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Soualiga Newsday Top Stories (2438)

Minister Lake assists in securing temporary shelter for fire victims. Commends boys on the block for heroic action

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – Minister of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure (Ministry VROMI) Hon. Maurice Lake sprang into action on Saturday after learning about the fire that gutted four homes leaving seven victims homeless.

Minister Lake organized his team from Ministry VROMI to arrange temporary housing for the seven fire victims.

“St. Peters is my hometown.  It hit hard to hear that fellow residents had suffered this tragedy. I would like to commend the boys on the block who were the first to respond to the fire.

“We need to give them credit for their bravery.  They alerted the other residents as well so everybody could move to safety,” Minister Hon. Maurice Lake said on Sunday.

In the week of August 4th the Minister along with officials from Ministry VROMI will do a walk-through in the neighborhood where the fire took place.

“These dwellings are fire hazards and a disaster waiting to happen.  A better plan and structure needs to be put in place in areas that have dwellings built from wood.  This can only be accomplished by working with the landowners.

“After the Cole Bay fire several months ago, a team was put together to make recommendations with respect to neighborhoods that have housing structures which pose a hazard. This is a work in progress.

“I would also recommend to GEBE to work with the Fire Department with respect to the placement of fire hydrants in strategic locations in every district, and to see how certain areas can be made more accessible in the event of an emergency,” Minister Hon. Maurice Lake said on Sunday.


Sint Maarten women encouraged to breastfeed

CARIBBEAN - In recognition of World Breastfeeding Week (WBFW), August 1-7, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), encourages mothers to see breastfeeding as the normal way of nourishing their babies from the first hour of their birth (initiation) to at least six months after, with continued breastfeeding up to age two along with complementary food.  This same advice would also be relevant for Sint Maarten mothers and mothers to be.

The theme given by World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action for this year’s WBFW is Breastfeeding – a winning goal for life.  This is in keeping with CARPHA’s life course approach for the prevention of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) of which breastfeeding is a key factor.   The call for mothers to breastfeed can also be seen as a response to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which speaks to a reduction in child mortality and improving maternal health.

The benefits of breastfeeding are many for both mother and baby - a mother’s breast milk is specifically suited to her baby, providing protection against infections and illness, including ear infections, diarrhea, and pneumonia.

Breastfeeding can also help to prevent childhood obesity and maternal obesity, which are important risk factors for type 2 diabetes.  Children are also less likely to develop asthma, hypertension and other non-communicable diseases. According to Dr. C. James Hospedales, Executive Director of CARPHA, “Supporting breastfeeding now can be seen as a long term strategy for a more productive and healthier region”.

Stopping breastfeeding too early, and introducing other foods into baby’s diet at the wrong time remain the greatest threat to a child’s health.In the Caribbean, breastfeeding within the first hour of birth is high, providing what is considered the baby’s first immunization.  However, statistics show that exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months vary between 5 percent and 39 percent. 

If we are to reduce the prevalence of childhood obesity and other NCDs later in life, mothers should try to feed their babies exclusively on breast milk for the first six months of life.  

The World Health Organization Global Strategy on Infant and Young Child Feeding Practices aims to renew efforts to promote, protect and support appropriate infant and young child feeding. Based on this strategy governments are asked to develop and implement comprehensive policies on infant and young child feeding of which the implementation of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is important.

CARPHA therefore supports breastfeeding as a winning goal for life as it will make for a happier, healthier Region.


Curacao Confirms First Chikungunya Case

WILLEMSTAD, Curacao – The island of Curacao has its first confirmed case of Chikungunya, eight months after the disease was first introduced to the Caribbean.  The island of Bonaire registered their first case in June.

The Curacao health authorities it has been reported that there may be another possible suspected eight cases, but this still has to be confirmed.

The Government will be embarking on an awareness campaign to inform the populace what measures should be taken to avoid getting Chikungunya.

Chikungunya is transmitted via a mosquito bite.  The disease causes severe joint pain among other symptoms.  There is no vaccine at this time against the disease. 


TelEm Group assisting with upgrade of L.B. Scott Sports Auditorium

POND ISLAND – TelEm Group is proud to be named amongst a group of corporate citizens that are helping to upgrade sports facilities around St. Maarten. 

In collaboration with the Rebels Vets Basketball Foundation, TelEm Group will be providing a much-needed scoreboard and shot clocks for the L.B. Scott Sports Auditorium on the L.B. Scott Road. 

The equipment will be used for the first time in November when St. Maarten hosts a veteran’s basketball tournament, and thereafter it will be utilized by the many teams and organizations that make use of the sports facility each week. 

During a brief ceremony at the TelEm Group main building, Pond Island Tuesday, representatives of the Rebels Vets Basketball Foundation received a donation towards purchase of the new equipment and thanked TelEm Group Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Mrs. Helma Etnel for accepting the group’s offer to assist. 

“We have been actively involved this year in the healthy promotion of youth sports, including the placement of positive messages aimed at our youth, around some of the island’s sports facilities and schools, so it is a natural step for us to support this initiative inside the sports arena as well,” said Mrs. Etnel. 

Foundation Board member, Emilia Thomas, said the Foundation will be hosting the 7th Edition of the CuraSur Masters Veteran’s Basketball tournament in St. Maarten November 3 – 10, featuring eight (8) teams from St. Maarten, Curacao, French Guiana, British Guyana, St. Eustatius, Suriname and St. Eustatius. 

“The tournament promotes the spirit of friendship and sportsmanship amongst veteran basketball teams from various countries in the Caribbean so we are honored to be hosting the event this year,” said Ms. Thomas. 

She notes that it was in preparation for the upcoming tournament that the Foundation took on the challenging initiative of soliciting sponsorship/partnership with selected business partners to ensure that the facilities are brought up to the standards established by the tournament principals. 

“To this end, the management of TelEm Group graciously accepted to partner with us by sponsoring the purchase of a scoreboard/shot clock which will become part of permanent equipment of the L.B. Scot Sports Auditorium under the auspices of the Foundation Upkeep Sports Facilities.” 

“The Rebels Basketball Foundation is self-assured that the improvement to the facilities and purchase of new equipment will surely have a positive impact on the meaning of sports for the users of the L.B. Scot auditorium and in particular our young people,” said Ms. Thomas. (Contributed by TelEM)


Progress Committee bids farewell to Minister Lake and Ministry VROMI. Ministry VROMI a good example for other ministries

PHILIPSBURG – Minister of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure (Ministry VROMI) Hon. Maurice Lake met with members of the Progress Committee paid on Thursday afternoon in what turned out to be a farewell meeting as it was the last time that the committee would be meeting with the Ministry VROMI.

The committee was put in place after Sint Maarten became an autonomous country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands with the task of reporting on the plans of approach that are legally needed to ensure a proper functioning country status.

The Committee has demonstrated its satisfaction with the work that has been done and has recommended that the Ministry puts in place some form of an external reporting committee or bureau, which can continue to monitor and report to the Minister to ensure that the good work that has been achieved through the cooperation and supervision by the Progress Committee doesn’t decline.

The Committee was moreover very pleased to have received the Project Plan Domain Affairs, which is a policy document pertaining to the granting of government land in long lease. This policy was basically the last outstanding document needed to finalize the task of the Committee as it pertains to Ministry VROMI.

Minister Lake was very satisfied with the achievements of the Ministry as he is the third Minister with whom the Progress Committee had discussions on the way forward and moreover the fact that under his watch the project was brought to its finalization.

To quote the words of the Committee, “Ministry VROMI should be used as an example for other ministries on what can be achieved”.

Minister Lake thanked the members of the Committee for their assistance in bringing about positive change to Ministry VROMI and expresses the hope that other Ministries would use VROMI as an example of what is administratively needed to make Sint Maarten a proper functioning country within the Kingdom.  



Heat stress can cause illnesses; CPS urges vigilance of elderly, infants and young children

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – The Collective Prevention Services (CPS) of the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour observes that for several days it has been very warm, and recommends to the community to take action during such warm periods.

CPS is calling on the community to monitor closely friends, family members and co-workers with respect to heat stress and to minimize their exposure risk.

The Minister of Public Health Hon. Cornelius de Weever, via his ‘Get Checked’ campaign, strongly recommends to the community to take measures to avoid heat exhaustion.

Heat-related illnesses occur as a result of heat exposure.  Hot conditions put your body under a lot of stress.  Physical activity stresses the body even more.  When heat is combined with physical activity, loss of fluids, fatigue, and other conditions can lead to a number of heat-related illnesses and injuries.  Death is even possible.

Certain individuals, such as the elderly (people 65+ years of age), infants and young children up to four years of age, the obese, and those with chronic medical conditions are at increased risk for developing heat-related illness.

The six main factors involved in causing heat stress are: high temperatures; humidity; lack in movement of air; radiant temperature of the surroundings; heavy clothing; and physical activity.

To reduce the possibility of heat stress, you can use air-conditioning, fans to circulate the air and reduce physical activity; increase the frequency and duration of rest breaks; and schedule tasks to avoid heavy physical activity during the hottest parts of the day.

Drinking cold water regularly; wear lightweight clothing which allows moisture to evaporate quickly; rehydration; using sunscreen.  

Knowing what to look out for in heat stress is important to avoid life threatening situations.  Serious heat stress conditions cause the victim to become disoriented and unaware of their condition.

The major heat stress injuries and illnesses are: heat rash (on the skin, a bumpy rash which itches severely); heat cramps (painful muscle cramps caused by a loss of salt through excessive sweating); heat syncope (sudden fainting); heat exhaustion (as a result of inadequate salt and water intake); heat stroke (the deadliest of all heat stress conditions, the victim’s skin is hot, red and dry, their pulse is fast and may complain of headache or dizziness).

For further information you should consult with your family physician or call CPS at telephone number: 542-3553, 542-2078.


DP "walking the integrity walk"

PHILIPSBURG - On initiative of Emil Lee, candidate #4 on the Democratic Party list, the Open Government Partnership agreement has been endorsed by the DP and all candidates on the 2014 slate.

“Open and transparent government is not solely a state that St. Maarten should aspire, but it is rather the duty of all government officials and civil servants to commit to such. We, of the DP welcome this initiative, believing that talking the integrity talk alone is not sufficient. We also recognize that this is a global issue and many efforts around the world have been made to give content to integrity as a norm. We gladly associate ourselves with these initiatives.

It is with this kind of contribution in mind that the DP embrace candidates who subscribe to this vision.  Emil Lee is definitely one of those. We will also continue our 'You Cant Buy My Vote” campaign’, Prime Minister Wescott-Williams announced during the signing of the pledge by The DP SXM team.

Open Government Partnership was launched in 2011 to provide an international platform for domestic reformers committed to making their governments more open, accountable, and responsive to citizens.  Since then, OGP has grown from 8 countries to 64 participating countries.  In all of these countries, government and civil society are working together to develop and implement ambitious open government reforms.

The principles of this agreement involve heightened levels of government transparency, citizen involvement, and financial disclosure by politicians in order to achieve a government that the citizens can have confidence in trusting.

In order for St. Maarten to be able to join this growing worldwide integrity movement, St. Maarten will need to adopt a few laws. The members of the DP slate have signed a pledge to enact these laws once elected to Parliament.

Many of the steps that are required to join the growing League of Nations who joined the Open Government Partnership have already been put into motion by Prime Minister Wescot-Williams in her capacity as Minister of General Affairs and responsible for good governance and integrity. (Contributed by the DP Party.)


New book launched for Dutch people wanting to move to Sint Maarten

PHILIPSBURG – On Tuesday July 29th, the international launch for the book ‘Welkom op Sint Maarten!’ took place on Sint Maarten, where the authors of the book offered the first copy to the Prime Minister of Sint Maarten, Hon. Sarah Wescott-Williams. This was also be the official moment that the book will become available in the Netherlands  but also in Belgium and in the UK, for Dutch speaking people who live there and who want to know more about the island.

"Welkom op Sint Maarten!’ is a practical handbook for families and trainees who (temporarily) move from the Netherlands to Sint Maarten. Before you can enjoy living on the island, there is a lot to do and prepare and arrange before one can move from the Netherlands: from arranging a dog passport for dog owners to writing out from the population registry.

After arriving on Sint Maarten a lot of activities and formalities are to be carried out. Where should one go? What to bring? The book also provides general information on Sint Maarten: a bit of history, flora and fauna, opening hours for the bridges, the national anthem of Sint Maarten and lots more interesting information.

In addition, much attention is paid to general information about Sint Maarten: what about the children's education? What about the value of local currencies and payment? Where do you go for a renewal of your passport? What about the electricity in Sint Maarten? Beaches, restaurants, hotels and leisure facilities on Sint Maarten: just to mention some topics that are outlined, mostly in a matter-of-fact-tone, but undeniably with lots of enthusiasm.

The book also includes a dozen elaborated conversion-tables, which make cooking and buying clothes for instance a lot easier. There are in an alphabetical Index in the book with contact information of agencies, clubs, schools and businesses. In short, a book that not only provides the mover a helping hand during and after the move, but also provides many tips for a pleasant stay in Sint Maarten.

The authors, three women residing on island of Sint Maarten, wrote a practical book full of interesting and necessary information for international movers. Although lots of information is provided in a matter-of-fact-tone, it does not lack a little humour, simply because these ladies succeeded in making Sint Maarten their ‘Friendly Island’ too.  

The book is written enthusiastically, in Dutch, and not for nothing the subtitle is 'the Friendly Island’. The book will be available in most bookstores on the island, travel agency Lets Travel, the Sint Maarten Museum in Philipsburg, and throughThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

People living in Holland can order a copy through webshops like and or in the official bookstores like Bruna and Libris. It will also be available through the Royal Libraries in Holland for those who are a member.

The ISBN number for the book is: 9789048434770. An interesting detail: although the costs of good and fast shipping to Sint Maarten are not negligible: thanks to sponsors the price of the book will be about the same as in Holland, especially for the people on Sint Maarten. (Contributed)


Minister Lake calls on community and political parties to monitor weather

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – Minister of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure (Ministry VROMI) Hon. Maurice Lake is calling on the community and political parties to monitor the weather in the coming days.

There is a weather system located over 1400 miles east of the Southern Windward Islands.

The system according to weather sources remains organized, and could develop into a Tropical Depression.

“We have some bad weather out in the Atlantic Ocean several days away.  It should be closely monitored by residents.  I am also calling on the political parties to monitor the weather closely as well.

“The country is awash with political campaign paraphernalia from posters to billboards.  Public safety is priority number one. I would like all political parties to review their planning at this point in time with respect to removing their billboards and posters in the event of bad weather,” Minister Hon. Maurice Lake said on Tuesday.


UPNext: With new center UP recognizes that performing arts is a vibrant lifestyle

PHILIPSBURG - UPNext, the youth movement of the United People (UP) party has stressed that for young people, being a part of the performing arts is a lifestyle and this should be supported, not be dismissed by anyone.

The group pointed out that is was past time that St. Maarten got serious about its young talented youth and expressed pride in the fact that the party they represent has targeted a performing arts center as a priority. 

“Every time we travel to other countries to perform, we perform in state-of-the-art facilities but can’t extend the same hospitality here if we want to invite or attract guests,” the group said.

Dance, they continued, is the top art form here practiced by young people, but they can’t execute the way they want to because of the lack of a facility. “Not only does dance teach technique and performance, but it also teaches passion, compassion, joy, manners, hard work, dedication, self-confidence, expression, thoughtfulness, team-work, and so much more,” UPNext said.

“Through dance and performing arts classes, students learn life lessons that can apply to any aspect of life.  Worldwide Studies prove that children involved in the performing arts perform better academically and socially in school.”

The group assured that the intention of the UP leader Theo Heyliger is to construct a center that will be operated as a "high energy" learning environment where students of all ages receive quality instruction in all kinds of dance, musical theater, art, a space for the preservation of our oral history and performing arts classes. 

“The aim is to provide classes, workshops, performances, and talent presentation for children of all ages and ability levels.”

The new arts center will be able to host a wide variety of community arts groups, performing arts educational groups, professional national touring acts (event tourism), dance competitions, and a wide variety of musical productions. “The performing arts center will be an investment for St. Maarten, its talented youth and its residents in general,” UPNext concluded.  

UPNext was formed by the UP as the party’s link to St. Maarten’s youth. It currently has over 30 young members.

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