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Soualiga Newsday Features (1209)

Cycling, walking and swimming: children and adults need to do more

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Almost half of the Netherlands four to 12-year-olds are not getting the amount of exercise they should, according to new research into the nation’s health by national statistics office CBS.

Official guidelines say children should have at least an hour of moderate exercise a day – such as cycling, walking or swimming but only 55% of children reach this, the CBS said.

In addition, they should engage in three hour’s bone and muscle-strengthening exercise a week, something which almost 99% of children do achieve, the research showed.

Adults

Adults perform even less well than children when it comes to moderate exercise. The guidelines recommend 150 minutes of movement a week, including two sessions of muscle and bone strengthening exercise.

But fewer than half the adults in the CBS research spend enough time on walking or cycling, and only 77% meet the muscle and bone strengthening target, the CBS said. (DutchNews)

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A different type of tourist? Amsterdam aims for super yachts

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Superyachts are increasingly making Amsterdam a favoured port-of-call, a trend which the capital’s port is encouraging.

‘Forever One’, the 55-metre long, €34m yacht owned by billionaire Mexican Coca-Cola bottler Bruce Grossman moored alongside the Scheepvaart maritime museum this week while its owners explored the city.

Similar vessels have put up at the nearby cruise terminal or at the Amsterdam marina during their stays, the Parool reported. Port officials use the Amsterdam boat show Hiswa to promote the idea and appear at boating events around the world. They have a stand at the Monaco Yacht Show this year, the paper said.

‘Forever One’ is used by its owners about six months a year but the 13-man crew is on the yacht for the full 12 months and are prepared to move on at any point.

The vessel was in London before Amsterdam and is heading to Hamburg before touring the Scandinavian ports.

Several leading superyacht builders are located in the Netherlands. Van Lent, a member of the Feadship marketing group, is building a new yard in the Amsterdam port which will be capable of constructing yachts 160-metres long when it opens next year.

The yard will also carry out regular maintenance on large vessels. (DutchNews)

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Governor presents medals of appreciation to Dutch Armed Forces and Police due to Post Irma-Maria assistance

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – His Excellency Governor Eugene Holiday was in The Netherlands on a working visit and during a ceremony in Nijkerk, he gave out medals of recognition and appreciation to member of the Dutch Armed Forces and Police who came to the Dutch Windward Islands (Sint Maarten, Saba and St. Eustatius) last September 2017 to render assistance to the Governments after the passing of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

His Excellency Governor Eugene Holiday delivered the following message in Dutch to members of the Dutch Armed Forces and Police as well as family members who were present for the ceremony:

Aangetreden Militairen en Politie,

Familieleden van de aangetreden Militairen en Politie,

Dames en Heren,

Goede Morgen,

I bring you warm greetings from the people of Sint Maarten.

And to the men and women of the military and the police force gathered here today, who served in Sint Maarten during and after hurricane Irma, I extend a very special SALUTE to you.

Dames en Heren

“Steunend op eigen kracht, doch met de wil elkander bij te staan” waren de woorden die Koningin Wilhelmina op 7 december 1942 uitsprak, om aan te geven hoe zij de toekomst van het Koninkrijk zag.

Deze Koninkrijksvisie van Koningin Wilhelmina is een groot goed van ons Koninkrijk en dat vooral in tijden van nood.

Begin september 2017, tekende zich op Sint Maarten de eerste beelden af van de dreiging van de naderende orkaan Irma. Onze Minister van Defensie heeft in de geest van de woorden van Koningin Wilhelmina het verzoek van de regering van Sint Maarten voor militaire bijstand ter voorbereiding op de komst van de orkaan terstond ingewilligd. En op 4 september arriveerde de eerste groep militairen op Sint Maarten. Niemand had of had kunnen anticiperen wat er daarna zou gebeuren.

Sint Maarten werd, in de vroege ochtend van 6 september 2017, 75 jaar na het uitspreken van de historische woorden van Koningin Wilhelmina, getroffen door orkaan Irma, de krachtigste orkaan ooit in de Atlantische Oceaan, en amper twee weken later door orkaan Maria. Ik denk, of beter gezegd, ik weet, dat de bevolking en eenieder onder u, die gedurende en direct na het passeren van orkaan Irma op Sint Maarten aanwezig waren nimmer, nimmer de ervaringen van de verwoestende kracht van deze orkaan zullen vergeten.

Tegenover de verwoestende kracht van Irma stond echter een grotere wilskracht van de bevolking van Sint Maarten en een grotere “wil” en daadkracht van de Landen van het Koninkrijk om Sint Maarten bij te staan.

  • Bij te staan via militaire inzet, uw inzet op Sint Maarten.
  • Bij te staan via civiele uitzending van mannen en vrouwen, waaronder de medewerkers van Nederlandse ministeries die hier vandaag aanwezig zijn.
  • Bij te staan via inzamelingsacties zoals die van de nationale actiedag.
  • En bij te staan via opvang van scholieren.

Hier kunnen wij als inwoners van ons Koninkrijk gezamelijk trots op zijn.

Trots op u de mannen en vrouwen van de krijgsmacht van het Koninkrijk en de politiekorpsen van Nederland, Aruba en Curaçao. Irma had ongekende schade aangericht, Jose dreigde, en Maria maakte een slechte situatie erger. Maar u stond klaar en kwam, om onze bevolking in nood bij te staan.

U kwam als Marine, Landmacht, Luchtmacht, Marechaussee en Curaçaose en Arubaanse militie. Hulp kwam er ook van de politie uit Nederland, Aruba en Curaçao om ons bij te staan. En nog steeds ondersteunen agenten van de Nationale Politie het Korps Politie Sint Maarten.

Naast de Genie heeft ook USAR.NL bijstand geleverd.

Dames en Heren,

Ik zie u nog aan het werk:

  • bij het ontruimen van omgeslagen bomen van de wegen,
  • bij het bewaken van “check points” ter handhaving van de orde en veiligheid,
  • bij de evacuatie van mensen, waaronder dialyse patienten, op de luchthaven,
  • bij de reparatie van het dak van de Oranje School, van het dak van het ziekenhuis, van de daken van huizen van inwoners, en
  • bij de distributie van water en levensmiddelen,

om een paar voorbeelden te noemen.

U heeft ons door de lucht en over zee essentiële verbindingen en hulpgoederen gebracht:

  • De Luchtmacht met haar vliegtuigen; en
  • De Marine met haar schepen de Pelikaan, de Zeeland en de Karel Doorman.

Deze noodhulp operaties, tezamen met de door Nederland beschikbaar gestelde wederopbouwfondsen, hebben in belangrijke mate bijgedragen aan de wederopbouwfase, waarin Sint Maarten zich nu bevindt. Deze steun, deze operaties, en met name die van de Karel Doorman, hebben een enorme indruk gemaakt, en zullen nog lang in het geheugen van de bevolking voortleven.

De omstandigheden waaronder u allen uw werk op Sint Maarten heeft gedaan waren niet altijd makkelijk. Maar u deed het met toewijding en veerkracht en maakte daarmee het verschil.

Ik word door dat verschil, nog steeds aangesproken met woorden van dank door mensen die u heeft bijgestaan. Dank voor de hulp welke jullie op het eiland hebben verleend. Als Gouverneur van Sint Maarten maak ik daarom van deze gelegenheid gebruik om die dank en mijn dank aan u, uw partners en familieleden voor uw inzet en hun offers over te brengen.

U werd geroepen en u kwam ruimhartig te hulp, daarbij “de wil Sint Maarten bij te staan” tonend. Dit brengt ons in het Koninkrijk samen en maakt ons samen sterk. Om hier bij stil te staan wordt vandaag de Herinneringsmedaille voor Humanitaire Hulpverlening na Rampen aan u uitgereikt.

De medaille die u straks krijgt uitgereikt draagt de tekst: “De helpende hand werd geboden”.

Ik dank u, de inwoners en de regering van Nederland namens de bevolking en regering van Sint Maarten voor deze helpende hand.

Thank you, and

God Bless You.

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Three teens receive conditional dismissal for drugs and weapons violation

PHILIPSBURG - On Thursday June 21st at approximately 11.45 a.m. three teenage students from two different secondary schools were arrested on the Boardwalk for the possession of illegal drugs and violation of the Weapon Ordinance.

These students were 14 and 17 years of age. They were taken to the Philipsburg Police Station and handed over to the Juvenile Department for questioning.

After being questioned and in consultation with the Public Prosecutor all three students were released in the care of their parents with a conditional dismissal. (Sint Maarten Police Force)

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Mental Health Fd. Signs M.O.U. with AUC for Crisis Management and More

SINT MAARTEN (CUPECOY) - On Wednesday 13th June 2018, a Memorandum of Understanding (M.O.U.) was signed between the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) and the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine (AUC) in a combined effort to provide Quality Psychiatric Care on St. Maarten.

The terms of the signed M.O.U. involves:

  • Crisis Management: In cases where there is an AUC community member needs emergency mental health care.
  • Access to care: AUC community members’ time between the intake meeting and the psychiatrists is reduced.
  • Prescriptions: AUC community members requiring prescriptions to be refilled being first evaluated by the psychiatrists before medication automatically renewed.

AUC Dean, Dr. Heidi Chumley expressed the singing was an excellent example of the new joint co-ordination and cooperation between both organizations in enhancing the quality of psychiatric care to AUC community members on the island.

MHF aims to improve the quality of individuals and families by compassionately serving mental health, addiction, education and community support needs on St. Maarten and surrounding islands.

American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine Dean Dr. Heidi Chumley and Mr. Hazarie Ramoutar Senior Administrator for Campus Operations, MHF clinic Nurse Daylinda Sevilla and MHF Executive Assistant Cyrille Brooks witnessed the signing of the M.O.U.

 

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Albina Matuzko’s take on Russian classic was a knockout hit with SXM audiences

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Theatre Director, Albina Matuzko, took theatre on St. Maarten to another level last weekend with her staging of the Russian Classic, The Government Inspector, at the Cultural Center, Backstreet, June 15, 16, and 17.

The director’s experimentation with the much loved and oft performed play may well have seemed to have been foolhardy and bold at the same time. As she explained to three sets of audiences on all three days, the passage of Hurricane Irma in September last year, shortly after auditions were held for players, should have been the first sign for her to give up her quest to stage such an epic.

She was however moved by the enthusiasm of her players and supported by set-director and partner, Cor Sikkes, they plodded on together, overcoming one obstacle and one challenge after another until their literal explosion on stage this past weekend.

Albina’s bold experiment was how to take a Russian classic, with all its vagaries of language and meaning, and nuance of character, and retro-fit it for a St. Maarten audience that would patient enough to sit through two-hours of non-stop action. Her target was not only the “usual” theatregoers and theatre lovers on the island, but also the plethora of other nationalities to whom such a play would have little meaning, let alone enjoyment.

For this latter group, a night out at the theatre should be devoid of any cultural indoctrination and lecturing, and should only be a good old helping of Belly-bust laugh that would help them escape from their regular lives and problems, for about an hour and not much more.

So it was indeed a pleasure to see such diversity of persons and enthusiastic participation of audiences on all three nights at the showing of The Government Inspector at the now aging Cultural Center.

While I can agree with the Director in her preamble to the audience that with a cast of 17, some of whom are local and it was assumed would also bring their own “crowd”, and that bringing in a diverse audience would be easier, I also believe it goes much deeper than that. It goes to the very root of what brings a community together to laugh at themselves, to recognize their own shortcomings and hopes and dreams.

Despite the classic and international nature of the Nikolai Gogol literary masterpiece is was still the recognizable quips, about “The Dump”, “40 cartloads of gravel still missing since the Hurricane” that rang home and met with laughter from this grateful audience, well tuned to the subtleties of the story unfolding before them and the comparisons they could easily draw to their own situations on St. Maarten today.

Looking at the audience, hearing their laughter and their reactions afterwards, Albina Matuzko’s experiment worked beautifully and may have created a bridge to theatre appreciation and participation that up to now has eluded even the most respected theater directors of the past and present.

The plot of the plays centers around the roughish character, Ivan Alexsandrovich Khlestakov, who comes into a provincial town that has upped its game on corruption and scheming to such a level that an Inspector General has been called in to carry out an investigation.

Thinking that their visitor is the true government official, they set about greasing his palms and generally making fools of themselves, even going so far as to invite him into their homes where he is wined and dined and takes the fancy of the governor’s wife and daughter to whom he proposes.

The cad leaves town with all his booty before his true identity is revealed, leaving his betrothed devastated and the villagers…well, a little less better off for cash. There is a realization of Horror when a deep toned voice announces the arrival of the real Government Inspector who has called everyone to the Inn to atone their sins.

The story is brilliantly told in comic and clownish fashion by Director Matuzko using imaginative costumes and scenery that moves on wheels (why didn’t anyone thing of that before?). There are even shows within shows throughout to keep the audience attention as the classic tale chugs along.

The technical quality and precision of choreography in the pre-bride and bribe scenes, could truly have been of the quality of a Broadway or London stage performance. It was also highly appreciated by audiences on all three days, making this all the more exciting and rewarding for the players.

It calls on all the skills of lead actors Joe Dominique, who plays The Governor, Anton Antonovich and fellow lead actor Raphael Dorra, who plays the rougish devil Khalestakov. Dominique, a well-known journalist and visual artist on St. Maarten, filled the stage with an exuberant and bubbling air that was equally mirrored by the stunning performances of all fellow cast members who each played their part to perfection.

Those in the local theatre fraternity, were treated to a return to the SXM stage for Shirley Sibony (who played the part of Stepanida Illinishna, the drunken guard and long-time friend of the governor) and hopefully we will see more of her on stage again in the future.

Mr. Dorra was masterful in his role as the visiting rogue. His take on the character was so believable, it’s hard you are only left to wonder if there isn’t something of that mischievousness in Mr. Dorra himself. His love scenes were excellent and guided to sit like a dog at the center of the stage by a squabbling mother and daughter hungry for his attention – the effect is marvelously executed by all.

To single out any one of the characters would be unfair to the entire cast since everyone played an important role in the overall success of the production. All 17 players gave of their best – and in return we can but give them the accolades they truly deserve for a job well done. Bravo! Encore!

THEATRE REVIEW - By anonymous

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Record number of Dutch children in secure institutional care

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – A record number of 2,710 children were being cared for in secure institutions last year, a rise of 8% on 2016, according to a new report by Unicef and Defence for Children.

The decision to lock up a child is often ‘too drastic’ and the help to vulnerable children falls short in ‘far too many cases’, the organisations said. ‘The figures have to come down,’ Suzanne Laszlo, director of Unicef Nederland told NOS radio.

‘No child should ever be put in a secure institution unless there is a psychiatric need to do so. And that is not always the case.’ Children often end up institutionalised because of the growing waiting lists for youth social services.

In addition, there is no overview of what care services are available since responsibility was decentralised to a local authority level, Laszlo said. Nevertheless, on the whole the situation facing children in the Netherlands has improved, she said.

For example, improvements have been made to systems for reporting a registering child abuse and there has been a drop of 26% in the number of children held in police cells. (DutchNews)

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Youth faces maximum sentence for killing Savannah, 14

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – A 17-year-old youth on trial for the murder of a 14-year-old girl last year faces the maximum sentence of two years youth detention followed by treatment in a secure psychiatric unit.

The public prosecution department told the court on Tuesday the youth, who was 16 at the term of the killing, is guilty of murder because his internet behaviour showed he was planning to do something to the girl before she disappeared.

Savannah was found dead in a ditch on an industrial estate three days after she disappeared on her way home from school. The boy was arrested a day after her body was found.

Evidence

The public prosecutor says camera footage, dna traces on a soft drinks can and social media interaction showed the boy was close to the place where Savannah’s body was later found.

He was also filmed on her bike and the pedals showed trace evidence of mud and water consistent with the ditch. The youth has denied killing the girl and has refused to answer questions in court.

The case is being held behind closed doors because the defendant is still a minor.

Two deaths

Savannah disappeared at the same time as another 14-year-old girl, giving rise to fears that there could be a connection between the deaths. Last November, a 14-year-old boy was found guilty of the raped and murder of 14-year-old Romy.

Both attended the same special needs school. The fact that the two girls disappeared around the same time and just 20 kilometres apart led at the time to speculation that they may have become the victims of a serial killer. (DutchNews)

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Dutch clear way for postal delivery consolidation as letter volumes shrink

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The postal delivery market in the Netherlands has been shrinking for around 10% a year and now the Dutch government has decided to allow delivery firms to merge and consolidate to keep services affordable.

This means that former state monopoly PostNL could now join forces with its private sector rival Sandd, which has made major inroads into the business mail sector in recent years.

‘The shrinking postal market presents major social and economic challenges,’ junior economic affairs minister Mona Keizer said in a briefing to MPs. On the one hand, jobs need to be protected, and on the other the rules need to be changed to keep post affordable, she said.

The number of letters posted has shrunk from five billion a year in 2009 to 2.5 billion now, Keizer said. While competition is important, it should no longer be a goal in itself, Keizer said.

The current situation has led to ‘two or three postal delivery workers walking through the same street, each with increasingly empty bags.’ Rules on working conditions, the number of delivery days and letter box distribution will remain unchanged, Keizer said. (DutchNews)

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Satudarah biker club banned for ‘culture of violence’ and criminal links

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – A court has shut down motorcycle club Satudarah with immediate effect as a result of its criminal links and ‘culture of violence’.

The district court in The Hague ruled that the club’s activities violated public order ‘in a manner that disrupts or can disrupt society’. The ban was extended to the affiliated clubs Supportcrew 999 and Saudarah, which judges said were inextricably linked with Satudarah.

Around 100 members of the gang attended the high-security complex at Schiphol airport to hear the judgment. It is the second time in recent years that a court has banned membership of a motorcycle club, following a ruling against the Bandidos club last year.

The public prosecution service asked the court to ban Satudarah last September on the grounds that it ‘cultivates a violent image that is used for blackmail and intimidation’.

Several club members have convictions for violence and possessing illegal weapons. Prosecutors said the club was systematically involved in criminal activities and had created a subculture of lawlessness for its members.

Satudarah was banned in Germany in 2015 when a court said it constituted a threat to society. The ban imposed in The Hague will take effect straight away even though the club has said it intends to appeal. (DutchNews)

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