyliger

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - The Council of Ministers (COM), has taken note of the arrest of Member of Parliament (MP) Theodore Heyliger on Tuesday morning February 19th, COM said in a press statement on Wednesday.  

“The Council of Ministers recognizes that we all must allow room for the wheels of justice to turn and for Mr. Heyliger to have his day to defend himself.

“The Council of Ministers wishes Mr. Heyliger, his family, friends and colleagues much strength during this period of uncertainty that they face. 

“Meanwhile, we of the Council of Ministers, wish to ensure the people of St. Maarten that we will continue to work diligently on the task at hand of managing the daily governmental affairs of this country. 

“We will continue to forge forward with the rebuilding of this nation. This task requires us all to unite and focus on one common goal. That goal being stability and progress for our island St, Maarten. Our commitment will remain primarily to the people of this country that we have the honor of serving,” the press release from COM concludes.

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