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Contractors and builders advised to have plans in place to have building sites storm-ready

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – The rebuilding of Sint Maarten is underway post hurricane Irma. There is a lot of construction activities taking place around the country.

Construction materials can be found around building sites as well as old zinc, wood that has been discarded from the house or business under construction.

Contractors and builders are requested by the Fire Department/Office of Disaster Management (ODM) to have a plan in place to prepare and secure their building sites in the event of a storm/hurricane threat to the country.

These building sites must be storm-ready within a 48-hour period before the arrival of a storm/hurricane.

Contractors and home builders during severe weather are responsible for securing building sites for the protection of the public, property and surrounding areas.

Materials such as plywood, shingles, zinc, and other construction materials could become flying missiles capable of impaling zinc roofs, windows or anything in its way.  

Construction debris can cause severe damage to property and lead to possible loss of life. With building activity taking place on the island, every construction site supervisor and/or foreman is advised to have a plan in place with respect to what action they will be taking at their building site whether it’s a small, medium or large house, or business.

A tropical storm system could form during any part of the hurricane season and not necessarily during the peak months from mid-August to mid-October. The country already had the experience of Beryl that formed early July.

As a rule, all building sites should be kept organized and clean to a certain degree. Arrange timely pick up of trash (discarded old zinc, wood etc.) dumpsters, and only keep materials on site you will utilize at any given week especially bearing in mind that we are in the hurricane season and keep construction equipment secure.

All businesses should also see to it that their premises are kept clean of any debris as part of a preventative approach.

Any planned supply deliveries should be postponed if there is a storm/hurricane threat to the island within a 48-hour period.

When a tropical storm or hurricane watch is issued 48-hours before a system is forecast to hit, remove all scaffolding, and remove, or safely secure, all building materials and equipment.

Sub-contractors should also be alerted to their responsibilities as well with respect to securing or removing their materials and equipment.

Stop job processes that will likely become damaged by the storm/hurricane, such as window installations, house wrap, or landscaping. Complete those tasks that will likely prevent damage, such as concrete work, closing in a house, or filling in foundation excavations.  

Follow through with a quick inspection of your building site once a tropical storm/hurricane watch has been issued for the country. Do not wait until the last minute to inspect your job site, as you may need that time to go home and secure your own family dwelling. Employees will need time to do the same.

Once the storm/hurricane is over and the All Clear has been given by Emergency Operations Center (EOC) headed by the Prime Minister of Sint Maarten, you may return to the building site for damage assessment and inspection.

Remember, to have your building site storm-ready in the event of a storm/hurricane strike.

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Acting Prime Minister Geerlings receives courtesy call from Canadian High Commissioner

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - The High Commissioner of Canada Marie Legault paid a courtesy visit to the Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Finance for St. Maarten Perry Geerlings today July 18, during which the two discussed several matters of mutual interests for both countries.

According to a press statement issued by the Ministry of Finance, the Acting Prime Minister and high Commissioner Legault spoke at length about the redevelopment of St. Maarten since it was devastated by hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017.

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Prime Minister Romeo Marlin receives a courtesy visit from newly appointed Préfète Sylvie Feucher

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - On Friday July 13th, Prime Minister the Honorable Leona Romeo Marlin received a courtesy visit at her cabinet in the Government Administration Building from the newly appointed Préfète Sylvie Feucher.

Discussions with the Prime Minister and the Préfète Sylvie Feucher centered around preparations for the Hurricane Season, EU funding of joint projects and building on the working relationship between the government administrations in Philipsburg and Marigot. 

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“It is a jewel” – Schoolboy in Wartime reviewed in Netherlands newspaper

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - With the music of Betty V’s Hold on and Neville York’s Sweet Salt playing in the background, about 75 book party guests were treated here at the Parish Hall to an evening (7.7.18) of lively conversation, refreshments, autographs for their books, and Gerard van Veen reading passages from his World War II title Schoolboy in Wartime – Memories of My Early Years.

The weekend affair was followed on Monday (7.9.18) by a book review from Gerard van Engelen in an Alkmaar newspaper calling Schoolboy in Wartime “a jewel.”

Published in St. Martin by HNP, the new book recounts dramatic and dangerous experiences of the writer’s family and of his own childhood in Alkmaar during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. 

Schoolboy in Wartime is available at Van Dorp, Arnia’s, and internationally at SPDbooks bit.ly/2uq6vlS.

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Food wholesalers and warehouse depots requested to be storm ready

SINT MAARTEN (CAY HILL), (DCOMM) – Food wholesalers and warehouse depots are requested to have their facilities storm/hurricane ready by having a plan in place to prepare and secure their properties in the event of a storm/hurricane threat, the Office of Disaster Management said on Tuesday. 

Every effort must be made to be prepared to take timely action in clearing the surroundings of storage areas of loose pallets and other materials in the event of a weather-related threat. 

Every business has a role to play in being storm ready for the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season.  Tropical Storm Beryl was an exercise for businesses and homeowners to see if they are storm ready for the season, ODM said on Tuesday.

The passing of Beryl allowed business owners and households to review their hurricane preparation plans and to adjust and address any weaknesses in those plans.

The primary objective is the protection of people first and foremost, property and surrounding residential areas second. This ODM message comes less than two weeks before the start – mid-August - of the peak part of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season.

Materials such as plywood, shipping pallets, food pallets, and pieces of metal used to secure pallet shipments, can easily become flying missiles capable of impaling brick or wooden walls, zink roofs or anything in its way. 

It is the responsibility of the business owner to have plans in place to remove any materials and/or have them properly secured on the property where their business is located within a short period of time in the event of a storm/hurricane threat to the country.  

When a tropical storm or hurricane watch is issued 48-hours before a system is forecasted to hit the country, businesses should activate their business resilience hurricane preparedness plans which should also include the aforementioned.

Remember, be storm ready!

pallets

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Minister Plenipotentiary Wuite pays courtesy visit to Prime Minister Rutte

SINT MAARTEN/THE HAGUE, (DCOMM) – On Monday July 16 the Minister Plenipotentiary, Jorien Wuite, accompanied by staff member Kelly Busby, paid a courtesy visit to Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, where she was cordially received at the famous Torentje” at the Binnenhof in The Hague.

After exchanging words of welcome, their familiarity with the city and updates on the current state of affairs pertaining to the plans of the government in reference to the recovery process, Prime Minister Rutte informed Minister Plenipotentiary Wuite of the particular governance and his broad based team of Ministers, Portfolio Ministers and State secretaries.

The Prime Minister, who will be leading a delegation of the business community in the Netherlands on a trade mission to Curacao and Aruba early next year, informed the Minister of the joint mission and addressed the subject of collaboration on economic endeavors, where he mentioned being willing to do the same for Sint Maarten once such a mission was organized.

He went on to advise on how to go about such a mission. Another topic of interest was the obvious establishment of closer working ties between Sint Maarten and the islands of Saba and St. Eustatius. This he believes would benefit all three islands greatly on both social and economic levels.  

Economic recovery, growth and diversification, a positive investment climate, and good governance, all in line with the Governing Program “Building a Sustainable Sint Maarten” presented by the Romeo-Marlin II government, will be a priority in the initiatives to foster strong and positive ties in the Kingdom.

In this regard, Wuite emphasizes possibilities on the stimulation and enhancing of creative industries on the island. To strengthen this point, the Minister presented works of art produced by local artists Ruby Bute and Tess Verhey, as a token of appreciation to Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

Here the Minister eluded to the cooperation in this sector with artisans of the municipality of Apeldoorn, whom together with the Cabinet of the Minister Plenipotentiary have embarked on a yearlong plan, where artists from both sides of the Atlantic will be actively participating in various forms of exhibitions and auctions of their artwork.

This allows the general public the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the various art forms during the showcasing period. Artists from Sint Maarten will also be invited to actively participate.

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Ombudsman presents 2017 Year Report "Gearing Towards Excellence" to the Prime Minister. Presentation to be made to COM & SGs

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - On Friday July 13th, Ombudsman Nilda Arduin presented the 2017 Ombudsman Year Report to Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin at the Government Building.

Under the theme “Gearing towards Excellence” - the report highlights the Ombudsman’s focus on the relief, recovery and rebuilding needs of the community since the passing of Hurricane Irma.

As a result, among others two systemic investigations have been launched into the country’s preparedness to deal with Disaster management, and the operations of the Rent Tribunal.

Upon invitation of the Prime Minister, a presentation by the Ombudsman for the Council of Ministers (COM) and Secretary General’s (SGs) will follow in the near future.

Copies of the annual Year Report for the Council of Ministers and Secretary Generals will be distributed soon.

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Council of Ministers attend annual Bastille Day Celebration

ST. MARTIN (MARIGOT) - On Saturday July 14th, The Council of Ministers including Prime Minister Leona Romeo Marlin and the Acting Governor His Excellency Reynold Groeneveldt attended the annual Bastille Day Celebrations on French St. Martin.

The celebrations included an Ecumenical Church Service at the Marigot Catholic Church, official parade of uniformed troupes, Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Collectivity Memorial Monument and concluded with the official speeches and toast.

Bastille Day is a holiday that celebrates the French National Day, marking the anniversary of the storming of Bastille on 14 July 1789, a key turning point during the French Revolution.

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Three potential storms/hurricanes between mid-August and mid-October between NE Caribbean and U.S.

SINT MAARTEN/CARIBBEAN – According to Crown Weather, the long-term weather model forecast has that storm/hurricane activity will be down for the next seven to 10 days until early August.

The potential for any storm/hurricane development will increase.

“The very long range CFS model guidance has been pretty consistent in forecasting tropical activity to begin ramping up in both the southwestern Atlantic and also across the central Atlantic between the Lesser Antilles and the coast of Africa during the August 5-12 period.

“From there, the CFS model forecasts a pretty active period for tropical storm/hurricane activity from mid-August to mid-October. Some things popped out at me when looking at the CFS model forecast for the next 90 days.

“First is that the region from the far northeastern Caribbean through the Bahamas and along the US East Coast could be active with at least 3 tropical storm or hurricane threats between August 15 and October 15.

“Second is that the central and eastern Caribbean may be quiet with no significant threats. This remains to be seen, but this idea seems plausible given the overall weather pattern.

“Third is that the northwestern Caribbean into the Gulf of Mexico could become active tropically after September 15th,” Crown Weather concludes.

SOUALIAGA NEWSDAY WEATHER WATCH

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First US$55M Grant Signed for Low Income Family Home Repair, Public Shelters, GEBE/Water & First Responders

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - Sint Maarten Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin and World Bank Country Director, Tahseen Sayed, signed yesterday the first grant of the Sint Maarten Recovery, Reconstruction and Resilience Trust Fund funded by the Government of the Netherlands.

With this grant, the first project will repair public shelters, support the repairs of severely damaged houses of low income families, increase the resilience of the electricity utility and water system, as well as strengthen the emergency response capacities of the fire brigade and first responders in the face of natural disasters.

This project is one of four emergency projects fast-tracked and endorsed by the Sint Maarten Trust Fund Steering Committee last June to rebuild the island after Hurricane Irma in 2017.

“Patience is a virtue as the saying goes, with the signing of this Emergency Response Project for 55 Million US dollars, we have achieved yet another milestone in the recovery process of Sint Maarten.

“As I have stated on numerous occasions, the Government of Sint Maarten remains committed to seeing this process through to its conclusion and thus ensuring a successful recovery on behalf of the people of Sint Maarten”, said Prime Minister Leona Romeo Marlin.

A Steering Committee meeting will take place on July 13 with representatives from Sint Maarten, The Netherlands and the World Bank, to review additional recovery needs and advance the preparation of new projects.

“The signing of this first grant agreement is not just another piece of paper; it is the turning point from project preparation towards realization. I look forward to achieve tangible results in the next few months” said Frans Weekers, Steering Committee Representative for the Netherlands.

Since the signing of the agreement with The Netherlands to establish the Trust Fund on April 16, significant progress has been made including successful convening of the first Steering Committee meeting of the Trust Fund, preparation and endorsement of four projects, and identification of ongoing reconstruction activities for retroactive financing. 

All financing systems and processes to ensure transparency and appropriate environmental and social standards will follow World Bank guidelines and policies. The new Trust Fund manager from the World Bank, Michelle Keane, was appointed on July 1 and brings many years of experience in post disaster reconstruction and program management.

“I am encouraged by the commitment of the government and pace of the progress so far”, said Tahseen Sayed, World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean. “Our experience in post-disaster situations across the world is that it is essential to build back better and promote resilience. The Sint Maarten National Recovery and Resilience plan recognizes this, and this first approved project is well aligned with these priorities”.

The World Bank team of experts is already working with the Government and other local partners on the island to strengthen capacities to better manage disaster risk.

WORLD BANK SIGNING CEREMONY 1

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