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Soualiga News II (2331)

More people are eligible for special social relief

SABA/ST. EUSTATIUS - The income threshold for receiving special social relief has been increased to 120% of the statutory minimum wage from 1 January 2019. 

The RCN unit Social Affairs and Employment (SZW) can help with special social relief if someone unexpectedly has to make a large and necessary expense and has no money to pay for it. 

For example, when a refrigerator or stove breaks down, or when someone expects a baby, but does not have money for the layette.Residents of Bonaire with an income no higher than 1073 dollars per month can now qualify for special social relief. For residents of Sint Eustatius, there is now an income limit of $ 1344 per month and for Saba of $ 1292 per month.


Special assistance is always tailor-made. An employee of the RCN unit SZW assesses whether the applicant is eligible on the basis of an intake interview and a home visit. 

Special assistance is never paid in cash, but always in the form of goods or services. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)

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Central Bank CBCS announces a change in the Curacao bond issue

SINT MAARTEN/CURACAO - The date of the planned bond issue on behalf of the country of Curacao on Friday, January 11, 2019, has changed on request by the Curacao government, the Central Bank of Curacao and Sint Maarten (CBCS) announced on Thursday in a media statement. The new date of the issuance is Wednesday, January 16, 2019. The bond will have a semi-annual coupon as follows: 

·NAf 69,100,000 bond with duration of 30 years. Interest rate is based on the Dutch yield curve as of January 8, 2019. 

On Tuesday, January 8, 2019, the Dutch State Treasury Agency (DSTA) will be able to subscribe, and after that up to Wednesday, January 9, 2019, 10:00A.M., the general public will be able to subscribe to this bond issue at all commercial banks on Curacao and Sint Maarten. Subscription will take place according to the tender system in which parties indicate for which amount and price they wish to participate in the loan, thereby revealing their desired yield. 

After the closing of the subscription, the CBCS will publish the price of issue. Parties that have subscribed for a higher price than the price of issue will receive full allocation. Parties that have subscribed at a price equal to the price of issue will receive the remaining amount of the issue. 

The subscription forms can be obtained free of charge at the commercial banks and can be downloaded from our website: https://www.centralbank.cw/government-loans

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Tzu Chi brings cheer to Pointe Blanche Prison inmates

SINT MAARTEN (POINTE BLANCHE) - “Thank you for coming and treating us like human beings and for accepting us for who we are and not coming and judging us like everyone else would… Hopefully, you inspire us to inspire our people.”

These grateful words were expressed by a Pointe Blanche Prison Inmate to volunteers of the St. Maarten Tzu Chi Foundation, who visited the prison in December to spread holiday cheer to inmates and to present them with gifts and share positive words to them.

The visit is part of an annual tradition that the foundation has been engaged in since 2003. This year’s visit was almost cancelled due to the severity of the damages to the prison during the 2017 hurricanes.  

Unlike previous years, where many inmates would attend a ceremony hosted by the foundation, this year due to damages sustained to the prison church, where the program is normally held, only a few inmates were selected to accept the gifts on behalf of the rest of the inmates and be part of the program. These few were expected to pass on the information they received and learnt from Tzu Chi to their fellow inmates.

Tzu Chi’s visit to the prison is aimed at spreading seeds of love and to show inmates that giving and helping is not the privilege of rich, but the privilege of a sincere heart. It is also intended to share with inmates Buddha’s philosophy – that life is a circle and we reap what we sow. Tzu Chi provides gifts to between 145 to 175 inmates yearly and sometimes this is done twice in a year. After hurricane Irma, inmates also received gifts from the foundation.

Pointe Blanche Prison Interim Director Wilfred Williams thanked the foundation for taking time out to visit the prison and to celebrate Christmas with the inmates and said he looked forward to seeing the foundation again next year.

At the end of the ceremony, the inmates expressed their appreciation to Tzu Chi for the visit, the positive words and for the gifts. “Thank God bless you,” one inmate said on behalf of fellow inmates. “We are all ready to volunteer in the program.”

Tzu Chi Commissioner Sandra Cheung said the foundation is grateful that despite the challenges being faced by the prison post hurricane Irma, efforts were still made to accommodate volunteers. She thanked inmates for being receptive to the information shared and for accepting the gifts and thanked volunteers for taking the time out to visit the facility.

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Man arrested for illegal fire arm and drugs possession

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On Sunday December 30th, 2018 in the evening hours during a routine control by police a male suspect identified with initials D.C. was arrested by police after a fire-arm was found in his vehicle, police said on Wednesday.

“The suspect could not give an acceptable explanation to whom the fire-arm belongs.  During a search at the home of the suspect a consirable amount compressed marijuana was found. 

“The firearm and drugs were both confiscated for further investigation. The suspect also remains in custody for further investigation.” (Sint Maarten Police Force)

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Ministry VROMI announces Beacon Hill Road Traffic Flow Interruption from January 7-15

GREAT BAY (DCOMM) – Ministry of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Development and Infrastructure (Ministry VROMI), announces that the traffic flow on the Beacon Hill Road will be interrupted from January 7 to 15.

Residents coming from Beacon Hill Road will need to use Beacon Hill Drive and Staghorn Road to get back and forth to Beach Comber Road and Fan Coral Road.

Motorists are advised to pay close attention to road closure/deviation signs and to drive with caution.

The road closure is in connection with the Beacon Hill Drainage Project.  

Ministry VROMI apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause.

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Ministry VROMI announces Causeway Bridge Maintenance on Thursday

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – Ministry of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Development and Infrastructure (Ministry VROMI), announces that maintenance works will be carried out on the Causeway Bridge in Simpson Bay. 

These works will be carried out during the evening hours of Thursday, January 3rdstarting from 8.00pm until they have been completed.

The aforementioned closure is related to the Causeway Bridge roadways. Motorists are requested to be observant of road closure signs and to use alternate routes to get to their destination.

The restoration works entail the repairs of road and sidewalk lights on the Causeway Bridge.

Ministry VROMI apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause.

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Two die in firework accidents, New Year fire causes cinder storm

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Four people have died during the New Year festivities in the Netherlands, of whom two are thought to have been killed in firework accidents. 

In Enschede a man was killed in a ‘gigantic explosion’ caused by fireworks, which broke windows in nearby homes, local newspaper Tubantia reported. In the Frisian village of Morra, another man died in a fireworks incident. 

Police say they do not yet know what happened, but one eyewitness reported seeing a bright flash. A third man was found dead at his home in Losser in Overijssel. A woman was later arrested in connection with the killing. 

And in Rotterdam, two men were injured in a shooting incident, one of whom died of his injuries in hospital. Police have arrested seven people in connection with that incident. 

There were also stabbing incidents in Breda, Ridderkerk and Leiden which led to several arrests. 

Fire 

In the seaside resort of Scheveningen, the traditional New Year beach fire had to be put out by the fire brigade after huge clouds of cinders were blown across the town and nearby dune area, sparking lots of small fires. Several buildings had to be kept permanently wet to head of the risk of fire.

Every year, a group of people in Scheveningen compete with nearby Duindorp to build the highest fire out of old pallets and other wood. This year’s fire was set to be 48 metres high and that is ‘too high’, one of the builders told the Telegraaf.

In total, the emergency services were called out over 3,150 times between 6pm on December 31 and 2am. 

That is almost double last year’s total, according to figures from website Alarmeringen.nl. There were also organized firework shows in Rotterdam, The Hague and Amsterdam, attended by tens of thousands of people.(DutchNews)

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Respect emergency service workers, says PM, ahead of New Year

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Prime minister Mark Rutte has called on people celebrating the New Year to respect emergency service workers and to allow them to do their jobs in safety. 

In an interview with the Telegraaf, Rutte said he had a great deal of admiration for police, firemen and ambulance staff during the festivities. ‘It is unacceptable that some idiots stop them from doing their job safely,’ the prime minister said. 

The prime minister’s comments come after a spate of incidents over the weekend, in which emergency service staff were attacked. On Saturday night, a fire engine was pelted with fireworks and a police car window was smashed with a bottle during trouble in Utrecht. 

In Groningen some 15 people were arrested after trouble in the Paddepoel district in which police offices and police dogs were attacked with fireworks and bottles. The mayors of both Utrecht and Groningen, as well as MPs and police officials, have called on the authorities to come down hard on trouble makers. 

Car fires

There were also a number of car fires on Sunday night – including at least four different locations in Noord-Brabant province and two in Amsterdam Noord. Every year, hundreds of cars are set on fire during the New Year festivities themselves, and the practice is considered a ‘tradition’ in Brabant and Utrecht, broadcaster NOS said. 

Nevertheless, research by data analysis group LocalFocus says the number of incidents during the New Year celebrations has gone down in recent years. 

During the 2013-14 New Year, 12,618 separate incidents were registered with the police, but in the 2017-18 celebrations that had fallen to 8,000. This is partly due to efforts to clamp down on illegal fireworks and introduce more firework free zones, LocalFocus said.(DutchNews)

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Fire Department approves two permits for public firework displays

GREAT BAY (DCOMM) – The Fire Department has granted two permits for public firework displays that will ring in the New Year 2019.

One permit is related to a firework display in Philipsburg/Great Bay and one permit for the Maho/Sunset Beach area.

Both displays will commence at midnight on Monday, December 31, 2018.

There won’t be any consumer fireworks on sale this holiday season. One entity did submit paperwork to start the process related to the import, transport and sale of consumer fireworks, however they did not complete the permit process.

The Fire Department together with the Police, Customs and the Coastguard will be vigilant to ensure that all Firework activities at the closing of 2018 are according to the granted permits.

The Fire Department wishes you a healthy and safe 2019.

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Thirteen-year-old Jacob Brown donates sports equipment to children via K1 Britannia

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – The K1 Britannia Foundation recently received a thoughtful donation of sports equipment from a New Jersey family currently visiting St. Maarten.

The Brown family has been coming to St. Maarten for over 43 years and wanted to help the island after hearing about Hurricane Irma. Jacob Brown, the family’s 13-year-old, initiated the fundraising idea and sought to find ways to send aid to children in need on the island.

Through Marvio Cook’s recommendation to the family about K1, the Browns created an Amazon wish list and collected over 60 pieces of sports equipment in 4 months. The family travelled with two large suitcases filled with the equipment and stopped by the K1 office to donate the sports gear which included baseball gloves, nets, basketballs, soccer balls and many more.

Explaining the idea of the donation, Jacob stated, “I wanted to collect sports equipment because I have been coming to St. Maarten for 13 years. I thought I owed it to the island to give something back after Hurricane Irma’s devastation. I realized buildings were going to be rebuilt but I was concerned of the kids’ welfare. I wanted to give something so they could have a chance to be kids again. I chose K1 Britannia after hearing of the good work they had been doing in the island.”

“We are truly touched by Jacob’s efforts in wanting to contribute to St. Maarten. He is an example to follow, and K1 is privileged to have been able to collaborate with and get to know such kind-hearted persons.” stated K1 Communications Manager, Tanvi Goklani.

K1 Britannia Foundation will share these sport items to foster children, children at afternoon schools such as Player Development SXM and sport organizations.

“Since the passing of hurricane Irma in 2017, K1 has seen the generosity and love from international individuals, families and organizations who have organized various forms of fundraisings for funds as well as school supplies and now sports equipment for K1 and the St. Maarten community. We are grateful and appreciative of the role the international community has played in helping St. Maarten bounce back after Irma.” concluded Chiaira Bowers, Program Manager at K1 Britannia Foundation.

If you would like to donate or learn how you can get involved, contact the foundation via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., call +1(721) 553-8186/ +1(721)543-3332 or visit www.facebook.com/k1sxm or www.k1britanniafoundation.org

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