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Neurology services provided at SMMC’s multi-purpose clinic

SINT MAARTEN (CAY HILL) - Neurologist, Dr. Roberto Rico, recently joined the St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) as a specialist providing Neurology services to patients on a bi-weekly basis at SMMC’s new multi-purpose clinic.

Before coming to SMMC, Dr. Rico worked for over 35 years as a Neurologist at the St. Elizabeth Hospital in Curacao. There, he often consulted and treated several patients from St. Maarten during his many years in service.

As a general Neurologist, Dr. Rico can diagnose and treat disorders of the central nervous system such as seizure, stroke, traumatic brain injury, neuromuscular disorders, epilepsy, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and migraine headaches. He is specialized in Neurophysiology, which centers around investigating the function of the nervous system to diagnose and monitor neurological disorders.

Within his capacity he currently diagnoses and, if necessary, prepares patients for further treatment. This removes the need for persons to travel abroad for consultation services and also aids in preparing patients with the proper information in the event that they do have to travel elsewhere to further their treatment.

Dr. Rico states: “Neurology is a fairly new department within SMMC with the potential for exponential growth. Within the near future, the Neurology clinic will further develop to where we can treat a range of disorders within the hospital thus reducing the need for patients traveling abroad for such treatment. I am delighted with the progress made thus far within the hospital and I am happy to be a part of that growth process”.

The Neurology clinic has seen a steady increase in patient appointments since its recent inception. Dr. Rico states: “I have seen numerous patients so far with stress related issues. Stress within one’s environment plays a major role in the health of the body. With such stress related experiences, you get an influx of patients with tension headaches, backaches and neck aches.”

We are happy to welcome Dr. Rico to our growing specialty care at SMMC,” said Dr. Felix Holiday, SMMC’s Medical Director. “With Dr. Rico’s arrival at SMMC, the community’s accessibility to neurological services will increase thus reinforcing the hospital’s ongoing commitment to providing quality care to close to home”. 

Patients who wish to see the Neurologist can make an appointment at the Outpatient department at Tel: +(1-721) 543-1111 ext. 1300 or 1378. Appointments can be made from Mondays - Fridays between 8:00 am – 4:30 pm. SZV patients are requested to obtain a referral letter from their family doctor.

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The Dutch Kingdom stands strong against child abuse

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – The Kingdom Taskforce Children’s Rights can look back to a successful conference titled “Ready. Set. Protect.”. During this conference all four countries and three public entities of the Dutch Kingdom, have been able to interact, plan and agree on important matters that will lead to tangible results when it comes to child protection.

There were several insightful keynote speeches and hands-on workshops. The professionals of all six islands in the Caribbean part of the Dutch Kingdom who attended the conference were impressed. Whereas there is undoubtedly more to be accomplished, all the islands are working diligently to build a strong child protection network. The opportunity to further strengthen collaboration between the islands and the Netherlands was a key take-away, considering that collaboration has proven to be a catalyst to achieve lasting results.

Curaçao and Sint Maarten will collaborate to prepare and introduce their respective reporting codes, the so-called “meldcode” in Dutch. Aruba is executing a social crisis plan, which focuses on prevention among others. Bonaire has been implementing safety nets, to ensure that children have the option to attend extracurricular activities after school. This concept is proven to be quite effective. Saba has introduced the HighScope method, in an effort to improve early childhood education. Sint Eustatius is preparing for the launch of a child line and is also setting up a reporting center for child abuse and domestic violence. These are just a few examples of the initiatives that the islands are undertaking to offer our children a brighter future.

It is a common misconception to think that children are only abused when they are hit, yelled at or sexually harassed. The truth is that the most common form of abuse is neglect, both physical and emotional, which often times goes unnoticed because it is abuse in its passive form. This is the reason why the Taskforce emphasizes prevention. Prevention is one of the focal areas of the MoU, which the countries and public entities in the Dutch Kingdom signed as part of last year’s commemoration of the International Children’s Day in November.

The Kingdom Taskforce Children’s Rights was established during the 2014 Kingdom conference in Aruba, to promote collaboration and capacity building on children’s rights within the Kingdom, among other assignments. “Ready. Set. Protect., was the fourth Taskforce conference in a row.

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Some 40% of cleaners can’t read and write properly, survey finds

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Up to 40% of people working in the cleaning sector in the Netherlands cannot read the label on cleaning products or tick off items on a ‘to do’ list, a study by the literacy foundation Lezen en Schrijven has found.

At least one third of the people working in construction, manufacturing, farming and in food preparation have similar problems, which lead to them being less productive and more prone to making mistakes, the foundation said.

‘People still think that for some jobs it does not matter whether or not you have these basic skills,’ director Geke van Velzen told the AD on Tuesday. ‘But being able to read, write and do sums at work and elsewhere are important to function in society.’  

Even ‘simple’ jobs are becoming more complicated because demands are changing and digitisation is increasing, Van Velzen said. Some 1.8 million people in the Netherlands have problems with reading, writing and arithmetic – or 16% of the working population.

Van Velzen said she hoped the survey results would encourage the government and employers to do more to tackle poor standards of literacy.

Ministers

In May, the cabinet said it had set aside €425m over the coming five years to boost literacy, numeracy and computer skills among people who have difficulty functioning in society.

In total, the money will be used to target 2.5 million adults and children ‘with and without an immigrant background’, the education ministry said. The money is being spent on adult education classes and special subsidies for employers who sign a ‘language agreement’ pledging to work to combat illiteracy.

By 2024, at least 1,000 companies should have signed up for the agreement, and the target is to provide help to 30,000 people via the corporate scheme.

(DutchNews)

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Fire Department in the process of removing old siren warning system

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – The Fire Department & Disaster Management are currently in the process of removing the old siren warning system that was established many years ago in different flood-prone communities.

The removal process entails the remnants of the siren warning system and poles that they were attached too.

The Fire Department & Disaster Management have presented a project proposal to the Trust Fund that is managed by the World Bank for a new resilient community siren warning system. Discussions are still taking place with respect to which option is best suited for the country.

The first siren warning system was installed 13-years ago (2006) in response to a cloud burst event in 2005 which resulted in flashfloods in the Cul de Sac Basin that led to two people losing their lives due to this natural phenomenon.

The first phase of the system of seven warning sirens was installed in flood prone areas: Dutch Quarter, Cul de Sac Basin, Cole Bay, Madame Estate and Philipsburg.

It was the intention to install a country-wide siren warning system, but after an assessment of the first phase, the evaluation revealed that the system was susceptible to corrosion and lightning strikes.

The quality of the alert sounds was also not up to par due to the topography and trade winds, and therefore it was decided not to continue with this type of system, and to look into alternatives. The warning sirens that were still operational were maintained for as long it was feasible.

Alternatives to the existing old system have been found, and these come at a large costs and funding is being sought from the post-Irma Trust Fund.

The project proposal includes a cell broadcast system and the replacement of the warning sirens. In the meantime, the Fire Department & Disaster Management Office will be launching within short a disaster app that the public can install on their cellphones where they will be able to view and read the latest official information and weather reports from official Government sources such as the Department of Communication (DCOMM) and the Meteorological Department of Sint Maarten (MDS).

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Voluntary Korps Sint Maarten Board meets with Prime Minister Romeo Marlin

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) – On Friday June 7th, the Voluntary Korps Sint Maarten (VKS) Board met with Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin at her office in the Government Administration Building. Discussions during the meeting focused on cooperation between the Voluntary Korps Sint Maarten (VKS) and the Voluntary Korps Curacao (VKC), the VKS role in assisting with security at the Pointe Blanche Prison and training for VKS Soldiers by the Dutch Military.

Going forward both parties agreed to look into the possibility of increasing the frequency of meetings to a scheduled quarterly meeting. The VKS plays an important role with regards to the safety and security capacity of Sint Maarten as a country. This became quite evident following the passing of Hurricane Irma as the VKS soldiers assisted the Justice apparatus by playing a pivotal role in keeping public order.

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Apply for your Hurricane Pass. June 21 Deadline approaching

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – The application process for the annual Hurricane Passes for the 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season commenced on Friday, May 24 and the deadline for application processing is June 21, therefore, this serves as a reminder to those who have not yet applied for the pass to commence with the process.

There are two types of passes, the Disaster Pass and the Hurricane Pass.  No passes will be issued to business owners, only with some exemption categories as noted below.

Potential applicants have until June 21 to present all relevant information related to the process of requesting a pass.

Disaster Passes are issued to crucial disaster relief organizations and are valid for three years. 

The following categories qualify for a Hurricane Pass which is valid for two-years: Essential Government personnel without a disaster pass; Essential personnel of crucial companies or organizations: NV GEBE, Seven Seas Water, Telecom and Internet providers, Princess Juliana International Airport, Port St. Maarten, Hotels and Guesthouses, Marinas, Fuel distributors and gas stations, Commercial banks, Medium and large sized supermarkets, Restaurants (those providing food services to emergency services), Importers and Wholesale Companies for perishable goods (Only requests can be submitted for refrigeration and or generator technicians).

The Hurricane Pass is valid for the 2019 and 2020 hurricane seasons and will remain the property of the Government of Sint Maarten.

An application form can be requested by sending an email to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  Emails should include the following: Name of organization; Request for disaster or hurricane pass.

When submitting the application the following documents have to be attached:

-         copy business license fee paid (or receipt) for 2018/19;

-         proof of 2019 registration at the Chamber of Commerce;

-         copy valid Sint Maarten ID-card of applicant;

-         Nafl. 50,- in leges stamps per application (to be obtained at the Receiver’s Office or the Simpson Bay Public Service Center), this is a non-refundable handling fee;

-         One (1) passport picture for new applicants.

The application form has to be completed and submitted to the offices of the Fire Department & Disaster Management, to the attention of the secretary located at Jackal Road 5 (Office hours Monday-Friday 9.00AM to 4.00PM), Cay Hill, by June 21, 2019, with all necessary documents attached.

Applicants will be informed by email or telephone when to pick up the pass at the aforementioned address.

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Victim of Maho armed robbery dies. Police seeks community assistance to apprehend culprit (s)

SINT MAARTEN (MAHO) - Detectives of KPSM (Sint Maarten Police Force) investigating the shooting death of the Canadian man who was shot during an armed robbery which took place on Wednesday June 5th at approximately 11.00 p.m. in the vicinity of Maho beach has died, an official police report said on Sunday.

This information came from family members of the victim. The victim identified with initials S.V. was vacationing on Sint Maarten with his daughter when the incident happened. 

No suspect or suspects in this case has been arrested and detectives continue to ask the community for information to assist in the investigation and mainly those persons who were in the immediate area when it happened.

Call: +1-721-556-7498 to share any information. (Sint Maarten Police Force)

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Fun Miles on board as Platinum Sponsor for Lighted Parade 2019

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – Following the successful collaboration between Rio Productions and Fun Miles-Sint Maarten during the day parade of Carnival 50, both parties agreed to extend their partnership for the Lighted Parade 2019, to establish growth for the most anticipated night parade in the region. This was announced by President of Rio Productions, Mrs. Brenda Wathey, on June 7th, 2019.

Fun Miles, the biggest and most popular customer loyalty reward program in the Caribbean Region, came on board as Sponsor of the Lighted Parade to further enhance the costumer experience, and to offer more value to the Lighted Parade package by means of their popular “Redeem Program”.

For this year event Fun Miles made it possible for all their customers to obtain the full Lighted Parade 2019 package at the NC Wathey office for 4055 miles or $35.00 plus 900 miles

Fun Miles Representative Ms. Cassandra Chun, stated that she is very pleased and honored to be a strategic partner in an event of this magnitude. “We’ve taken keen note of the positive developments within Rio Productions and their new partnership with Kalaboom events, to attract renowned artists such as Farmer Nappy and Triple K International to our shores, with the objective to bring “Fun” to our community. Promoting Fun and rewarding our fellow citizens is what we truly stand for at Fun Miles, and we embrace every opportunity and platform that allows us to do so”.

The Lighted Parade is scheduled to take place on Friday, July 5th, 2019, and will start and end at the Festival Village.

For more information on the Fun Miles/ Rio redemption program and upcoming T-shirt raffles, customers are encouraged to Like the Fun Miles Sint Maarten Facebook Page www.facebook.com/funmilessintmaarten or visit the Facebook page and website of Rio Productions at www.facebook.com/rioproductionssxm & www.rioproductions.sx.

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34-Year old auto mechanic dies during freak accident

PHILIPSBURG - On Friday June 7th at approximately 05.15 p.m. the Central Emergency Dispatch received a call concerning a serious accident in one of the alleys next to Oasis Restaurant on the A. Th. Illidge road involving an auto mechanic.

On the scene the investigating officers encountered the body of a man identified with initials V.A.D.H. (34) born in the Dominican Republic and who is a self-employed auto mechanic lying on the ground under a vehicle.

The victim was not showing any signs of life and based on the situation it seemed that the vehicle possibly fell on the victim while he was working on it. Paramedics who arrived on the scene administered first aid without any success.

Shortly after Dr. Mercuur arrived on the scene and pronounced the death of the victim. The incident will be investigated to determine the exact cause of this accident. (Sint Maarten Police Force)

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CPS: Prevent mosquito breeding sites due to recent rainfall events

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – The Collective Preventive Services (CPS), a government department under the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, is calling on the community to check their yards in search of potential mosquito breeding sites due to the recent rainfall events.

Breeding sites include anywhere that clean (clear) water can settle. This includes tin cans, old tires, empty paint cans, buckets, old saucers, flowerpots, cemetery urns/vase, old pet dishes, unused plastic swimming pools or other containers that collect and hold water.

In addition, owners of boats whether at home or in boatyards for repair, need to make sure that they are properly covered; tire repair shops and garages also need to take preventive measures to get rid of old tires and vehicles, as these can collect rainwater and become a breeding ground for mosquitoes’. The same applies to contractors and owners of properties being repaired.

We have now entered the hurricane season, that can potentially bring storms accompanied by rain to Sint Maarten. As part of the preparation every household and business must do its part to eliminate Aedes Aegypti mosquito breeding sites and keep the country mosquito-free.

Once again it is very important to check around your yard and your business to make sure there is no clear/clean standing water after rain.

To report mosquito breeding sites or to request information about eliminating mosquito breeding sites, send an email to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call the hotline: 554-2107.

Keep Sint Maarten mosquito-free.

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