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Soualiga Newsday Latest News (1828)

Port de Plaisance readying itself for Mega/Super Yacht arrivals. Johnson says: ‘industry achieved much success’

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - The Marine industry has its challenges but the successes that the St. Maarten Marine industry has achieved over the years are worth celebrating and more importantly worth the full support of government, said Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Traffic & Telecommunication (TEATT), Stuart Johnson.

His statement was made following a recent visit to Yacht Club Port de Plaisance which is operated by Marine Management / Jeff Boyd, one of the pioneers of the region in the Marine. Boyd who designed Isle Del Sol, Yacht Club Port de Plaisance and several others in other Countries, including St. Kitts took Minister Johnson on a tour of the facilities.

As part of the Governing Program 2018 – 2022 for the St. Maarten United Christian Democratic Coalition, Johnson has been given the responsibility to ensure that the disaster management component of the Marine Trade Industry is revised. Johnson further commented that he is looking forward to working with the industry partners to strengthen the maritime facilities and services.

“The Mega Yacht industry has, and continues to play a vital role in providing St. Maarten with a unique quality of visitors and these visitor arrivals are crucial to our government’s promise of providing a sustainable living for the people. Whenever there are super yachts docked at the various marinas, the economic activities that are generated as a direct result of their spending power are exponential as it goes beyond, car rentals, and restaurants,” said Johnson. This is why I am committed through my Ministry to do whatever is necessary to get the industry back on track in a big way,” said Johnson.

Boyd explained the extensive damage the Dock sustained in 2017 when hurricane Irma devastated St. Maarten, resulting in a complete redesign, repair and some expansion work to accommodate several of the regular Mega Yachts that visit our island each year. Boyd told Johnson, “I look forward to continuing the working relationship with you and appreciate your keen understanding of the importance of a robust marine industry to the future economic development of St Maarten which will be extremely refreshing.”

Minister Johnson said that the visit was crucial as his ministry is focusing over the next few weeks on ways to provide adequate support to the local partners in the Marine Industry. Johnson will be travelling to Antigua shortly to attend the Antigua Charter Yacht Show where he is expected to host captains and crew operators of Super Yachts from around the world.

The event is being organised by Yacht Club Port de Plaisance as “a night dedicated to celebrating all that St. Maarten now has to offer.” During the event Minister Johnson will update guests on St. Maarten’s recovery efforts post-Irma and on the efforts made by the Government of St. Maarten to restore its longstanding status as the Caribbean’s primary superyacht hub. Minister Johnson will mention new marina facilities, lowered crime rates and a cleaner island based on a dynamic approach by the Ministry of TEATT in collaboration with local environmental groups to “ensure proper safeguards are in place for the preservation of marinas and marine life.”

Johnson said Boyd and Yacht Club Port de Plaisance like many others were “excellent” marine partners. He commended Boyd on especially his initiative to restore the Marker Buoys that were destroyed by the hurricane and his swift call to action to prepare for the arrival of the new mega and superyacht season.

Mr. Boyd thanked Minister Johnson for his words of encouragement, but made it clear, that the management and staff of the marina led by Operations Director, Jesse Peterson, was where the real gratitude should be placed.  “They never lost focus and they never gave up” A dock is basically concrete and bollards, but a Marina / Yacht Club is really about the people responsible for the experience our guests receive.  Our team is one of the best and I am truly blessed to have them with me. Work is presently being done by predominantly local companies to restore the entire Yacht Facilities such as the bathrooms and offices which were damaged or completely destroyed by the hurricane.  However, he said that the work is near completion.

Mr. Boyd will also be travelling to Antigua on Saturday and will be taking one of the local DJ’s, Bossman from Soggy Dollar to entertain the Captains and crew members when they host the Dinner and Information event.

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US Board flabbergasted. Minister Geerlings calls for working together

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The board of the United St. Maarten (US) party on Wednesday called Minister of Finance Perry Geerlings a hypocrite with selective amnesia for his disingenuous performance during the Council of Ministers Press Briefing on Wednesday morning.  The also advised the Minister to resign if he can’t do the job.

The US board said it was flabbergasted that Geerlings “of all people”, would cry a river and state that opposition members of Parliament are only busy with “the negative” and are not being positive about the development and reconstruction of the country. Geerlings also stated that “we are our biggest enemy” and “we have to stop fighting each other and need to work together”. 

“This is very rich coming from a Minister who, during his time in Parliament, was the foremost attack dog of former Prime Minister William Marlin and the former government after the devastation of hurricane Irma when he and his cohorts were busy scheming to tear government down. Who is this “we” the Minister is referring to? Because he made it clear in the Netherlands recently that he stood alone, not even with his own party leader,” the board said.

“The Minister has the gall to say that St. Maarten is in an emergency situation and the opposition need to get in line? Was St. Maarten not in an emergency situation in late 2017? Were there not calls to do it together? But this Minister in particular when he was an MP called the former Prime Minister all sorts of names and connived his way towards helping in the fall of government. If ever there was a time when we needed to stop and stand together, it was then,” the US board said.

The board added that the present government sold St. Maarten a 6 for a 9 and reality has since set it when it comes to governing. The opposition MP’s, the US board stressed, is doing their job by asking questions and holding Ministers (the government) accountable. The board said that the Minister is acting as if the opposition is making stuff up. “Pertinent questions are being asked in Parliament for once. It is the Minister and his colleague Minister who have to now provide the information to the people of St. Maarten.”

“The opposition MP’s represent the people, they are elected. And as such their right and their job is to get answers about issues in the country. Whether is 3 questions or 300 questions. Whether is once a week or every day of the week,” the board said.

It added that if Geerlings and the rest of the council of Ministers cannot do the job and cannot keep the public adequately apprised instead of hiding and spinning, then he should resign. “The Minister said he doesn’t have the time to answer MP’s because he is getting paid to do a job. Well so are the MP’s and part of your job description is to be accountable to Parliament who in turn is accountable to the people of St. Maarten.”

“Lamenting in a press briefing over MP’s doing their jobs, when you did the same and worse as an MP yourself, when you didn’t care about the people of St. Maarten and their suffering after Irma, when you only cared about seizing power, is hypocritical to the highest order. Do your job,” the board concluded.

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Police request assistance from community in connection with shooting in Cay Hill

CAY HILL - On Sunday November 18th, 2018 a shooting incident took place near a hotel in the district of Cay Hill.

This shooting incident is being investigated by the Detective Department of the Police Force of Sint Maarten. To this date no suspects have been arrested, but the investigation will soon lead to the arrest of a possible suspect(s) involved. However, detectives are still looking for witnesses to assist with this investigation.

Person(s) with any additional information which will lead to the arrest(s) can call the Detective Department at +1721-5422222 ext. 208/211. Person(s) who wish to remain anonymous can contact the tip line at 9300. (Sint Maarten Police Force)

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Youth Town Hall Meeting this Friday: Youth Speak out on School Violence

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - On Friday December 6, 2018, the Sint Maarten Youth Parliament in collaboration with the Student Support Services Division of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth & Sport, will hold a Youth Town Hall Meeting.

The event takes place at the University of St. Martin from 6 to 8 pm and is a youth-only meeting.

The meeting will address the growing incidences of fights involving students, at or near our schools. However, this will be a solution-focused discussion. The meeting will be led by members of the Sint Maarten Youth Parliament, who will guide the discussion.

It is the aim of the organizers that participating youth will offer practical ways to curb violence in our schools. It is time to reframe the problem from ‘who is to blame’, to ‘how can we make a change.’

The Sint Maarten Youth Parliament extends an open invitation to all youth on St. Maarten to participate in this event.

Whether you have been bullied in school, attacked on the bus, tried to stop a fight, posted fight videos, or the one to start the fight, this invitation is for all youth. When we work together, we can use our differences to effect change.

youth town hall

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Nature Foundation Managing Director Meets Princess Beatrix, Discusses Conservation Issues

SINT MAARTEN/BONAIRE - The Managing Director of the Sint Maarten Nature Foundation Tadzio Bervoets attended the fiftieth anniversary of the Bonaire National Parks Foundation STINAPA.

The Guest of honor of the commemoration was Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands, Royal Patron of the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance, the Network Organization of Nature Parks in the Dutch Caribbean, of which Bervoets was both Vice and Acting Chair.

Bervoets was a panel member during the DCNA Symposium of Environment and Economics in which the importance of the Environment in economic development was highlighted.

Bervoets also had the opportunity to update Princess Beatrix on the environmental recovery of Sint Maarten after Hurricane Irma and the status of environmental conservation on Sint Maarten.

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TelEm Group Supervisory Board, management, team up for Corporate Governance training

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - The Supervisory Board of Directors (SBOD), St. Maarten Telecommunication Holding Company N.V. (SMTHC NV) and TelEm Group Management are continuing to take steps toward understanding each other’s respective roles and responsibilities under the guidance of Corporate Governance compliance expert Prof. Frank Kunneman, Managing Partner of VanEpps Kunneman VanDorne.

During the training, Prof. Kunneman made use of actual case studies to bring home various Corporate Governance compliance principles, noting how Board and Management can unintentionally misinterpret their respective roles, with both convinced that each are acting in the best interest of the entity they serve.

An introductory Corporate Governance compliance training was provided to the TelEm Group management team of CEO, Mr. Kendall Dupersoy, and the Supervisory Board of Directors led by Chairman, Mr. John A. Richardson, in May this year in a three-day session. This was followed up last week with a two-day session including live examples of Corporate Governance failure in action.

Mr. Richardson said he was very pleased that two new members of the SBOD, Attorney Ms. Dagmar Daal, and businessman Mr. Earl Wyatt could join their new board colleagues in the Corporate Governance compliance sessions so that they too can fully understand their roles as new SBOD members.

“With the high level of training that Prof. Kunneman gives, a solid foundation is being laid to address issues that we as a board and management have to deal with on a daily basis, including issues such as integrity, ethics, transparency and accountability through a better understanding of the law, Book 2 Civil Code of St. Maarten, the Corporate Governance Ordinance and the Articles of Incorporation of the relevant government-owned company,” said Mr. Richardson.

He said the training is geared towards understanding of the role of Management and that of the Supervisory Board of Directors, legally speaking, but it also addresses the many layers of what led to court cases in Curacao, Aruba, Bonaire and St. Maarten with situations that took place on these islands being addressed and expounded upon.

“Like in all walks of life the legislation follows the reality/developments and in these cases it is no different, or the law was there but there was a great lack of compliance. For some time now our way of life as we know it has come under extreme scrutiny. This is evident from the many court cases that are ongoing or have culminated in verdicts. From Mr. Kunneman we have learned that there is however a silver lining coming through,” said the SBOD Chairman.

He said stakeholders should be aware that the Supervisory Board of TelEm Group and the Management are taking their Corporate Governance compliance responsibilities very seriously and that management and board continue to undertake efforts to be corporate responsible.

TelEm Group CEO Mr. Dupersoy took the opportunity on behalf of management also to welcome the training of Professor Kunneman, noting that the sessions were very interactive and served as a timely reminder to both board and management of their respective roles in the company’s interest.

As a company we have been very proud of our high record of 95 to 98% Corporate Governance Compliance and with training such as this, at the level it was given, we are showing that we intend to maintain that high standard,” said Mr. Dupersoy.

telem ins1

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Children’s author Morales attends and participates in Siman Ban Lesa Book Week

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) – It is with great pleasure, that I have participated in the children book week in Curacao, said Children’s Book Author Loekie Morales. “I was invited to the ‘Siman Ban Lesa’ as the only children’s book author from Sint Maarten by the Biblioteka Nashonal Kòrsou (BNK).

“The “Siman di Ban Lesa” is a yearly event of their national READING program. It all happened during the week of 19 November to 23 November, where authors and artists visit primary schools to read, act and teach children the arts in a child friendly way.

“Morales has visited 9 schools to tell stories and act together with the children her ‘Mina Marina’ story to keep our oceans, rivers, ponds and all waters in our environment clean. ‘I have enjoyed the story with approximately 500 students from, especially the target groups of age 7 to 13 years old, or Groups 4 – 5, 7 – 8.

“The theme this year was ‘Friendship’ or AMISTAT, and with the characters Mina Marina (the exotic Caribbean mermaid), Bola (the green turtle) and Perucho (the Indian merman) it felt great to tackle the theme on several levels.

“The schools were well prepared when receiving my visit and the children were very enthusiastic and interested to participate actively in showing kindness, compassion, understanding and more to show friendship.

“All teachers showed that it is a great experience for the students to encounter LIVE the authors of the books they have been reading during the year. They are eager to experience the author and a life performance of her work.

“The children book week was closed of with a book signing ceremony at Book store Boekhandel Mensing Caminada, where Morales was interviewed by VIGILANTE, which has broadcasted the interview on their TV and radio channel,” Morales said in a Sunday statement.

‘I am thankful and consider it a privilege to over and over again, be one of the author-participants to promote reading in schools’, Loekie Morales, author of nine children books with Caribbean based stories, said.

loekie optreden Menging bookstore nov 2018

Loekie Morales showing some of her books.

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Landfill catches fire on Saturday night

POND ISLAND - On Saturday evening the Emergency Dispatch received several calls informing them that the Dump on the Landfill was once again fire.

The Fire department and Department of VROMI were informed of the situation. The fire in the meantime had grown quite large and posed a danger to community living in Philipsburg and the surrounding areas.

The Police Department is informing the public that lives downwind of this fire to take all measures necessary to avoid the inhalation of this very toxic smoke. (Sint Maarten Police Force)

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STATIA PARENTS & AFTER SCHOOL PROFESSIONALS EMBRACE CHILD SAFETY COURSE BY TPI

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - “Expertise Center for Education Care (ECE) has taken an active initiative to educate Parents & Afterschool Professionals on Child Safety. The course was held on November 27 & 28th, 2018 at the Lion’s Den in St. Eustatius for Parents and Afterschool Professionals. The globally accredited course was facilitated by Dr. Natasha Gittens, President & CEO of Training Professional International Firm.

Safety Awareness First, (SAF), is a program designed to foster awareness about student safety within the Sint Eustatius community at large. SAF is a program that introduces six target audiences: Golden Rock School, Seventh Day Adventist School, Bethel Methodist School, Gov de Graaff School, Daughters of the King Foundation, Mega D Youth Foundation and the Buzzy Bee Daycare with a structured accredited 1 - 2 hours course and discussions.

The SAF program objectives: Educate students on how to discuss safety concerns, help adults have a meaningful discussion with children about the things that make them feel safe or unsafe at school and home, train education professionals on how to maintain a safe school environment, inform adults on how to utilize an assessment, conduct exploratory questioning and initiate discussions to keep students safe and foster positive conversations regarding safety issues, and educate the community at large on how to support student’s with safety awareness.

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Independence, BUT

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) – Dr. Rhoda Arrindell says: As a St. Martiner since 1966, a University of St. Martin lecturer since 1989, and a member of the Independence for St. Martin Foundation since 1994, I have talked with hundreds of students, lectured at countless conferences, and sat in countless more meetings regarding the topic of independence. I dare say that with few exceptions, people in St. Martin acknowledge that independence is the only way for our people to realize our full potential, and for St. Martin to take its rightful place on the regional stage. However, this acknowledgement of “independence, yes” is often followed by a “BUT” statement, or what I would like to think of as the “But Uncertainty Too” statement.

Past BUT statements have included “we’re too small” and “we don’t have anything to survive on.” Over the years, as our people have become better informed, these statements have disappeared and have been replaced today by statements expressing fear related to losing the Dutch passport and others such as “not with these politicians.” What I have concluded over the years is that even if people were assured that they could have multiple nationalities in an independent St. Martin, or if the Christian Council were to replace the entire cadre of current politicians, there would still be those who fear Independence. This may be natural.  

What is not natural, though, is to choose to have another in charge of your destiny—as a person or nation—making decisions on your behalf, not in your interest, and often without your voluntary consent. This is not natural to any other species in the animal kingdom nor to other peoples on planet earth, many dying in defense of their inalienable right to self-governance. Likewise, there is no evidence in history of a colonizing force ever exercising control purely in the interest of the colonized people.

It is natural for people to fear the unknown when they cannot foresee the outcome, and change is risky. However, the “Independence, BUT” statement speaks to a bigger issue: the aftereffect of colonization. When a dominant group, which perceives itself as superior, is able to convince another, subordinate group of this latter group’s inferiority, and the subordinate group then internalizes this belief and behaves accordingly, the results are detrimental to the subordinate group. Frantz Fanon, the Martiniquan author of Black Skin, White Masks, hit the nail on the head in his psychoanalysis when he wrote that “The oppressed will always believe the worst about themselves.” This is how colonization works because a colonized mind will never be able to see its own potential as it has internalized its inferiority after centuries of colonization.

Independence is about decolonization of the mind. While some will argue that they are no longer enslaved or that no one can really control their minds because they have freedom of choice today, it is their underestimation of how colonization works that keeps them from taking that extra step toward Independence.

Marcus Garvey wrote in 1937, “We are going to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery because whilst others might free the body, none but ourselves can free the mind.” This is a slogan that many repeat conveniently at times like Emancipation Day observances or as an excuse to not act. However, Emancipation of the mind is not a once-in-a-while thing. Emancipation is inextricably linked to Independence, and it is an ongoing process, which starts with Self. The truly emancipated mind knows no “buts.”                   

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