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Soualiga Newsday Latest News (1828)

Community Based Dialogues for Belvedere and Billy Folly to be Re-scheduled

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – After five successful Community Based Dialogues sessions, the National Development Program process of country Sint Maarten, is continuing with its community based dialogue sessions. The Monday evening session organized for Belvedere had to be rescheduled due to the inclement weather.

Residents and stakeholders were invited to come out to the Billy Folly Community Dialogue session on Thursday, May 15, however due to unforeseen circumstances; this will be rescheduled for another date.

This micro and macro public consultation process with community stakeholders will continue until the end of June with communities, schools, the private sector, unions, non-governmental organizations, and Government. The majority of voices reflecting the diversity of the country’s society will be captured.

The districts where Community Based Dialogues took place were Simpson Bay, Cole Bay, Guana Bay, St. Peters and Dutch Quarter. 145 residents in total took part in the first round of discussions.

Upcoming dialogues will be held in Belvedere, Billy Folly, Cul de Sac, Little Bay Area, Lowlands, Madame Estate, Middle Region, Philipsburg, Point Blanche, Sucker Garden, South Reward, Oyster Pond and Zagersgut.

The persons who attend these dialogue sessions have the opportunity to engage in fruitful discussions about what affects us socially, economically, culturally, and environmentally throughout the country.

In addition, persons will be able to find solutions which will help to improve the lives of those who live in the country. The thoughts and ideas expressed in these dialogues will be captured into the National Development Plan. The contribution made to the development of this plan will hopefully make persons feel a sense of ownership for putting this document in place.

The National Development Plan is facilitated under the auspices of the project, “Building a Nation: Sint Maarten National Development Plan & Institutional Strengthening.”

The Ministry of General Affairs, Department of Interior and Kingdom Relations (BAK) are providing key support for the NDP process along with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

For further information please refer to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and/ or call 542-0897.

PHOTO CUTLINE: Residents giving their input during the Community Based Dialogue session.


Prime Minister Wescot-Williams: “We As a Country and a Community Need to Work to Combat and Mitigate the Effects of Climate Change”

MEXICO, PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten - The Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams highlighted the importance of addressing issues related to Climate Change and St. Maarten’s ability to respond to these issues.

The Prime Minister’s comments were made in the context of her recent meeting at the Association of Caribbean States Heads of State conference which she recently attended in Mexico, where Climate Change was highlighted as a top priority; “I established that we as St. Maarten need to be part of discussions regarding Climate Change and its undeniable effects on St. Maarten.

“We as a country and a community need to work together to combat and mitigating these effects and we need to place this issue central: we need to focus on this and not think that we should leave this to other generations to cope with. During the ACS conference the Nobel Prize winning physicist Mario Molina gave a presentation at the summit and underscored this issue significantly. St. Maarten as a small island needs to be conscious as well on mitigating the effects of Climate Change. St. Maarten is a Small Island Developing State and we need to realize that, in the context of Environmental Sustainability, we need to focus on mitigating the effects Climate Change will have on us.

St. Maarten now has an Energy Policy which will guide our transition to a cleaner energy and we will implement this step by step. Aruba for example has a goal in mind how they want to use sustainable energy to power their island and St. Maarten is no different and we are currently doing the same,” commented Prime Minister Wescot-Williams.


NIA performs at Chamber Gala Event

PHILPSBURG—National Institute of the Arts (NIA), which recently celebrated its first year of existence, brought movement to the Chamber of Commerce’s (CoC) 35th anniversary Gala event on Wednesday, May 7, at the Westin Dawn Beach Resort & Spa.

The gala event formed part of a series of planned events celebrating the 35 years of the CoC existence.

Co-Director of NIA, Arlene Halley said, “It was a great honor to be a part of such an event, to have a platform to showcase St. Maarten's cultural excellence in the arts. As an institution, we offer a wide array of art forms, reflecting the cultural diversity and artistic excellence of our island, for both children and adults to immerse themselves in.”

NIA’s dancers presented two specially choreographed pieces by NIA instructors Peggy Oulerich and EoIia “Bibi” Ada, along with Co-Directors Arlene HaIIey and CIara Reyes, which displayed their artistic versatility and style. The music for these numbers was edited by Hans Minnaert.

Reyes said that the development of the pieces presented at the CoC event was a great experience, because it entailed four choreographers coming together to create what they feel are signature pieces for NIA.The concept for the choreography was born after receiving an invitation to perform at the 45th anniversary of St. Maarten Carnival’s Youth Extravaganza.

“Our presentation was well received and our students were extremely proud of themselves. Showcases such as this demonstrate to them that their hard work during classes and rehearsals pay off. The first piece was a folkloric number, which reflected the dances of old time St. Maarten, while the second piece was a modern, sophisticated piece which was much more eclectic and incorporated contemporary movements and African and Folk styles,” stated Clara Reyes, Co-Director of NIA.

The students, management and staff of NIA congratulate the Chamber of Commerce on their 35th year of service to St. Maarten.


Kingdom Council of Ministers names Chief Public Prosecutor for Bonaire, Statia and Saba

CARIBBEAN NETHERLANDS – The Kingdom Council of Ministers in The Hague, the Netherlands, on Friday, May 9 has appointed Henry J.E. Hambeukers as Chief Public Prosecutor  as of July 1, 2014.  The nomination was made by Dutch Minister of Security and Justice Opstelten.  Hambeukers was appointed public prosecutor serving in Caribbean Netherlands since August 1, 2013.


Sint Eustatius executive council needs to ensure that budget remains balanced

ORANJESTAD, Sint Eustatius – Achieving a balanced budget in 2014 will be a challenge, according to Age Bakker, chairman to the board of Financial Supervision (College financieel toezicht Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba – Cft). It will be important for the executive council to take timely measures, if revenues turn out to be lower than expected, or in case expenses show an escalation. Both councils confirmed that based on their respective responsibilities they will continue to intensify efforts to furthering the successes achieved in financial management in recent years.

On Monday, May 5th the Cft visited Sint Eustatius and met with the executive council and the island council. During the visit of the board to Sint Eustatius, Mr. Hyden Gittens was introduced as a new board member of the Cft. He is the successor of Mr. Max Pandt, who was a much appreciated member of the Cft since the onset of financial supervision. Both councils expressed their appreciation with the recent nomination of Mr. Gittens and expressed confidence in continuing the good communications between the government and the Cft.

Execution of the budget

As recent reports show indications of short falls in revenue compared to budget projections, the Cft admonished Sint Eustatius to be proactive in taking measures, so as to avoid a deficit position at the end of 2014. In this way recent improvements achieved in the Island’s financial management can be sustained. In the discussions between the Cft and the executive council it transpired that due to some disappointing developments in local revenue collection, as well as unforeseen increases in personnel costs, including overtime payment, the achievement of a balanced budget in 2014 will be a challenge. The executive council is fully aware of the situation and stands ready to take timely corrective measures if needed.

The executive council, in collaboration with the finance department is in the process of finalizing the 1st quarter reporting for 2014, and will submit this, along with any request from budget amendments for evaluation by the Cft. The Cft will be able to react in more detail after receiving the budget amendment and the report of the first quarter of 2014. During the meeting with the island council, parties also agreed to improve the timely distribution of the quarterly financial reports among all members of the council.

Further strengthening of financial management needed

In order to improve the monitoring of the budget execution and enable the administration to take timely action, the information flows from the financial administration need to be improved. The Cft will closely monitor the progress of Sint Eustatius to strengthen its financial management.


Age Bakker (Cft): ‘Careful monitoring is needed to keep the budget 2014 balanced’

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten - The execution of the 2014 budget is well on its way, according to the Board of financial supervision (College financieel toezicht - Cft) but careful monitoring is needed. Moreover, the multi-year estimates are under pressure due to the deficits over the period 2010-2013 that need to be compensated no later than 2015. Finally, the payment arrears to the APS and SZV require Government’s immediate attention.

The Board visited Sint Maarten on May 6th, which was the third visit to the Wescott-Williams III administration. Meetings were held with the acting Governor, the Minister of Finance, the Council of Ministers and the financial committee of Parliament. Main topics of discussion were the execution of the 2014 budget, sustainability in public borrowing as well as public financial management.

2014 budget execution

The first three months of 2014 show that the budget 2014 was realistic on the revenue side. So far, revenue is up 3 million compared to the current budget. However, the fiscal year 2013 was closed with an ANG 20 million deficit that needs to be compensated no later than in 2015. Furthermore the plans to cut expenditures on personnel and healthcare have not resulted in any draft legislation or decision making by the Council of ministers, which puts severe pressure on the budget 2015. Both healthcare and personnel expenses show a significant increase and the personnel expenses already consume 45% of the budget. ‘Close monitoring of revenues and expenses is necessary to ensure that the year 2014 ends with a balanced outcome’, states Cft Chairman Age Bakker.

Borrowing for capital investments

During the first quarter of 2014, the Cft has approved three loans that total ANG 143,5 million of which ANG 60 million, or 3% of GDP, is for new capital expenditure projects. A further ANG 43,5 million was financed for capital expenditures in 2011 and 2012 which will be used to strengthen the reserves and liquidity position. Finally, an ANG 40 million loan was approved to refinance and finalize the new Government building. Sint Maarten has indicated that it wants to borrow an additional ANG 30 million to purchase the Emilio Wilson Estate. Cft is awaiting the budget amendment that, after adoption by Parliament, will be sent to the Cft for its advice. The Cft and the minister of Finance will further discuss the possibilities to sustain the current healthy debt ratio.

Public financial management

The Cft will continue to focus on the improvement of public financial management, which is another important pillar of the Kingdom Law of financial supervision. In particular, it was discussed with Government that the payment arrears to the APS and SZV will need to be cleared before the budget 2015 is presented to Parliament.


Construction of New FBO Facility to Start Soon at SXM Airport

SIMPSON BAY, St. Maarten (Tuesday, May 6, 2014)—With the demolition works of the Fire Department building at the Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) now completed, a new phase has been reached, which will facilitate the start of the construction of a new, state of the art Fixed Base Operations (FBO) facility at the same location.

The new FBO facility is urgently needed since, as noted by Michel Hyman, SXM’s Operations Manager, “every year there is an increase in requests to park private jets at SXM ... unfortunately due to limited space, we can only accommodate so much and no more.” He said the limited space has forced SXM “to be more creative, of course, without compromising safety and security, which are the main pillars of our operations.”

SXM is a leader in General Aviation in the Caribbean and to continue to grow its market share, it has decided to expand its current FBO facilities with the construction of an ultra-modern building and more parking space.

This constitutes an integral part of the Capital Improvement Program of SXM, which includes among other projects, the rehabilitation of the runway, and the relocation and construction of various facilities to improve the efficiency of the Airport and to provide for future growth.

A St. Maarten company won the bid to carry out the demolition of the Government Fire station. The company began work on March 28, 2014 and concluded its task by April 8. The next step is the soil investigation, which will be carried out for the new FBO building. This project falls within the scope of the Capital Improvement Program of SXM being financed by part of the loan obtained on the international financial market toward the end of 2012.

Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams had signed an agreement on behalf of government with the Princess Juliana International Airport operating company (PJIAE) for the relocation of the Fire Department. The signing ceremony was held in February at the Public Fire Department in Cay Hill.

At the time, the Prime Minister, who described the agreement as “beneficial to all parties” had recalled how it was one year ago that SXM had submitted the letter requesting the transfer of the Public Fire Department at the airside of the airport. The decree authorizing the PM to sign this relocation and use agreement with SXM became effective only on February 4, 2014.

Mrs. Wescot-Williams said Government had long intended to have a substation for the public fire department “over the hill” which she said is “extremely important for the services of the Fire Department.”

The agreement allowed SXM to demolish the existing airside public fire department building in order to start work on the construction of its new FBO facility.

SXM will build a new facility, which will house on the airside the SXM Fire Station and on the landside a substation for the Public Fire Station. Government will have the right of use of this substation free of charge.

The substation will also be equipped to house St. Maarten’s ambulance as per the request of the Hon. Minister of Health, Cornelius de Weever. Minister de Weever had requested an ambulance outpost in the Simpson Bay area in order to provide timely responses formedical emergencies to all the people, and visitors, in the Cole Bay, Simpson Bay, Airport, Maho, Mullet Bay and Cupe Coy areas.

Photo caption1: An artist’s impression of the new, state-of-the-art FBO building. (SXM photo)


Port working with TNO to study Alternative Energy Sector Potential and Opportunities for St. Maarten

POINT BLANCHE, St. Maarten – Port of St. Maarten – The St. Maarten Harbour Group of Companies is interested in collaborating with utility company NV GEBE and other stakeholders with respect to tapping into alternative energy in a national effort towards meeting the sustainable energy needs of the country.

The St. Maarten Harbour Group of Companies is already working with the Dutch Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO).  TNO connects people and knowledge to create innovations that boost the sustainable competitive strength of industry and well-being of society.

TNO was contracted to carry out a Fuel Strategy Plan for the country.  Phase 1 is an assessment of the current fuel landscape and an overview of regional developments that will impact future fuel demand.  Phase 2 entails the development of a short-medium-long-term fuel strategy for the period five to 15-years.

The relationship with TNO dates back to 2013 after the visit of Dutch Prime Minister Hon. Mark Rutte who toured the Port of St. Maarten in July 2013 along with a delegation of Dutch business executives.  The Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs also supports the assistance being rendered to the port by TNO.

The collaboration envisioned by Harbour Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mark Mingo would bring about significant changes in the country’s energy sector with the benefits going towards the community.

“Collaboration entails cutting down on un-necessary pre-studies; it also means moving together in one direction using our resources in an efficient and effective manner.  Various countries in the region are looking at the potential and opportunities that the alternative energy sector has.

“At the port we carefully monitor and study trends in the maritime sector.  The maritime industry is responding to call to adopt environmentally-friendly solutions for fuel; Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) has the potential to be a cleaner alternative to marine diesel. 

“Like any professional company, the harbour group continue to keep a keen eye on market trends.  We need to study what is coming ahead so we can continue to chart our future moving forward as a port and as an industry.   


“The Port of St. Maarten is an important regional player in fuel distribution. New developments such as a shift from heavy fuel oil to LNG for shipping and power production are expected to have impacts on future needs. In addition, increased production of renewable energy such as from wind, solar and possibly geo-thermal could change fuel demands.

“Cruise lines are also looking into this area.  As a country we have to look at trends and developments in the aforementioned area in order to be able to offer as a country services to clients that would benefit the continued strategic national sustainable development of the country in securing our energy future,” Mingo said on Sunday.

Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) also has a long-term future where propane’s considerable virtues as a transportation fuel will finally be more widely recognized with respect to a savings for consumers and creating a cleaner environment. 

TNO is an independent research organization whose expertise and research make an important contribution to the competiveness of companies and organizations, to the economy and the quality of society as a whole.

TNO’s unique position is attributable to its versatility and capacity to integrate this knowledge.

TNO develops knowledge not for its own sake but for practical application, to create new products that make life more pleasant and valuable and help companies innovate, and to find creative answers to the questions posed by society.

TNO works with a variety of entities, governments, small and medium size businesses, large companies, service providers, and the non-governmental organization sector.


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