Soualiga Newsday Focus

Soualiga Newsday Focus (1572)

Final Spanish Vmbo exam remains valid for St. Eustatius

ST. EUSTATIUS/SINT MAARTEN - Following deliberations with DUO (Dienst Uitvoering Onderwijs), the Ministery of OCW (Education, Culture and Science), CITO and CVtE (College voor Toetsen en Examens), the Dutch Inspectorate of Education decided that the Spanish vmbo exams, sat on May 22nd 2019 will remain valid for St. Eustatius.

At one of the secondary schools in St. Maarten, the final vsbo exam Spanish had been administered on May 21st, one day earlier than planned. At the other secondary schools on St. Maarten and in the Caribbean Netherlands the vsbo and vmbo (equivalent of vsbo) pupils sat the exam on the correct day, on May the 22nd. The Inspectorate of St. Maarten subsequently declared the vsbo final exam Spanish invalid. This means that all vsbo exam candidates on St. Maarten will have to re-sit the examination concerned, during the first re-sit period in June.

The Inspectorate of Education conducted an investigation in cooperation with DUO to find out whether the exam candidates on St. Eustatius had prior knowledge of the contents of this exam. The analyses, carried out by DUO, showed that there is no reason to assume that the students on St. Eustatius had any prior knowledge of the exam. There were no patterns in their answers to the assignments pointing in that direction.

As a result, the Inspectorate of Education decided not to declare the vmbo final exam Spanish at the Gwendoline van Putten School in St. Eustatius invalid. The secondary schools in the Caribbean Netherlands and the examination authorities of Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten were informed about this decision by the College voor Toetsen en Examens (CvTE). (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)


Rotary Sunset donates to Cops and Kids Program

SINT MAARTEN (CUL DE SAC) - During Youth Service month, recognized by Rotary International during May, the Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset fulfilled a request by the Cops and Kids Program for a sponsorship. The sponsorship request was based on the Cops and Kids Sports Day, which is the main event of the yearly calendar for the program. The sports day signifies the celebration towards the hard work exhibited by students and staff throughout the academic year.

The Cops and Kids program caters primarily to the group 8 students of the various primary schools. The program is designed to bridge the gap between the officers of KPSM and the youth to begin moulding their minds to prepare them for the next level as they begin their transition to secondary education. The overall program strives to ensure that learning, achievement and teamwork remain key areas of focus. Rotary St. Martin Sunset, in following the core values of fostering nurturing environments and stimulating our youth, felt it appropriate to donate five trophies to be awarded to the winners of the sports day.

The five schools that participated in the Cops and Kids sports day were namely: Leonald Connor primary school, The Marie Genevieve De Weever primary school, the Dr. Martin Luther King primary school, the Sr. Regina primary school and the Seven Day Adventist primary school. The students worked hard and displayed tremendous sportsmanship throughout the sports day.

The overall winner of the 2019 annual Cops and Kids sports day program was the Leonald Connor School. The Marie Genevieve De Weever Primary school placed 2nd, the Seven day Adventist school, the Dr .Martin Luther king school and the Sr. Regina school placed 3rd, 4th and 5th, respectively.

The Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset recognizes and commends the efforts being made by the Community Officers for their services in bridging the gap for our youth. The club will continue to support in any and all areas that excel and nurture the wellbeing of our youth.


Nine new coast guards officers for the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard

SINT MAARTEN/CURACAO - Last Wednesday, nine new coast guard officers received their coast guard certificate from the Deputy Director of Coast Guard, Eugene Middelhof. They received their certificate in the presence of their future executives and colleagues from Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten. The nine employees are now full members of the coast guard and will soon be deployed operational at the coast guard substations.

The new employees have been looking forward to this day for over two years. They started the Caribbean Police and Coast Guard (OCPK) training in March 2017 and had to endure many physical, mental and theoretical challenges together with their fellow students from KPCN.

April 4, 2019, they received their MBO-3 diploma from the police academy of the Netherlands. Their classmates from KPCN were immediately deployed as policemen on Bonaire. A two-month nautical module followed for the students of the Coast Guard. The nautical module consisted of: education in navigation, boat boarding, sea legislation and seamanship. It was a varied module where the students had to complete all parts with good results.

The enthusiastic employees will start in June 2019. Substation Aruba will have two, substation Curaçao will have four and substation Sint Maarten will have three new coast guard officers. Congratulations and good luck to all new coast guard officers.

Are you interested in becoming a coast guard officer? And are you between 18 - 23 years old and living on one of the islands? Send us a PM via our facebook “Kustwacht Caribisch Gebied” or email us via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard visits Saba and Statia authorities

SABA/ST. EUSTATIUS - Last Tuesday representatives of the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard (DCCG) and its Director, Peter Jan de Vin paid a visit to the island of Saba and Statia. During a presentation of the DCCG (Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard) the Head of Operations gave an explanation of the policy, tasks and assets of the organization. After the presentation the new Metal Shark interceptors gave a demonstration of agility and speed as part of the presentation to the island authorities.

The morning on Saba began with an extensive explanation by Mr. Tim Muller, Island Secretary about Saba and its government. He spoke about the Saba economy, society and challenges that they faced on the island. The DCCG presentation was provided by the Head of Operations, Mr. Ron Louwerse. After the presentation at the Government Administration Building there was a lot of room to ask questions. The attendees, the island and Executive Councils, representatives of the Caribbean Netherlands Police Force, the Fire Department and Disaster management were all involved during the presentation and question round. At the end of presentation, the entire delegation went to the Fort Bay Harbor where the Metal Sharks gave a demo and the authorities could go on a tour with the DCCG interceptors.

After the visit in Saba, the DCCG delegation traveled to Statia. In Statia, the DCCG gave the presentation to the Government Commissioner Mr. Mervyn Stegers and a large group of local authority members of Statia that were present at the Conference Room of the Government building at the Van Tonningenweg. After Mr. Ron Louwerse finished the presentation the attendees had the opportunity to ask questions. Mr. Mervyn Stegers thanked the DCCG for their presentation and honored Mr. Jocelyn Roberto Levenstone, the Head of the Coast Guard substation SXM with a wooden plaque with the coat of arm of Statia. Mr. Levenstone thanked for the beautiful gesture and promised he will visit Statia shortly in order to discuss further matters.

In the Statia harbor, the Metal Sharks team waited for the delegation consisting of Acting Island Secretary, Head of Customs, the Eutel Manager, CEO STUCO, Fire Chief, Director Hospital, Police Chef, GGD, Social, Communication, Coordinator of Disaster management and Fire man Nustar. Upon arrival in the harbor the delegation was welcomed by the Metal Shark team who gave an interesting demo of the interceptors. It was a very fruitful working visit on the two islands where a great number of topics related to the DCCG work has been discussed. The DCCG is looking forward to a successful collaboration with the island’s authorities.

The DCCG has twelve new Metal Sharks operating in the territorial waters of Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Statia, St. Maarten, and Saba. The interceptors are an asset to the Coast Guard and have strengthen the DCCG presence in the Dutch Caribbean Sea.

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Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard Director, Peter Jan de Vin, Head of the Coast Guard substation SXM, Jocelyn Roberto Levenstone, the Head of Operations, Ron Louwerse and Shalick Clement, Communications Advisor / Spokesperson of DCCG with members of the Island and Executive Council, representatives of the Fire Department, police and disaster management in front of the Government Administration Building in Saba.




Researchers raise the alarm about predatory anorexia ‘coaches’

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Sites where anorexia sufferers share tips on losing weight are being invaded by men who demand nude photos or sex in exchange for ‘coaching’ activities, new research shows.

People trafficking monitor CKM, the GGZ Rivierduinen eating disorder unit and Proud2Bme contacted broadcaster NOS because they were shocked by their initial findings and wanted to warn sufferers, parents and police.

Two fake profiles of a 14 and a 15-year-old placed on the public forums of a number of so-called ‘pro-ana’ sites elicited over 45 reactions, mostly from men. Over half wanted the girls to send explicit photos or demanded sex in exchange for help with losing weight, researchers found.

‘The pro-ana coaches were very direct and said things like ‘I will help you, but you will have to have send me naked photos of yourself’. Or ‘I will help you, but you will have to have sex with me’.

They clearly focus on the vulnerabilities of the girls,’ CKM researcher Shamir Ceuleers told the broadcaster. Refusal would lead to responses like ‘Do you want to remain a fat pig?’ and threats of exposure of shared photos or a visit to the girl’s home.


Some 60 girls, who are active on the sites also participated in interviews, most of whom were under the age of 18. Nearly all said they had been approached by men who wanted photos.

Over half the men wanted to meet up in exchange for helping girls lose weight and in 20% of cases the men wanted sex. In a few cases this led to a forced sexual encounter.

Although asking minors for naked photos is a criminal offence, none of the girls reported the men. Many girls are ashamed, and some shared their experiences for the first time, the researchers said.

The research into pro-ana coach phenomenon was started in the wake of a case against an Arnhem man who in 2016 lured six anorexic girls to his house in order to rape them.

The organisations say they will conclude their report at the end of the summer and will make a number of recommendations to the police and the justice department.



Integration fail: 800 are wrongly told they had not passed language tests

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Some 800 people who should have passed the reading and listening parts of the Dutch integration exams have been wrongly told they had failed, because of a system error, social affairs minister Wouter Koolmees has told MPs.

At the same time, 450 people who should have failed were actually given a pass mark, Koolmees said. The mistakes were made in exams taken between December 2017 and March 2019, the minister said.

People who wrongly passed will be able to keep their diplomas because they should not be retroactively made the victims of government failings, Koolmees said. The people who should have passed will be informed and will get compensation for any extra expenses.

Koolmees also told MPs that some 4,000 people have applied to be exempted from the labour market orientation tests, since the option was introduced in April this year. In total, 90% of the requests have been honoured because people were able to prove they had sufficient work experience.

The labour market orientation test has long irritated working people going through the inburgering process because it assumes, they have little in the way of experience or qualifications.



Newly appointed Supervisory Board meets with Director BIP SXM

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - As of December 2018, new Supervisory Board members for the Bureau for Intellectual Property Sint Maarten (the Bureau) have been appointed by the Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport & Telecommunication (Minister of TEATT).

The (new) Board members are Mrs. Glennis Vlaun, Dr. Rhoda Arrindell and Ms. Sophia Brown. Mrs. Glennis Vlaun has been re-appointed by the Minister of TEATT and in the first member meeting she was selected by her peers as chairperson of the Supervisory Board.

Last year September, the term of the first appointed Supervisory Board members ended. The Director takes this opportunity to thank Ms. Melinda Hoeve, attorney at law of the firm Hoeve & Rogers and Mr. Ahmed Bell, Managing Director of Principle Accounting and Consulting Services B.V. for their three years of service to the Bureau.

The Director has scheduled a series of meetings with the new Supervisory Board members to discuss the role of the Bureau in our community, the Bureau’s finances, IP awareness on Sint Maarten, past activities and accomplishments of the Bureau as well as other ongoing matters.

In addition, the Director gave a number of presentations on intellectual property rights applicable to Sint Maarten and highlighted both its regional as well as international partnerships (Benelux Office for Intellectual Property, the Kingdom Patent Office in the Netherlands, regional IPO’s ) and memberships (The World Intellectual Property Office, International Trademark Association and the Intellectual Property Caribbean Association).

“I feel like I have been part of the BIP team for longer than the actual time. The information provided, the enthusiasm about intellectual property rights and the welcoming atmosphere of both the Director and the BIP team has been invigorating. I look forward to the further growth of BIP,” says Dr. Arrindell.

The Honorable Minister of TEATT, Mr. Stuart Johnson said, “the government of Sint Maarten strives to sustainably redevelop the island’s economy after the devastation caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria. The protection of Intellectual Property (IP), amongst other things, can spur economic growth by creating new jobs and industries which enhances the quality of life for the community at large.

“During my tenure as Minister of TEATT, I have witnessed the Bureau’s commitment to adhere to a transparent and corporate social responsible way of managing the independent governing body. I am convinced that under the supervision of the newly installed board, the Director of the Bureau, Mrs. Vincentia Rosen-Sandiford, and her team will ensure that the organization will continue to be effective in the registration and raising awareness of IP rights in the community. I congratulate the new board and wish them success in their endeavor to ensure a high quality of service to the community.”


Celebrity Flora Expedition Vessel makes Fuel & Provision Stop on its way to the Galapagos Islands

PORT ST. MAARTEN – On Thursday, the newest addition to the Celebrity Cruises’ fleet, Celebrity Flora, made a fuel and provisioning stop at Port St. Maarten on its way to the Galapagos Islands where the vessel will be based year-around.

Celebrity Flora made the Atlantic crossing after departing the Port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands where the vessel was inaugurated in the presence of Royal Caribbean Cruises and Celebrity Cruises’ executive officials and other invited guests aboard during the ceremony.

Port St. Maarten Management congratulates Celebrity Cruises’ with the new build considered one of the most eco-friendly ships of its size in the Galapagos Islands.

Port St. Maarten Management has developed a strategy to increase volume related to cruise ship provisioning with the objective of becoming the lead cruise ship provisioning seaport in the near future.

Celebrity Flora is a luxury mega yacht that can carry approximately 100 guests and 70+ crew; 5,739 tonnage; length 333 feet and a cruising speed of 14 knots. The vessel was built by De Hoop in the Netherlands and will make her first sailing with guests on June 30 from the homeport of Baltra.

Celebrity Cruises' iconic "X" is an identifying mark of the cruise line. Celebrity Cruises' has 13 ships that offer modern luxury vacations visiting all seven continents. Celebrity also presents Cruisetour experiences in Alaska and Canada. Celebrity is one of six cruise brands operated by global cruise vacation company Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL).


Groningen earthquake damage reports increase, 14 emergency cases

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The number of damage reports following last week’s earthquake in Groningen has gone up to 2,875, the government’s registration agency TCMG has said.

Most of the reports come from Groningen province itself, but a handful have come from nearby Drenthe. Of the total, 82 reports were for an ‘acute, unsafe situation’, such as a shift in support beams or collapsing walls and in 14 cases, emergency action has been taken, the TCMG said.

Last Wednesday’s quake hit 3.4 on the Richter scale, making it one of the strongest on record. The quakes are caused by the ground settling following natural gas extraction.

The government decided at the end of last year to phase out the use of Groningen gas by 2030 but officials are still in dispute about compensating people for the damage caused to their property and the cost of shoring up buildings.

Earlier this week, the Dutch mining inspectorate said the government should treat the quakes as a ‘crisis situation ‘and speed up help and financial compensation to the thousands of people who have been affected since they began in 2012.



Police question Estonian about kick boxer murder in 2001

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – An Estonian national who is in jail for illegal weapons offences has reportedly admitted that he was behind the murder of a Dutch kick boxer in 2001, the Telegraaf said on Wednesday.

The 46-year-old man says he feels remorse about shooting Coen de Nijs in the centre of Alkmaar 18 years ago and wants to come clean, the paper said. The paper was tipped off about the case a month ago and the investigation has now been reopened.

No motive for the killing has ever been put forward although there were suggestions that De Nijs may have been caught up in a drugs gang war and owned members money.

The Estonian will appear in court on Friday in connection in connection with the new case. It is unclear if he has yet made a formal confession but was questioned by detectives on Tuesday, the Telegraaf said.


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