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Dutch teen held in Spain for four months on abuse claims

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – A 17-year-old Dutch teenager has been held in a Spanish juvenile detention centre for over four months after two British girls accused him of sexually assaulting him, the AD reported on Wednesday.

No formal charges have yet been brought against Charly T, who told a Dutch radio programme this week the accusations are completely made up, the paper said. ‘The Spanish authorities are acting as if I had a terrible master plan to get two underage girls drunk and then to abuse them but that is not the case,’ the youth said.

‘I’m not some serious criminal.’ Charly T was arrested mid-August as he, his father and brother were about to go home from Alicante. The complaints were made by British girls aged 12 and 14.

They say that T secretly put vodka in their drinks at a farewell party held at the communal swimming pool. T, who comes from West Friesland had been due to start a college course after the summer holiday.

He is currently being held in a re-educational facility in the mountains near Alicante and repeated efforts to have him released have failed. The AD’s Spain correspondent said that Spanish officials fear T would not return for an eventual trial if he is released. (DutchNews)

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Action group aiming to collect refugees arrives in Greece

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – An action group calling itself We Gaan Ze Halen (We will bring them back which wants to collect 150 refugees from Greece has arrived in Athens, Nu.nl reports.

The group which made the 3,000 km journey in cars and a bus which broke down on the way, aim to hand Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras a letter on Monday asking for legal travel papers for the refugees.

The group says the situation on the Greek islands is a ‘humanitarian disaster’ with children in particular at risk of physical and sexual violence. There are now over 16,000 refugees on the islands.

Junior justice minister Mark Harbers has said it is illegal to transport people without residency status. (DutchNews)

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Coca-Cola product Smartwater wins most misleading product vote

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Smartwater – bottled water produced by the Coca-Cola company – has been voted the most misleading consumer product of the year by visitors to the Foodwatch website.

‘It is simply very expensive water,’ Foodwatch said. ‘Per mouthful, it is five times as expensive as other supermarket mineral water. If you compare it to tap water, it is roughly a thousand times more expensive, and no more healthy.’

Coca-Cola has said it does not consider the product to be misleading. ‘The ingredients and labelling are clear, factual and meet Dutch product regulations,’ the company told website Nu.nl.

‘As far as we are concerned there is no question of misleading consumers.’ Eight products were nominated for the award this year and 12,000 people took part in the vote. Coca-cola took 30% of the total.

Second place went to Venco’s ‘honey liquorice’ which contains 150 times more sugars than honey and third place to Cullinella olive oil from Aldi with 21% olive oil.

Aldi has already said it will change the labeling of the oil and Albert Heijn, Jumbo and Vomar will change the labels of their products which were nominated, Foodwatch said. (DutchNews)

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Progress on restructuring of ENNIA. Legal recognition of ENNIA’s emergency regulations granted in the US

SINT MAARTEN/CURACAO - The Central Bank of Curaçao and Sint Maarten ("CBCS") has issued several press releases in the past period regarding the status of the legal recognition of ENNIA’s emergency regulations in the United States.

“The court hearing of the legal recognition took place on December 12, 2018. Yesterday, December 20, 2018 the court in the United States granted legal recognition as requested by the CBCS and ENNIA.

“With the legal recognition, the steps required in the United States for the restructuring of ENNIA can be implemented more easily. The aim of the restructuring is and remains to improve the solvency of ENNIA.

“The CBCS will continue to inform the community about the progress of the restructuring process, provided that the provision of information should not interfere with the restructuring process or make the process more difficult,” the CBCS said on Thursday in a statement.

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Celebrity Edge makes its Inaugural call to St. Maarten

SINT MAARTEN (PORT ST. MAARTEN) - The truly magnificent Celebrity Edge Cruise ship made its inaugural call at Port SXM on Thursday morning and was greeted by a large delegation led by Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Traffic & Telecommunication the Honourable Stuart Johnson.

The delegation included representatives from both French and Dutch Side Tourist Offices, SXM Harbour Board of Directors and Management Team members and Delisle Walwyn SXM representatives. They were greeted at what is considered the most technologically advanced Bridge amongst Cruise Ships today by Celebrity Edge Captain Konstantino. He welcomed the group and spoke briefly about the different features of the new Cruise Ship. “This ship has been built with twenty-seven per cent more suites than any other,” said Captain Konstantino.

Minister Johnson said in his welcome remarks to the Captain and Crew that St. Maarten was proud of its relationship with Celebrity Cruise Line as well as the other Cruise Lines that continue to put their trust in the island and its people. He said, “We enjoy a healthy and mutually beneficial relationship with the cruise industry, and we want to see it continue to grow in numbers. We thank you for your commitment to the island, and our goal is to work even closer with the Cruise Industry to solidify our partnership moving forward and improve our Tourism Product for the benefit of the Cruise Passengers.”

The ship has a two-level Night Club and a Martini Bar as well as a three-level Garden Restaurant, a four-screen movie theatre with a capacity of 900 people, Roof Top and Sunset Bar on the Deck.

However, its unique feature is the Magic Carpet which is a one of a kind Bar that can be moved to any of the over 15 floors of the Ship. The delegation was given a full tour of the new cruise ship with explanations of the increased use of technology as well as an overview of the types of rooms the boat offers. When it arrived on Thursday, the shop boasted some 2,519 passengers.

Celebrity Edge

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Curaçao to host "The Road to GES2019 Caribbean"

SINT MAARTEN/CURACAO - The Government of Curaçao and the U.S. Consulate General Curaçao are excited to announce that Curaçao will host the Road to GES Caribbean event on March 14-15, 2019 in Willemstad, Curaçao. 

The Road to GES events are a series of signature events in anticipation to Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2019, which is scheduled to be held in The Hague, the Netherlands on June 4-5, 2019.  

The event is organized by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, supported by the Netherlands, U.S., and Curaçao governments.

The Road to GES event on Curaçao will host round tables where the theme ‘Inclusive finance’ will be discussed.  U.S., Dutch, and Caribbean experts and entrepreneurs will join forces in finance to strengthen the economic ties between the Caribbean, United States of America, and The Netherlands, and to boost trade development. 

The event aims to bring together an international audience of entrepreneurs, business executives, influencers, innovators, governmental officials, and civil society pioneers.

In addition, the strength of U.S., Dutch and Caribbean businesses and governments will be harnessed by kicking off a hackathon themed ‘Resilient economy’. The aim of this hackathon is to roll out Smart Nation Innovation and to give a positive impulse to the startup ecosystem (Energy, Agriculture, Connectivity, Health, Water) throughout the Caribbean.

The idea for a Caribbean event with regard to the GES 2019, originated during the visit of the U.S. Ambassador to The Netherlands Pete Hoekstra to Curaçao this summer.

Prime minister of Curaçao Eugene Rhuggenaath considers the event as a confirmation of the longstanding positive relationship with the U.S. and hopes this will result in Kingdom wide productive business relations between the countries and the U.S. 

Although the Road to GES2019 Caribbean is an event that takes place on Curaçao, the aim is to engage entrepreneurs located on all Dutch Caribbean islands, and the ideal is to use the GES platform to share thoughts and initiatives with entrepreneurs in the entire Caribbean and from all over the world.

Go to www.ges2019caribbean.org for the full program and tickets. 

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Pharmacists to promote quality of drugs used on the three islands

SABA/ST. EUSTATIUS - As of 2019, pharmacists on Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba and the Healthcare Insurance Office (Zorgverzekeringskantoor, hereinafter referred to as ZVK) will collaborate to promote the quality of drugs used on the three islands.

As of that date, all prescription drugs will be checked on the basis of the ‘G-Standaard’ (Dutch Drug Database). This means that the drugs have been tested by the Medicines Evaluation Board and are listed in the Register of Medicinal Products.

In the Netherlands - as well as the Caribbean Netherlands - medicines are not permitted to be marketed until they have received marketing authorisation from the Medicines Evaluation Board (College ter Beoordeling van Geneesmiddelen, hereinafter referred to as CBG). This independent authority monitors the quality, efficacy and safety of medicines, and encourages better use of medicines for the right patient.

Which drugs have received CBG's market authorisation, is recorded in the Register of Medicinal Products. A drug from this register is in accordance with the ‘G-Standaard’.

Register of Medicinal Products

Because of this ‘G-Standaard’ patients, physicians and pharmacists know that drugs have been tested against strict criteria. Drugs which are not listed in the Register of Medicinal Products, do not contribute to responsible healthcare and patient safety. This also applies to drugs produced and frequently used in our region.

It is prohibited in the Netherlands and the BES islands to dispense drugs which are not listed in the Register of Medicinal Products. As of 2019 dispensation of these products is no longer permitted.

Quality and patient safety

This may result in the fact that a drug which a patient is accustomed to use may no longer be dispensed. The pharmacist will then choose another product in consultation with the prescribing physician.

The Register of Medicinal Products contains adequate drugs to guarantee the quality of healthcare and patient safety.

By checking the medicines for compliance with the ‘G-Standaard’, ZVK, physicians and pharmacists collaborate in ensuring responsible healthcare and patient safety.

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Ban on all mopeds on some Amsterdam cycle paths next April

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Amsterdam is banning snorfietsen, or low-powered mopeds that have a speed limit of 25 km/h, from most of its cycle paths inside the A10 ring road from next April.

The presence of the snorfiets on cycle paths has long been a bone of contention in the capital because their speed, which in most cases exceeds 25 km/h, makes them dangerous to cyclists.

The number of snorfietsen has also increased from 11,000 in 2008 to 35,000 this year, according to the Parool. Officials expect that relegating snorfiets users to the road will bring down the number of serious traffic accidents on cycle paths by 261.

Last December parliament passed a law which gave local authorities the right to impose helmet use and Amsterdam is the first city to have done so. Helmets will be now compulsory for all scooter users in the Dutch capital from January 1.

The ban will come into force from April next year but not all cycle paths will be snorfiets free.

The exceptions to the rule are very busy roads, such as the Wibautstraat, De Ruiterkade, Prins Hendrikkade and Stadhouderskade and all bike paths outside the A10 ring road People who ignore the new ‘Snorfietsen niet toegestaan’ signs risk a fine of €95. (DutchNews)

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16 Year Girl Shot Dead at School. 31-Year Old Man Arrested

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – A 16-year-old girl has been shot dead in the bike sheds at the back of her college in the west of Rotterdam. The girl was a student at the city’s Design College and was killed at around 1pm, police said.

A 31-year-old man was arrested several kilometres away. The two were said by fellow students to have been having a relationship. Several pupils witnessed the shooting and are being interviewed by police.

‘They had a relationship, but it was not going well,’ one pupil said. ‘She had blocked him on social media and had been hassled by him before. Her girlfriends had reported it to teachers.’

Another witness told the AD he had heard seven or eight shots and seen the victim lying on the ground. (DutchNews)

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Baby Clinic receives donation of AED machine

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Baby Clinic located at the Vineyard building recently received a donation of an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) machine for babies and children by Mr. Wisman and Mr. Bolthuis of the Vineyard Office Park.

Minister of Public Health Emil Lee and staffers of the Collective Prevention Services (CPS) department accepted the donation.

The AED is a lifesaving machine that is used to check a person's heart rhythm and let the operator of the machine know whether or not the person's heart needs a jolt to reestablish a normal heart rhythm.

Several CPS staffers, including nurses, doctors and support staff, had recently been re-certified, by successfully completing an annual two (2) day CPR, First Aid and AED training which was facilitated by the Windward Islands Emergency Medical Services (WIEMS).

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