Soualiga News II

Soualiga News II (1799)

70 million people to be vaccinated as part of Vaccination Week in the Americas

SINT MAARTEN/AMERICAS — More than 70 million people will be vaccinated against a variety of dangerous vaccine-preventable diseases during the 16thannual Vaccination Week in the Americas - 10 million more than in 2017. Coordinated by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the campaign, which has taken place each year since 2003 and will be celebrated this year from 21 to 28 April, aims to promote the vital role of vaccination in saving lives.

The slogan for this year’s campaign is “Strengthen your defense! #GetVax #VaccinesWork.” It was chosen in honor of the 2018 soccer World Cup and seeks to encourage the population in general, and particularly those planning a trip abroad, to get vaccinated in order to strengthen their immune systems and avoid disease.

As part of the Vaccination Week in the Americas celebrations, 11 countries have announced their intention to strengthen measles immunization through the vaccination of 6 million people. The endemic measles virus was eliminated in the Americas but continues to circulate in other parts of the world. However, in 2017, almost 900 new cases were registered in four countries of the region, and during the first few months of this year, 380 new cases were registered in eleven countries.

“Vaccination Week is a great opportunity to unite efforts in protecting the health of the population,” said Carissa F. Etienne, Director of PAHO. Vaccination and surveillance are particularly important for the region to ensure that diseases such as measles do not get reintroduced, she added. Since May 2017, PAHO has released several alerts about new measles outbreaks and has called for strengthened efforts to prevent new cases and halt transmission.

As part of the Vaccination Week in the Americas campaign, 14 countries will vaccinate against influenza, 16 will vaccinate against polio, 13 will vaccinate against the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and five will vaccinate against yellow fever. Sixteen countries are also planning a series of other public health actions, such as the distribution of Vitamin A and deworming initiatives, in addition to vaccinating.

On 23 April, Cuba will host the regional launch at the Victoria de Girón Institute of Basic and Preclinical Sciences in Havana. Cuban authorities, the Director General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus; and PAHO Director, Carissa F. Etienne, will participate, along with representatives from other countries, UN agencies, and partners.

Launch activities are also planned in Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Brazil, the British Virgin Islands, Colombia, Curacao, the Dominican Republic, Granada, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin, Turks and Caicos, and Trinidad and Tobago; several international events are also being planned.

The Region of the Americas is a global leader in vaccination. In 1971, it became the first region in the world to eliminate smallpox. In 1994, the region obtained certification for the elimination of polio, and in 2015, it eliminated rubella and congenital rubella syndrome. In 2016, measles was eliminated from the region, followed in 2017 by neonatal tetanus elimination.

The Americas is also at the cutting edge of new vaccine introduction: 21 countries and territories vaccinate against rotavirus; 30 vaccinate against pneumococcus; and 31 against HPV.

Since the creation of Vaccination Week in the Americas in 2003, more than 720 million people of all ages have been vaccinated against a variety of dangerous diseases. The campaign has proven so successful that in 2012, it inspired the creation of the World Health Organization’s World Immunization Week, an initiative that aims to ensure that the entire world is protected against vaccine-preventable diseases.


Public Prosecutor’s Office to set date for Public Auction

PHILIPSBURG - The Public Prosecutor’s Office (OM) has taken the decision to donate a number of unclaimed items which were confiscated in the aftermath of hurricane Irma to the following organizations namely; Red Cross St. Maarten, Turning Point Foundation, Safe Haven Foundation, the Mental Health Foundation and the Belvedere Community Center.

The Prosecutor’s Office is presently in the process of setting a date and location for a Public Auction of the remaining confiscated goods. The public will be notified via the media as to the date, time and location.


NCSU says Up to 18-named storms and an active 2018 Hurricane Season ahead

SINT MAARTEN/CARIBBEAN – This week researchers from the North Carolina State University (NCSU) said that the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season will be significantly more active than the overall averages from 1950 to the present.

In a statement issued by NCSU, “The 2018 season should see 14 to 18 tropical storms and hurricanes forming in the Atlantic basin, which includes the entire Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, according to Lian Xie, professor of marine, earth and atmospheric sciences at NC State. The 1950 to 2017 average for named storms is 11.

“Of those named storms, seven to 11 may grow strong enough to become hurricanes (which is above the average of six), with the possibility of three to five storms becoming major hurricanes.

“This year’s numbers for the Gulf are also above the average of three named storms. Xie’s data indicate the likelihood of five to six named storms forming in the region, with one to two of the storms becoming a hurricane.

“Xie’s methodology evaluates more than 100 years of historical data on Atlantic Ocean hurricane positions and intensity, as well as other variables, including weather patterns and sea-surface temperatures, to predict how many storms will form in each ocean basin.

“NC State collaborators on the research include Joseph Guinness, assistant professor of statistics, and Xia Sun, graduate research assistant in marine, earth and atmospheric sciences.”

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30.



Government saves 12 Million Guilders in new public drinking water agreement

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - Minister of VSA (Public Health, Social Development and Labor), Emil Lee announced on Wednesday April 18th, that negotiations for the amendment of the contracts for the supply of public drinking water, produced by Seven Seas Water have been concluded and signed off in a positive and desirable savings of four (4) Million guilders annually for a period of three (3) years.

As Minister of Public Health, Emil Lee is responsible for the public supply of drinking water. Negotiations took place together with the Ministry of VROMI who is responsible for the distribution of drinking water and the Ministry of Finance.

“Prior to hurricane Irma, the country was already in a situation where the water being produced was more than the actual consumption capacity. As a result, the generated loss in 2016 was 1.1. Million guilders. We took the time to examine the current contract with Seven Seas.

“It is a ‘take or pays’ contract, meaning that whether the country takes the water or not – by agreement, the country is obligated to pay for the contracted production of water. And that loss, in terms of water that is paid for but consumed, was projected to be about 4.6 Million guilders annually.” – Emil Lee, Minister of Public Health

Based on an agreement that was signed in 2012 between Government and Seven Seas Water; as per 2016 the daily amount of water to be made available was raised from 15.500 m3 per day to 18.500 m3 per day.

The amendments consist of Government reverting to the pre-2016 volumes of 15.500 m3 daily, in exchange for the extension of the agreement, with the possibility to extend for two (2) more years thereafter.

“That gives us some breathing room in terms of cash flow; it allows us to get the hotel plants back in operation and it allows us to finalize discussions and negotiations with the French side, with the Harbour and the cruise lines as possible clients to sell water to,” Emil Lee, Minister of Public Health said on Wednesday.

It is the desire of G.E.B.E to independently produce drinking water for the country; the contract with Seven Seas Water makes provisions that allows the possibility for the country to negotiate an early buy out of the contract.

The negotiated amendments to the contract includes the expansion of the applicant criteria to the scholarship funds of the Desalination Resource Development Program (DRDP), which is part of the water contract with Seven Seas Water.

There is currently 240.000 dollars in the scholarship fund; the fund allows students to specialize in water engineering.

“We have broadened the terms that allow a broader participation of who can access the scholarship funds with the understanding that what we are trying to do is we are trying to train individuals in water production on Sint Maarten, equipping the country to be able to take over the water production on its own in the future,” Emil Lee, Minister of Public Health concluded.


2018 St. Maarten Heineken Regatta raises $ 16,860.00 for charity with Real Auto Suzuki Car raffle

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - Real Auto SXM sponsored a brand-new 2018 Suzuki to raffle amongst the Regatta visitors, supporting the Serious Fundraiser of the 38th St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, held from March 1 – 4, 2018.

Raffle tickets were sold to all Regatta visitors for $ 10 a ticket, with the big drawing taking place right before the Shaggy concert on the closing night of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta. Organizers are pleased to announce a total of $ 16,860.00 was raised, with the full proceeds going towards multiple charity initiatives on the island. 

Rotary Club of St. Maarten and Mid-Isle actively sold many raffle tickets during the 4 days of this international event. A Suzuki Swift, Ciaz and Baleno were on display in the Regatta Village for the week, with the raffle winner having the choice to take home one of these brand-new cars. 

Half of the proceeds will go towards the fundraising partners of the 38th St. Maarten Heineken Regatta and their projects; K1 Britannia Foundation, the St. Maarten Nature Foundation, the St. Maarten Sea Rescue Foundation and the St. Maarten Yacht Club Regatta Foundation.

The other half of the proceeds will partly be used to purchase a Beach Cleaner, which will help the removal of Sargasso seaweed as well as Hurricane debris, litter etc. 

Rotary Club of St. Maarten’s President John Caputo says: “The purchase of a Beach Cleaner has been a longtime dream for us, but we’re well on our way now to make it reality. Thanks to the support of Real Auto and all those who bought a chance to win a Suzuki!” 

The rest of the funds will go towards the Diabetic Foundation to fix their bus and purchase any equipment needed, like needles. Fred van der Peijl of Rotary Club Mid-Isle explains: “Diabetes has been a big issue on the island. While testing the island residents on a regular Saturday morning at the Carrefour, it sometimes turns out that 40 out of the 200 tested, need to seek urgent doctor’s advice and take pills.

“This is really worrisome. Many people neglect the symptoms, but for the social welfare of the island it’s very important that people take it seriously and that the disease keeps on being addressed and tested.”



SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Inspectorate of Public Health, Social Development and Labor has found and ordered the destruction of eggs that may be contaminated with the Salmonella bacteria and that were found in various markets on the local market.

The eggs that were found originated from the second largest egg production plant by the name ROSE ACRE FARMS in the United States.

There have been confirmed reports from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) connecting 22 cases of gastro intestinal illness to the badge of contaminated eggs. There have been no reported cases on Sint Maarten yet.

Healthy individuals infected with the bacteria can experience fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. The Salmonella bacteria strain can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with a weakened immune response.

In this outbreak, laboratory testing identified the outbreak strain as the Salmonella Braenderup bacteria.

Clues to help consumers identify the recalled eggs include the P-1065 plant number and Julian date range of 011 through 102 printed on the cartons or packaging. Julian Dates start with Jan. 1 as 001 and end with Dec. 31 as 365 for the consecutive days of the year. The number system is sometimes used on egg cartons to denote the day the eggs are packed.

011 through 102 P-1065

The Inspectorate informs all retailers and consumers who might have purchased the specified eggs from Rose Acre Farms to throw them away and not to eat them.


Three suspects arrested by Alpha Team at airport with false travelling documents

SIMPSON BAY - The Alpha Team located at the Princess Juliana International Airport on Wednesday April 11th at approximately 4.35 p.m. arrested two male passengers who arrived on flight Air Antilles from Port au Prince Haiti.

Both male passengers identified with initials B.R.G.J. and E.M.C.R. were nationals of the Dominican Republic. 

B.R.G.J. French passport was then controlled by an Immigration officer who discovered that the front page which contained his information was printed. 

E.M.C.R. Spanish (Spain) passport was also controlled by an Immigration officer who discovered that the front page of his passport which contained his information was also printed. 

Both men were subsequently arrested for travelling with falsified passports. During their arrest, both men were found to have in their possession, passports of the Dominican Republic. While controlling those passports it was also discovered that both passports had falsified visas of the Netherlands. 

Both men were taken to the police station in Philipsburg and their passports were confiscated for further investigation.

On Wednesday evening at approximately 10.50 p.m. a male passenger identified with initials J.D.A. was refused entry to the island by the Immigration Department at PJIA.

While inspecting his passport from the Dominican Republic, suspicions arose that the Spanish (Spain) stamps on his passport were falsified. While being controlled by the Immigration Department, J.D.A. also handed an I.D. card from Spain to the Immigration officer.

This I.D. card also appeared to be false. J.D.A. was then taken to the police station in Philipsburg where he awaited his safe return to the Dominican Republic. 

On Thursday morning, both the passport and I.D. card of J.D.A. were controlled by investigating officers of the Alpha Team. While inspecting the documents, it was discovered that the stamps from Spain in his Dominican Republic passport as well as the I.D. card from Spain, were falsified.

J.D.A. was then arrested for travelling with falsified documents and for presenting these falsified documents to authorities. Both his Dominican Republic passport and falsified I.D. card from Spain were confiscated for further investigation. All three suspects remain in police custody pending further investigation. (Sint Maarten Police Force)


Varied punishments in Emerald case. Five sentenced

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – On April the 17th 2018 the Court of First Instance of Sint Maarten sentenced five residents for deliberately not on time, inaccurate and / or incomplete filing of the income tax and the tax on the company turnover, the Public Prosecution Service (OM) said in a statement.

Emerald research
“The persons that are sentenced today are five of the seven persons summoned for the first series of meetings in the Emerald investigation, which is about the turnover and profit achieved with businesses that are sole proprietorship.

“On February 22th 2018 the Court of First Instance already ruled on the cases of the two other suspects. One was sentenced to a community service of 120 hours and a conditional prison sentence of 6 months and the other to a community service of 240 hours and a conditional prison sentence of 12 months.”

Starting point for the penalty
“The Court of First Instance maintains the principle used in the previous rulings that an unconditional prison sentence, as required in all cases by the public prosecution service, only qualifies in exceptional cases.

“The Court understands the demand in part (there has been tax evasion on a large scale and that weighs heavy on the interests of the community, especially now that it tries to overcome the devastating effects of Irma), but deviates from this due to the strict requirements for imposition of an unconditional prison sentence.

“In this context, it is important that the Caribbean has rarely seen a suspect that has been brought before the criminal court for tax fraud. The fact that the tradition of non-prosecution has now been broken, may mean that an unconditional prison sentence will be a starting point in the future. However, at the time of tax evasion in these cases the tradition still existed.”

No unconditional prison sentence for four suspects
“According to the Court of First Instance there is no question of an exceptional case in four of the five cases. Almost all the suspects have a blank criminal record and it is plausible that they have only kept a fraction of the money for themselves.

“They are sentenced for community service sentences ranging from 180 hours to 240 hours, in combination with conditional prison sentences ranging from 6 to 12 months.”

Unconditional custodial sentence for parliamentarian
“In the case of the Member of Parliament, the Court finds otherwise. The Court considers it incomprehensible and unacceptable that he did not take accountability of the tax fraud.

“On the one hand, he enjoys a generous income as a member of parliament. On the other hand, at the public hearing, he refused to explain to the community how he has incurred the considerable tax fraud that has disadvantaged the same community.

“Despite earlier promises to be open about the case, this parliamentarian consistently relied on his right to remain silent. He gave, in contradiction to the others, no insight into his actions, let alone that he had expressed his regret. There are also strong indications that he is more to blame than the other suspects.

“Therefore we are speaking about an exceptional case. After considering everything, the Court of First Instance came to the conclusion that a prison sentence of 18 months, of which 15 months was conditional, and the maximum work penalty of 240 hours had to be imposed.”


Foundation Nos Ke Boneiru Bek and Brighter Path Foundation mission to Guyana and Surinam

SINT MAARTEN/ST. EUSTATIUS - Representatives of the Nos Kier Boneiru Bek Foundation from Bonaire, the Brighter Path Foundation, and the illegally deposed Government of St. Eustatius, travelled to Guyana and Suriname with the object to solicit solidarity in condemnation of and to expose the blatant violations of human rights, the continued colonial administration, the contempt for identity and culture of the local people by the Dutch government in The Hague and its local collaborators in the islands of Bonaire and St. Eustatius, according to a press release from James Finies, presidente Nos Kier Boneiru Bek.

“They received a warm welcome and experienced sympathy and were given support. They met with his Hon. Mr. Carl B. Greenidge, Vice-President and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Guyana, with his excellency Mr Colin Granderson assistant Secretary- General CARICOM, Ms Karen de Sousa founder and coordinator of Red Thread a woman and child human rights organization and was awarded the Caribbean Award for Excellence.

‘They also met with  honourable Ms Indranie Chanderpal member of parliament in the opposition and president of commission for equal rights of the woman, and with honourable Mr Clement J Rohee  ex-minister of Foreign Affairs, ex-minister of Home Affairs and president of Guyana Peace Council, with  Mr drs. Andre Misiekaba,  Faction coalition leader of the Parliament of Suriname, Chair of the Permanent Committee for Foreign Affairs, Chair of the Permanent Committee for Internal Affairs, Chair of the Permanent Committee for Defense, and Chair of the Permanent Committee for Environment and Climate Change of the National Assembly of the Republic of Suriname, and with honourable mr Chan Santokhi ex-minister of Foreign Affairs and faction leader of opposition of the Nationaale  Assamblee Republic of Suriname. At the meetings the following topics were discussed.

“Bonaire and St. Eustatius are two small islands in the Dutch Caribbean which since October 10, 2010 were forced in a subordinate direct relationship with the (European) Netherlands at the dissolution of The Netherlands Antilles.

“This happened against the will of the people of both islands who expressed their desire in separate referenda to retain or possibly expand their level of autonomy. Effectively, the islands are currently governed in a constitutional status that was firmly and clearly rejected by the people.

“Since October 10, 2010 the Dutch government has continued pursuing an aggressive colonial policy of imposing laws contrary to local customs and cultural traditions, undermining and limiting the responsibilities of local democratically elected parliaments and governments, and appointing European Dutch citizens in the local administration and demoting local heads of departments.

“Furthermore, the Dutch government took away all restrictions on immigration of European Dutch to the islands and encouraged their immigration by offering them tax holidays and financial benefits not available to the local people. Having wiped out the local businesses by demanding immediate payment of taxes allegedly owed over the five years prior to October 10, 2010, the economy in Bonaire is now largely in the hands of European Dutch.

“In Bonaire, the immigration has come to such a level that it makes the local people fear for genocide by substitution. The same trend is visible in St. Eustatius. With the right to vote in local elections obtained in 90 days (a Dutch law), these Dutch immigrants could soon outnumber locals in the electorate and replace them in the representative bodies, making the exclusion of local people complete.

“On October 10, 2010 the Netherlands usurped the responsibilities for healthcare, education, and social affairs. Since then, despite allegedly big investments in the healthcare system, the crude death rate has gone up significantly and is out of proportion compared to the numbers in the wider Caribbean.

“In education, changes were made in the educational system in Bonaire that adversely affected the local students by limiting them to the lower levels of the system, and hence segregation between the European Dutch and local people. Despite three reports by independent organizations, which stated that the minimum wage was too low, and the average income was well-below the poverty level, the Dutch Government has only ordered a next report to come to the establishment of an acceptable social minimum.

“The effective tax pressure is as high in the islands as it is in the European part of the kingdom with a lower average income. At the same time the cost of living in the islands is about twice the level of the cost of living in the European Netherlands, while the social benefits in the islands are less than half compared to the European Netherlands. By now building the second biggest (per capita) prison in the world, the Dutch government says to invest in the social well-being of the Bonerians.

“Despite the promise of reluctance in introducing new laws, the Dutch government pushed highly controversial Dutch laws without input from the islands and experienced locally as immoral and as a threat to the identity and culture.

“In November 2017, the islands were annexed and incorporated in the Dutch constitution, again despite fierce opposition from the islands and despite the referenda in Bonaire in 2015 and 2014 in St. Eustatius. On top of it, a paragraph was included giving the Dutch government the right to deviate from the constitution and declare parts of the constitution not-applicable to the islands without giving a reason, thus making the status of second class citizens of the people of our islands legal.

“Ultimately, the undemocratic and colonial actions of the government in The Netherlands resulted on February 7, 2018 in King Willem-Alexander signing a law into effect, that passed through the Dutch parliament unanimously in the record time of two days, by which the legislative and executive branches of government of St. Eustatius were thrown out and replaced by a sole (Dutch) Government Commissioner, appointed by and accountable to the Dutch minister of the Interior in The Hague alone.

“By the same law, the elections for the legislative body of St. Eustatius, slated for March 2019, were postponed indefinitely. The law was passed based on a report compiled by two persons appointed by the Dutch Minister of the Interior in which the local government was accused of corruption, nepotism, and fraud. All accusations have so far remained without proof.

“The people of Bonaire and St. Eustatius reach out to their brothers and sisters in the Caribbean to increase the awareness about the persistent colonial behavior of the Dutch government toward the islands and help them in their struggle to acquire their measure of self-governance as is stipulated in the resolutions of the United Nations.

“By removing these and the other islands of the Dutch Antilles from the UN list of non-self-governing countries and territories under false pretense in 1954, the Dutch achieved to escape reporting to the United Nations on the decolonization of the islands and had and have their wicked way with the islands.

“The NGO’s Nos Kier Boneiru Bek and Brighter Path, joined by the deposed legitimately and democratically elected government of St. Eustatius, strive for re-enlisting on the list of non-self-governing countries and territories of the United Nations and for acquisition of their measure of self-governance to guarantee the human rights of the local people of Bonaire and St. Eustatius now trampled on and taken away by a Dutch government. This quest has brought them to the doors of CARICOM and the governments of the member states,” the James Finies, presidente Nos Kier Boneiru Bek press release concludes.

trip four

trip suriname


BP: Free Tax Court representation for Sint Maarten Business Taxpayers

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Benjamin & Parker (BP) after having its annual meeting with the Sint Maarten (SXM) associates in which several market conditions were disclosed, and the change necessary to secure business continuity was brought forward the management of BP, the latter designed a new billing method based upon the Taxpayers’ company revenue levels, BP Terrence Jandroep said in a statement on Monday.

“This method opens the access doors to opportunities for the Small and Medium size companies to obtain the best quality Tax Analysis and Tax representation services at very conservative and tailored fees.

“The main objective of BP is to assist clients to mitigate tax collection impact especially that business enterprising in SXM has become a new science after Hurricane Irma.

“The firm indicated that the fees are in accordance with the income levels of the taxpayer using a social platform principle when catering the SXM community via its Strategic Alliances.

“The income categories are as follows: ($1-$200.000,)($ 200.001-$ 400,000) ($400.001-$600.000) ($600.001-$800.000) and ($800.000+) and the prices for Tax Analysis are overall approx.. 1% and less hereof which is 60% lower than the local “market rates.

The management of BP and SXM Associates decided unanimously to assist all common and new walk business branches with FREE online Tax Court representation.

“BP indicates that there are 2 phases in the Tax Analysis services:
1) Tax Audit report Analysis & Strategic Protest letter development
2) Appeal management & FREE online Tax Court representation  

“Taxpayers are welcomed for information at the following authorized BP Associates:
Executive Financial Services- (Egret Building) = Ms. Ann Halley (MFin), CTA

PCMI (Above Office World) = Mr. Robert Budike Bsc
Amani Financial Services= Mrs. Jennifer P. Johnson CTA
STP Sylvester Tax Partners= Mrs. Donna Sylvester CTC
Bookkeeping Solutions= Ashma John Bsc, CTC

“All the above associates are certified by our firm which is formed by ex - Big 4 Multinational Audit firms to guarantee highest quality standards. The new strategy contains and combats unfortunate practices by third parties that charge BP’s rates at 400% to the SXM business community implying that BP is excessively overpricing for its services, poisoning the firm’s corporate image in the business community and must be contained immediately.”

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