Soualiga Newsday Features

Soualiga Newsday Features (1426)

“Lasana M. Sekou Live @ 40th anniversary” concert: Poetry, stories, drama, and dance-theater performances at John Larmonie Center

SINT MAARTEN/ST. MARTIN - The 40th anniversary concert of St. Martin’s Lasana Sekou as an author of over 20 books, takes place on November 30 and December 1, 2018, at 8 PM, said Shujah Reiph, president of Conscious Lyrics Foundation (CLF).

“It’s a cultural event at the John Larmonie Center on Long Wall Road, next to the LB Scott Sports Auditorium,” said Reiph, who is also producer of the concert.

Sekou will recite from his books of poetry and fictions, starting with his first book from 1978; and from his upcoming Hurricane Irma collection,” said Jacqueline Sample, his publisher at House of Nehesi (HNP).

“Lasana’s monologue ‘Great Grandmother T’ will be dramatized by leading choreographer and singer Clara Reyes; and the National Institute of Arts (NIA) will perform some of his poems as dance-theater,” said Reiph,

“Lasana has performed on five continents. His poetry and short stories are studied in universities in the Caribbean, Venezuela, Mexico, the USA, Canada, and in Europe,” said Reiph.

“Critics compare Lasana Sekou to Kamau Brathwaite, Dylan Thomas, LKJ, and e.e. cummings. Fabian Badejo and Harvard scholar Abiola Irele compare his work to Aimé Césaire.”

“But I still think that when he gives the rare solo reading of his work at home, it’s in St. Martin where he puts most of his heart and soul,” said Reiph.

Admission to the literary show is $15 in advance, or $20 at the gate, said Reiph. Tickets are available at NIA, John Larmonie Center, and SOS Radio 95.5 FM (across from the ball field), Rue de Hollande, Marigot.

Lasana M. Sekou Live @ his 40th anniversary “is powered by Conscious Lyrics, House of Nehesi Publishers, SOS Radio, and NIA,” said Reiph. Proceeds from the ticket sales will be contributed to the upcoming book of Hurricane Irma poems from HNP and the 17th annual St. Martin Book Fair 2019, said Sample.

sekou 40th

Literary recital flyer ofLasana M. Sekou Live @ his 40th anniversary,” 2018.


$2,000 Smart Home Grand Door Prize at “Wacky Telco Friday” event

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - TelEm Group has in store for a lucky winner, a state-of-the-art Smart Home connection as the Grand Door Prize for this Friday’s “Wacky TelCo Friday” fun sale.

The Grand Prize of a Home Automation System by Smart Concepts 721, is being offered by company representative, Mr. Michael Jeffrey, who says he is totally into the way TelEm Group customers are warning to the Wacky Friday promotion.

Anyone can qualify to win the star prize with any purchase made during the wackiest sale in town, on November 23, TelEm Group’s Wacky Telco Friday – all day sales.

The Smart Home prize heads off a ton of prizes, starting from as early as 6:30 a.m. in the morning, Friday, when the first persons to make any purchase over $50.00, and dressed WACKY, will receive a FREE Samsung J2 Pro cellphone to the value of $185.

There will also be a host of FREE accessories for customers who make use of a Red Bin Special.

According to TelEm Group’s Sales & Marketing team, flyers are being distributed all around the island this week with all the specials on offer and telling customers how these super prizes can be won.

One of the funniest and most fun ways to win a prize will be a dip from a box of goodies from which visitors to TelEm Group’s main building can pull out any one of 100 prizes – but they must be dressed in a wacky outfit for a chance to take a dip.

Wacky Telco Friday is TelEm Group’s take on the traditional Black Friday sales on St. Maarten.

“We want to have a sales promotion but we also want to have some fun with our staff and also with our customers, who seem to appreciate the interaction, and also the attention they get when they come into the main building on Pond Island where all the action is,” said Manager, Marketing & Sales Mrs. Grisha Heyliger.

She said the serious side of the promotion is the huge discounts customers will be receiving on various TelEm Group products and services on the day, including: Huge reductions of cellphones, Specials for Seniors, a Smart Plan Special, a MiFi Special, Sim Card specials, e-billing specials and a $3.00 call credit for any transfer requests on that day.

Most popular on the day will be TelEm Group’s Door-Buster Deals, featuring Double-Top Ups, Fantastic Data deals, Beat the Clock deals, and a sweet Top-up deal to end the day.

“There will be something for everyone at this year’s Wacky Telco Friday event.

We have huge reductions on cellphones, also on accessories. There will be very special on-the-spot-offers with unbeatable deals during specific hours,” continued the Manager, Marketing and Sales.

Grisha is again urging everyone to keep their flyers close to hand and target the time of day that they will be chasing up on their own special deals. The flyers are still available at the TelEm Group main building on Pond Island and at the Simpson Bay Branch, Welfare Road and via Dominos Pizza delivery.

“We are telling everyone that the deals are only available while supplies last and within the specified times for the offers,” said the Manager Marketing & Sales.


VVD MP calls for minister to lose power to reprieve asylum seekers

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Coalition party VVD has called for ministers to be stripped of the power to give asylum-seekers facing deportation a last-minute reprieve.

VVD MP Malik Azmani said the current system puts politicians under too much pressure to override the courts, especially in high-profile cases such as that of the Armenian foster children Howick and Lili.

Junior justice minister Mark Harbers allowed the brother and sister, who have lived in the Netherlands for 10 years, to stay in September. They had gone into hiding to avoid being sent to rejoin their mother in Armenia.

Azmani told the Telegraaf that judges should have the last word to avoid ‘abritrary’ decisions. ‘There is no way of checking who is trying to exert influence,’ he said. The MP stressed that he was not criticising the approach taken by his party colleague Harbers, who used his discretionary power 59 times during his first year in office.

His predecessor, Klaas Dijkhoff, now parliamentary group leader of the VVD, issued 240 permits to rejected asylum seekers out of 780 cases that landed on his desk in two years.

However, coalition partners the Christian Democrats rejected the idea of removing the minister’s right to intervene. ‘We shouldn’t allow party politics to sully discretionary powers,’ said justice spokeswoman Madeleine van Toorenburg.

Prime minister Mark Rutte said in the wake of the Howick and Lili case that the cabinet has no plans to change the rules on amnesty for children, despite calls from opposition MPs, celebrities and aid organisations. (DutchNews)


Amnesty International, MPs call on PM to condemn pro-Piet violence

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Amnesty International, the national ombudsman and the director of the Centre for Public Order and Security have condemned the way police and local mayors dealt with the violence targeted at this weekend’s anti-Zwarte Piet demonstrations.

In particular they have criticised the decisions to stop demonstrations early or to ban them altogether because of the threat to public safety, as happened in Nijmegen, The Hague, Leeuwarden and Den Helder.

This is due to the ‘wrong signal’ sent out last year when police failed to ensure anti-Piet demonstrators could reach Dokkum to protest during the arrival of Sinterklaas, law professor and director of the public order institute Jan Brouwer, told the Volkskrant.

‘Now supporters of Zwarte Piet think that threatening with violence helps,’ Brouwer said. Amnesty International spokesman Emile Affolter and several politicians have now called on prime minister Mark Rutte to condemn the violence.

‘Rutte should make a strong statement,’ Affolter told broadcaster NOS. ‘He remains silent but saying nothing is also a signal.’ GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver has also called on Rutte to speak out.

‘What I saw this weekend was quite incredible,’ Klaver said. ‘Peaceful demonstrators were being intimidated by hooligans, with racists slogans, had things thrown at them, were physically attacked in some cases,’ he said.

‘In some towns, demonstrators had to take shelter at police stations. In other places police could not guarantee the demonstrators’ safety and banned the event altogether.’ The prime minister should now speak out to make it clear what the Netherlands stands for, he said. ‘It is time for a clear political signal against racism.’


The worst violence was in Eindhoven, where an estimated 250 football hooligans and pro-Piet activists surrounded a small group of demonstrators on Saturday, throwing eggs at them and hurling racist abuse.

In Tilburg on Sunday, police arrested 44 pro-Piet demonstrators to stop them attacking a small anti-Piet demonstration. Local mayor Theo Weterings said afterwards the police had intervened in a timely fashion to stop any trouble.

The group demonstrating against Piet ‘held a peaceful demonstration and kept to the rules we had agreed,’ he said. ‘It is a shame that another group wanted to disrupt the demonstration.’

The main Sinterklaas procession in Zaandijk passed off without any trouble, although AD reporter Cyril Rosman spotted three men waving flags associated with the neo-nazi NVU.

In Amsterdam on Sunday, 400,000 people turned out to welcome Sinterklaas, who was accompanied by 350 sooty-faced Piets. The Dutch capital has been phasing out the traditional blackface make-up over the past few years.

Two opinion polls published this weekend both show that most Dutch people still support the traditional blackface Piets but that more people are amenable to change. In particular, young people are more likely to support a shift towards sooty faces, the EenVandaag and Maurice de Hond polls show. (DutchNews)


Eritrean refugees find it difficult to adapt to life in the Netherlands

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Eritrean refugees are having a difficult time adapting to life in the Netherlands, the Netherlands Institute for Social Research SCP said in a report published on Friday.

The refugees, most of whom are fleeing from the open-ended compulsory military service in their country, are often traumatised by the long and dangerous journey they have made to the Netherlands, having faced exploitation and sexual abuse on the way, the SCP writes.

Once in the Netherlands, the wait for a permanent residency status often leads to frustration and boredom. Learning Dutch, a requisite for a permanent status, is another stumbling block, with refugees unable to choose a suitable language school.

Many of the 26 Eritreans interviewed by the SCP said they were worried about not being able to meet the three-year deadline for the ‘inburgerings exam’ which means they would have to pay back their loan and a fine on top.

The Eritrean refugees, most of whom arrived in 2015, came to the Netherlands without their partners and getting family members to join them is proving more difficult than they have been led to believe, the SCP writes.  This is putting them under even more pressure.


Contacts with officialdom in the Netherlands is often difficult because the refugees are unable to explain what they need and complain about a lack of patience, understanding and help while organisations say they are confronted with mistrust and a lack of initiative.

Most Eritreans have not been able to find a job. Professions that are familiar to them, such as baker, furniture maker or welder, are not accessible to them because they require diplomas.

According to recent figures from national statistics office CBS, 80% of Eritrean refugees in the Netherlands are unemployed. Because of the lack of Dutch language skills social contacts are usually limited to fellow Eritreans, the SCP writes. Although an important source of emotional support it also means that Eritreans are in danger of becoming ‘trapped’ in their own culture which is not conducive to integration, the SCP said.

There are some 20,000 Eritreans in the Netherlands, of whom around 75% are under the age of 30. (DutchNews)


Dutch state will appeal against climate change verdict

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The Dutch state is to ask the Supreme Court to review last month’s court of appeal ruling which ordered the government to take more action to tackle climate change.

Economic affairs minister Eric Wiebes said on Friday that he would ask the Supreme Court to examine the legal aspects of the Urgenda court case, to make sure that the appeal court had applied the law correctly in its October verdict.

The appeal court judges ordered the Dutch state to step up efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25% of their 1990 levels by 2020.

Lawyers for the state had argued that judges should have left the decision to parliament, but the appeal court said the state had a ‘duty of care’ to protect its citizens from the impact of climate change.

The original court ruling, in 2015, marked the first time a court had ruled that a national government was legally bound to follow through on promises made in international climate agreements.

On current prognosis the Netherlands is on course to reduce CO2 emissions by only 23% of 1990 levels. Potential solutions include closing coal-fired power stations sooner or reducing the speed limit to 120 km/h on motorways. (DutchNews)


Police want access to refugee fingerprints to aid crime fighting

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Dutch police are calling for easier access to the data base of fingerprints belonging to refugees and undocumented migrants in order to solve more crimes.

John Riemen, head of the national force’s biometrics centre, says that access would allow the police to catch more burglars and shoplifters, Trouw reported on Thursday.

Up to 2002, when police had full access to the data base, it provided one third of all positive matches, Riemen told the paper. The new register which came into being in 2003 contains 700,000 fingerprints as well as more personal details about seven million non-Dutch nationals, including highly-skilled migrants.

Police can only access the data base under certain conditions, and a judge has to give access. One condition is that the police suspect that a foreigner may have been involved in a crime.

‘It is frustrating not to be able to look in a database that could solve a crime,’ Riemen said. This means some categories of criminal, such as terrorist suspects who pose as refugees, remain away from the police radar, he said.


The two Liberal parties in the current coalition support the idea of giving the police greater access to the database, Trouw said. Critics, however, warn that it is both discriminatory and stigmatising.

‘By far the majority of foreigners are not guilty of any crime,’ said Inge Hidding, of the Dutch association of asylum lawyers. ‘It would be wrong to make them out to be more likely suspects.’

Last year a Dutch media investigation found that eight years since European citizens were first required to include a fingerprint scan in their passports, the technology has never been used to check a passenger crossing a border. (DutchNews)


Tasers should be standard equipment in emergencies, police say

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Electric shock weapons such as tasers should become part of the equipment used by police officers on emergency service duty, police officials have recommended to the justice ministry.

If approved by the minister, this would mean electric stun guns would be made available to all police teams which are called out on emergencies. It will take five years before the introduction because 17,000 officers need to undergo special training to use the weapons, police said on Thursday.

In June, a report on a yearlong trial by the police academy found that tasers do have ‘added value’ for the police. Since the start of the trail in February 2017, tasers have been drawn 343 times and in 62% of cases, the threat of use was enough to calm the situation down, the report states.

In February Amnesty International called for trial to be abandoned after it emerged that the devices had actually been used on suspects more than 100 times. Tasers work by firing electric charges of around 50,000 volts at a suspect from a distance, temporarily disabling them.

Police say the danger of serious or permanent injury is minimal, but experts disagree on the risk to the heart. (DutchNews)


More people are worried about a terrorist attack in NL

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – More people in the Netherlands are concerned that a major terrorist attack will take place on Dutch soil, according to the latest poll by the counter-terrorism unit NCTV.

Some 67% are now worried that an attack may happen, compared with 55% six months ago, the survey of some 800 people showed. People are also more worried about the safety of friends and family.

Four in 10 are now concerned about the security of their loved ones, compared with three in 10 in the previous survey. Nevertheless, six in 10 people said the arrest of seven men who were said to be preparing a major terrorist attack in September has not an an impact on them.

Three in 10 people said they now felt safer and just one in 10 less safe. There have only been a few, minor terror-related incidents in the Netherlands. In the most recent case, two American tourists were attacked by a 19-year-old Afghan national living in Germany at Amsterdam’s central station.

In August, a 26-year-old man was arrested at The Hague’s main railway station after placing a video on Facebook in which he appears to say he is planning to attack the parliamentary complex or on Geert Wilders. (DutchNews)


More details about ‘get tough on drinking, smoking and obesity’ plans

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – More details about the cabinet’s plans to cut smoking, drinking and obesity are emerging, ahead of the formal publication set to take place before the end of this month.

Every year, 35,000 people die in the Netherlands due to smoking, alcohol abuse and obesity and, the government says, illnesses relating to food, tobacco and alcohol abuse cost society €9bn a year.

RTL Nieuws says the plans will include a ban on smoking near schools, healthcare institutions, childcare centres, sports clubs and in playgrounds. Smoking rooms in company offices will also disappear and the cost of a packet of cigarettes will hit €10, the broadcaster says.

The AD adds that soft drinks manufacturers will have to lower the amount of sugar in their products by 30% by 2025. However, plans to make sugar-free soft drinks and bottled water cheaper, which were leaked in August, will not now go ahead, the paper says.

Nor is it certain that the price of cigarettes will go up to €10, according to the AD. The paper says leaks to the media about the plans over the past few months have led to plans being revised.

The plans are being put together by government officials, the hotel and catering industry, health professionals, the food industry, education and sports groups. The three agreements aim to reduce the number of obese people in the Netherlands, ensure no children take up smoking and slash alcohol abuse. (DutchNews)

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