Soualiga Newsday Focus

Soualiga Newsday Focus (1528)

Polish ambassador to NL condemns migrant labour abuse

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The Polish ambassador to the Netherlands has sounded the alarm about dodgy staffing agencies and the abuse of Dutch labour laws to exploit migrant workers in an interview with the AD.

The staffing agencies know exactly how to get round the rules and use temporary contracts to make the maximum profits out of foreign workers who often have to pay for a place to live, although they were promised free accommodation, Marcin Czepelak told the paper.

‘People are being brought to the Netherlands under false pretences and have to work here in poor conditions, while being excluded from Dutch society,’ he said. Language – such as the use of the word Polenhotel to describe a lodging house for migrant workers – plays an important role in this, he said.

‘I’ve discussed it with my colleagues, but you only come across the word here,’ he told the AD. The Dutch statistics agency CBS said earlier this year that workers from Poland, Romania and other eastern and central European countries earn the lowest wages of all immigrant groups.

Some 80% of the 180,000 Polish nationals working in the Netherlands earn less than €15 per hour and 18% of them earn less than €10, the CBS said. And research published a year ago by government think-tank SCP said some 75% of Polish nationals living in the Netherlands have a job but they are much more likely than the Dutch to have temporary or flexible contracts, work long hours and do basic manual labour.

Staffing agency exploitation is the other side of the benefit scandal Some 160,000 Polish nationals were registered as living in the Netherlands in 2017, making them the sixth biggest migrant group in the country, the SCP said. In addition, a further 90,000 come to the Netherlands periodically to do seasonal work.




SINT EUSTATIUS - On Tuesday May 14th, the Cruyff Court in Oranjestad, on the island of St. Eustatius, was reopened. This week, the focus is on sporting activities in the Dutch Caribbean, because the Cruyff Court on St. Maarten will also be reopened on Friday and the Cruyff Foundation Coach Training was launched on Monday May 13th.

With these Cruyff Courts and Cruyff Foundation Coaches Training, the Cruyff Foundation creates a safe space to participate in sports and play for children and young people in the Dutch Caribbean, enabling them to grow by being active.

Under the watchful eye of the Dutch State Secretary for “Health, Welfare and Sport” Paul Blokhuis and Cruyff Foundation ambassadors Anouk Hoogendijk and Hamilton Richardson, the Cruyff Court on St. Eustatius was reopened today. After twelve years of intensive use, it was in need of refurbishing.

This renovation and upgrade include the construction of a roof over the court that will allow more stakeholders to make use of the Cruyff Court. This refurbishment was made possible by the “Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, the UEFA Foundation for Children, the Public Entity of St. Eustatius, and TenCate Grass.”

The State Secretary of “Health, Welfare and Sport” opened the refurbished Cruyff Court together with Niels Meijer, director of the Cruyff Foundation. The Cruyff Court is literally situated at the heart of sports and play of St. Eustatius.

This is why the Caribbean Sports and Prevention agreement , that is aimed at promoting sports and physical activity in the Dutch Caribbean, was also signed on the Sonny Cranston Ball Park between Deputy Government Commissioner, Mervyn Stegers on behalf of the Public Entity St. Eustatius and Paul Blokhuis, State secretary for Health, Welfare and Sport.

The Cruyff Foundation Coaches Course was also launched on St. Eustatius on Monday May 13th and culminate on Friday May 16th. Various sports employees from the Dutch Caribbean are being trained to become Cruyff Foundation Coaches. This course is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport and gives the coaches the tools to engage more young people with the activities on the Cruyff Court and in their community as Heroes of the Cruyff Courts. Together with the KNVB World Coaches, the Cruyff Foundation Coaches will start working on making sport more accessible in the Dutch Caribbean.

Thanks to a contribution of Signify, the Cruyff Courts in the Dutch Caribbean now also have lighting around the pitch. With the Cruyff Foundation Coaches and the lighting, the Cruyff foundation makes the Cruyff Courts a safe place to play, both in the daytime and in the evening. (GIS Sint Eustatius)


Dutch job vacancies rise, unemployment total falls to 3.4%

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The number of job vacancies in the Netherlands reached a record 277,000 in the first quarter of this year, with more work on offer in almost every category, the national statistics agency CBS said.

In particular, medium-sized firms with workforces of between 10 and 100 have many vacancies, the CBS said in its latest quarterly economic round-up. The Dutch official jobless total has fallen to 3.4%, its lowest level since the crisis of 2008, the CBS said.

The unemployment rate has fallen for the past five years after reaching a peak of 7.8% five years ago. ‘Companies have problems getting enough personnel and are offering more permanent contacts,’ chief economist Peter Hein van Mulligen said.

Wages, however, have not risen. ‘This is surprising because a shortage of workers should lead to higher wages,’ he said. ‘Companies are booking record profits so there should be enough room.’



Police miss target on ethnic minority recruitment

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The number of people with a bi-cultural background starting training to become a police officer fell to 22% of the total last year after two years of steady increases, according to the national police force annual report.

In absolute terms, however, there was an increase in bi-cultural new recruits – from 254 in 2017 to 315 in 2018. The police have been keen to expand the diversity of recruits and managed to boost the percentage of ethnic minority hopefuls to 29% of the total in 2017.

The target is for 25%. Spokesman Lute Nieuwerth said the decline is probably due to the tightness of the labour market. ‘We want the force to be as diverse as possible,’ he said.

‘We are doing our best, but it is not an easy task, particularly now the labour market has become more complicated.’ The police hope to recruit 17,000 new officers over the next seven years.



Young people taking longer to find homes, jobs and families

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – People in their twenties are taking longer to reach key milestones such as getting their first job and leaving their parents’ home, according to the statistics agency CBS.

Half of all 27-year-olds had a permanent job in 2017, compared to half of all 24-year-olds in 2008, CBS found in a comparative study. Couples in their 20s are less likely to move in together and start families than a decade ago.

The proportion of 29-year-olds with children fell from 43.4% of women and 24% of men to 40.5% and 22% over the decade. Higher rents and reforms to higher education finance that mean students graduate with larger debts have also meant young people leave home later.

In 2008 89.1% of women and 73.5% of men were living independently by the age of 26, while in 2018 these figures had fallen to 84.3% and 70.3% respectively. A more positive development was the narrowing of the gap between men and women.

More women are going into graduate training, meaning they are landing their first jobs later than a decade ago, but at roughly the same age as men on average. The number of twentysomethings owning property also declined, even though house prices in 2008 were at their pre-crisis peak.

Six out of ten 28-year-olds who had left home had bought a house a decade ago, compared to 50% in 2017. Researcher Tanja Traag told NOS the figures indicated that the ambitions of twentysomethings had changed over the last decade.

‘People want to develop in different ways, such as going on a round-the-world trip with their partner before they take the next step. ‘People’s expectations are constantly rising, which means it takes longer to find a job or a house that fulfils them.’



Ticket tax won’t hit airlines, will cut CO2, says leaked Brussels report

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The introduction of a flight tax of €7.50 per ticket will not have a negative effect on the Dutch economy but will cut carbon dioxide emissions, according to a leaked report by the European Commission.

The Dutch government plans to introduce a tax on flying in 2021. The Netherlands is one of 20 EU countries which levies little or no tax on airline tickets, apart from 21% value added tax on domestic flights.

The report has been leaked by green campaign group Transport & Environment and shows that a tax on tickets similar to that which operates in Germany would lead to a 4% increase in ticket prices and a 4% drop in passenger numbers and flights.

But the impact of this on the aviation sector will be ‘compensated by an almost equal increase in jobs in other sectors of the economy, so the net effect on employment is close to zero’, the report said.

In addition, the introduction of a tax on tickets would generate €324m for the treasury, cut CO2 emissions by 4% and the number of people affected by noise by 3%.

The report, which has not been published by the commission, also shows that taxing kerosene in Europe would cut aviation emissions by 11% and have no net impact on jobs or the economy as a whole.

‘Aviation’s decades-long kerosene tax holiday needs to end now,’ said Bill Hemmings, aviation director of Transport & Environment. ‘This is essential to fight climate change and will help the millions afflicted by unbearable aircraft noise. Europe’s unique and deplorable status as a kerosene tax haven is indefensible.’



Electric car numbers double but there are still only 45,000 in NL

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The number of fully electric cars on the Dutch roads doubled last year to 45,000 but there was a 3% drop in the number of hybrids, Dutch car registration agency RDW said on Friday.

Some 77% of the electric and hybrid vehicles in use in the Netherlands are company cars, the RDW said. Earlier this year, the government’s system for subsidising the sale of electric cars came under fire when it emerged that around half the fund to stimulate people to drive electric cars has ended up in the hands of ‘rich Tesla and Jaguar drivers.

Last year, the government said it would fund tax breaks totaling €700m for electric car drivers. But almost half the 25,000 electric cars bought in the Netherlands in 2018 were Teslas and Jaguars with a price tag of €80,000 to €120,000, the Volkskrant said.

Despite the growth in numbers, fully electric cars only account for 1.6% of the Dutch fleet of 8.8 million. The Tesla S is the most common electric car in the Netherlands – there are some 12,000 on the Dutch roads.

The European car manufacturers association ACEA says the number of electric cars sold in the first three months of this year is up 40% on 2018. Earlier this month, Amsterdam announced plans to ban all but fully electric cars from 2030.

The national statistics agency CBS said at the end of last year that 75% of Tesla drivers in the Netherlands had been given a ticket for speeding.



IT failure disrupts electronic tagging, some wearers taken into custody

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Dozens of convicted criminals who wear electronic tagging devices so their movements can be tracked were picked up as a preventative measure on Thursday evening because of a software problem, the AD said on Friday.

Officials have not said how many people have been taken into custody but that in some cases they had ‘no choice’ other than to lock them up. The problem emerged on Thursday night after a number of wearers ‘disappeared’ and were no longer under surveillance at the monitoring centre.

The problem, the justice ministry said, was due to a software update and that the technical problem has now been solved. ‘We are working hard to make sure the system is 100% stable,’ a spokesman said.

The people who have been taken into custody remain under lock and key. Their number includes several terrorism suspects, a source told the AD. Some 700 people in the Netherlands wear an electronic tag at any given time.

If the wearer removes the tag or goes into an area where he or she are banned, an alert is sounded at the monitoring system. The communication between tag and control centre was disrupted by the IT problems, the AD said.




SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The SXMNBA will be opening its 2019 regular season on Saturday May 11th, 2019, the sports organization said Thursday in a media statement. This year’s season will consist of 14 teams in two divisions with a full slate of games.

The schedule is as follows, starting at 4PM with the Albertos Fashion vs Phoenicks, 5PM: Razorbacks vs HTP, 6PM: Lions vs Harbor Heat, 7PM: Dominicanos vs X-Men, 8PM: SXM Akatsuki vs SG Pelicans.

All games will be played at the L.B. Scott Sports Auditorium, entrance is only $3 per person. Food and drinks will be on sale and entertainment will be provided throughout the day by DJ Shampoopoo of Wapiti Sounds.

The teams taking part in the SXMNBA 2019 Regular season are: SG Pelicans, Phoenicks, Albertos Fashion, Lion Nation, Harbor Heat, SXM Akatsuki, Ball Tech, Legacy, 721DreamChasers, Razorbacks, HTP, X-Men, Dominicanos, and Boyz ND Yard.

Also scheduled on May 24th & 25th SXMNBA & RDR presents INTER-ISLAND U18 BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT with the following teams taking part: Dutch Quarter Rebels, French Quarter Phoenicks, Sandy Ground Pelicans, Top Hill AXA, Rock Da Rim EUX, Willful Skillful B.V.I.

The SXMNBA is also looking for volunteers who are interested in getting involve in our different activates to email us This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

You can find the full schedule, team standings and stats at or check us out on, the Thursday statement said.

SXMNBA Upcoming Events:

July 24th thru Aug 2nd – SXMNBA Basketball Camp

August 2nd & 3rd – U18 Inter-Island Tournament (St. Eustatius)

August – 2nd Annual SXMNBA Business Tournament

And much more to come!!!

May 11 Opener v4


Dog walker killer suspect is a social, intelligent but somber student

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The 27-year-old man arrested on charges of murdering three people out walking their dogs was an ‘intelligent, somber young man’ people who know him told Dutch broadcaster NOS.

Thijs H was arrested on Wednesday evening after police put out a nationwide alert. He is suspected of killing three people – two people found dead on heathland in Limburg on Tuesday and a woman whose body was found in woods near Scheveningen at the weekend.

Thijs H lives in The Hague, where he was reportedly living in a student house, but spent a great deal of time in southern Limburg where he was arrested, police said. According to the Telegraaf, his parents lived in Brunsum.

‘He was a clever, nice guy but he was also somber, with black moods who spent a lot of time in his room,’ one man who shared a flat with H for four years said. Nevertheless, ‘I would avoid the kitchen if he was there, because he gave off this uneasy vibe,’ the student said.

Police also carried out forensic tests in another student house in The Hague where H is said to have lived for two weeks. ‘I only saw him twice and at the first meeting he seemed like a normal guy, a student,’ one housemate said.


‘The second time, on Saturday, was weird because he had kicked in the bathroom door. When I went to talk to him about it, I could not get anything out of him. I thought he was drunk, and I have not seen him since,’ the student said.

A former employer told NOS H had joined the company via a hackathon and that he was ‘kind, driven and social’. ‘He came to the barbecues and parties we organised and combined his work with two-degree courses,’ he said.

‘Something must have happened to make him turn like this.’ According to H’s LinkedIn profile, he is working on a thesis for a Master’s degree in industrial ecology at Delft University and had a bachelor’s degree in cultural anthropology from Leiden University.

Potential victim

Meanwhile, a young woman has come forward to say that she had been followed by H while walking her dog on the Brunssummerheide heathlands and that he had made her feel uneasy.

‘He had a strange look in his eyes and an odd laugh,’ she said. ‘I also thought it odd that he did not have a dog with him.’ Another eyewitness, who saw H in Limburg on Wednesday and called the police, told the AD that he ‘did not seem 100%’. ‘He just stood there with his hands in his pockets looking around him,’ the man said.


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