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CAft Bakker: "Aruba faces the challenge to meet the legal deficit standard this year as well"

ARUBA - The first progress report of this year shows that the deficit in the collective sector on Aruba in the first quarter amounts to 1.1% of GDP, which is higher than the 0.5% GDP deficit standard for the full year.

Both the tax revenues over the first quarter and the revenues resulting from the reorganization measures are insufficient, while the expected effects of the re-opening of the refinery are also lagging behind due to delay.

Aruba faces the challenge to comply with the legal deficit standard this year as well. The Board of financial supervision Aruba (CAft) proposes to consider announcing in this stage already an overall commitment stop and vacancy stop.

Unsatisfactory results over the first quarter

The CAft indicates that, in particular, the wage tax and corporate turnover tax (BBO) revenues are below budget. The measures implemented by the government at the tax authorities in order to increase tax compliance have not resulted in the intended effect.

In addition, because of the delay in the work activities with regard to the oil refinery, a great deal of the investments will have their effect only later in this year, slowing down the income from tax revenues. At the expense side the government's reorganization measures that are necessary for sustainable public finances seem to be withering.

The Board emphasizes how important it is that the budgeted income of AWG 67 million, comprising the settlement sum of Valero (AWG 27 million) and the sale of Fuels Marketing & Supply Aruba (AWG 40 million), be realized this year.

Work to be done

The financial results over the first quarter are at such level that the Board advises to implement a vacancy stop and a commitment stop. The CAft chairman: "Personnel costs amount to about one third of the total government spending this year and this amount should be reduced.

There is work to be done." At the beginning of this year more people have entered public service, which is not in line with government's intention to save 5% on government staff annually. In order to further reduce public spending, the frequency and level of fees for predictable overtime should be better anticipated in the budgetary process.

In addition, the establishment of a function house for government officials can help to counter the autonomous growth in staff expenditure. As far as taxes are concerned, further tax reform is needed and the country's liquidity position has to be structurally strengthened.

The Minister of Finance, together with other government departments, takes the necessary steps to obtain an auditor’s report. The next step in this process is to formulate a concrete and realistic time path to that end.

Last visit current chairman

In addition to discussing the results for the first quarter, this visit was also related to the forthcoming farewell by the current chairman, Age Bakker, as of July 1, 2017, and making acquaintance with the upcoming chairman Raymond Gradus.

The departing chairman looks back with a satisfied feeling on a fruitful cooperation with Aruba. Age Bakker on his period at the CAft: "It was not always easy, but together, each working from his own role, we contributed to the fact that Aruba has met the legal deficit standard over the past two years.

With this achievement important steps have been taken to reduce the untenable debt position". As usual during the visits of the Board to Aruba, meetings were held with the Governor, the Minister of Finance, the Council of Ministers, and the Parliamentary Committee on Finance, Economic Affairs and Government Organization.

The CAft also visited the Central Bank of Aruba. The conversation included amongst others the delayed work activities of the refinery.

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GIFTED to honour Fifty Student Nominees for 2017 Royalty Awards

PHILIPSBURG - Fifty young persons will be honored at the third annual GIFTED Royalty Awards Ceremony to be held on Wednesday, July 5th, 2017 at the Belair Community Centre. 

Nominations for the awards were received from seven high schools for the students they wished to recognize for their outstanding performance in each of five categories.

The participating high schools are: St. Dominic High School, Milton Peters College, St. Maarten Academy PSVE, MAC Comprehensive Secondary, St. Maarten Academy – Academic Section, Sundial School and Charlotte Brookson Academy of the Performance Arts.

The GIFTED Royalty Awards are aimed at turning the spotlight on the positive things that the youth in our community are doing. The categories for awards are: Academics, Athletics, Community Service, Expressive Arts, and Leadership.

This year’s nominees have been selected by their respective high schools as someone between the ages of 13 and 20 who has been making a positive impact in that sphere of expertise. GIFTED’s WorldChangers slogan is “Whoever you are, wherever you're from, whatever you do, you change the world.”

The Worldchangers being recognized this summer are as follows per category. For Young King of Academics are Radjeev Rampersad, David Beek, Senlly Samuel, Esner Ilceus, Jaevy Beggs, and Kai Piscione. The nominees for Young Queen of Academics are Flor Carty, Melanie Felix-Polanco, Naomi Jankee, Amarykecia Busby, Jhohana Richardson, and Chanel A. Almonte de los Santos.

In the category of Young King of Athletics are Rayouri Fleming, Adonijah Romney, Darvin Valerie, Vern T. Graham, and Michele Palella. Their counterparts nominated for Young Queen of Athletics are Aichell Peters, Angelina Percy, Whitney Walsh, and Princess Z. Priest.

The nominees for Young King of Community Service are Chris Sargeant, James Brooks, Brian Kook, Kyron Mussen, and Shawn Peterson. The Young Queen of Community Service nominees are Jahnilla Priest, Gabrielle Andre, Karly Jacob, Sheena Generlette, Loudahlia T. K. Brill, and Karina Wadhwani.

In the category of Expressive Arts are for Young Kings - Densley Arrindell, Miguel Morgan, Manukiell Edwards, Shamar Luckson, and Ray-Angel C. A. Simon. The Young Queen of Expressive Arts nominees are Nuriska Edward, Naomi Warsop, Dorothy James, Xochiquetzal Gonzalez-Toro, and Daniella Simmons.

In the category of Leadership, the nominees for Young King are James Samuel, Jean Philip Pierre Louis, Caleb Carter, and Elston Harregan. The nominees for Young Queen are Genora Jankee, Jodian McDonald, Sianta Maria, and Georgia Nelson. The foundation has published photos and profile descriptions of the nominees on their Facebook page for the public’s viewing and support.

Last year, G.I.F.T.E.D. celebrated fifty-two young persons across the five categories. Five Young Kings and five Young Queens were awarded with additional prizes and due recognition. G.I.F.T.E.D. means “Going In. Finding Truth. Enlightening Darkness.”

The foundation seeks to impact the youth of St. Maarten and the region through providing positive influential social enhancement through music and other platforms by networking with local, regional and international partners. For more information, visit and like their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/GIFTEDLIGHT

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Clinics register more cases of sexually transmitted diseases but fewer new HIV cases

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The number of people testing positive for sexually transmitted diseases gonorrhoea, syphilis and chlamydia has risen over the past year, the national health institute RIVM said on Friday.

In total, over 143,000 people were registered at an STD clinic last year, an increase of 5% on 2015. The percentage of this group testing positive for a sexually transmitted infection rose from 17.2% to 18.4%.

The RIVM said the increase could be due to the fact that more people in high risk groups are coming forward for testing. The number of gonorrhoea cases rose by 13% over the year while syphilis infections were up 30% to a total of 1,223.

Cases of chlamydia, the most common STD among heterosexual men and women, rose 11%, as the upward trend first noted in 2013 continued. However, there was a continuing decline in the number of HIV diagnoses, which reached 285 last year. Of them, 93% involved men who have sex with men, the RIVM said. (DutchNews)

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Governor announces Speakers for the 6th Governor’s Symposium

HARBOUR VIEW – Today, the Governor of Sint Maarten, His Excellency drs. E.B. Holiday, announced the speakers for the 2017 Governor’s Symposium with as theme ICT Governance - Shaping Our Future.

Ms. Bernadette Lewis, Secretary General of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU), is scheduled to provide the keynote address at the Symposium. Ms. Lewis is an ardent proponent of ICT-enabled transformation in every sphere of endeavor.

To this end, the CTU has been at the forefront of activities to promote the effective use of ICT in fostering Caribbean socio-economic development. In addition to the keynote address, the program for the 2017 Governor’s Symposium includes featured regional speaker Mr. Bevil Wooding, an internet strategist and the Caribbean Outreach Manager for Packet Clearing House, and featured Local speaker Mr. Jean Arnell, Managing Partner of Computect, with a passion for technology innovation in the public sector.

Each will highlight aspects of developments in ICT with a focus on infrastructure, innovations, threats, security and governance from their own perspective and discipline. The youth from the Sint Maarten Academy CAPE program and technology department will highlight the aspect of ICT in education.  

The speakers will be joined on a panel by panelist TELEM Group of Companies’ CEO, Mr. Kendal Dupersoy for an interactive session with the audience. This session will be moderated by Mr. Roy Richardson, co-Founder and CEO/CTO of Aurora InfoTech, a Managed Services Provider (MSP) & IT solutions firm based in Orlando, Florida and Sint Maarten.

The 6th Governor’s Symposium aims to increase awareness of the importance, and of the risks involved in, ICT. The intention is to contribute to the further development of an ICT-governance agenda towards the shaping of our nation’s future.

The Governor hopes that the selected speakers will cause the guests “to reexamine how decisions and actions by government, by civil society, by the private sector and by the media have shaped and continue to influence the national development of our country.” And by doing such “inspire attendees to identify opportunities and act to secure and shape our nation’s future”.

This year’s Symposium will be held on Friday June 23th, 2017 at the Auditorium of the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine and is by invitation only.

For more information on the Governor’s Symposium: http://www.kabgsxm.com

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Registration Now Open for USM SCELL Film Boot Camp

POND ISLAND – USM (University of St. Martin) SCELL will be hosting a Film Boot Camp this summer from July 17 to July 28. Participants will learn about film making, and will be introduced to the film industry with a focus on creative arts.

The boot camp will help them acquire knowledge about this new industry that will become a part of the island’s economic pillar.

Participants will create a film that will highlight the art of script writing, audio, lighting, camera operation, acting, location scouting, and editing. The best film will be added to an upcoming student film festival later this year.

They will also be able to create professional Facebook live videos or YouTube videos. Participants will learn to work together as a team to plan and outline a film project. Critical thinking would be required as they handle real world scenarios such as working under pressure, time constraints, and project budgets.

We encourage everyone that is interested to join this fun and exciting, yet structured and educational Film Boot Camp.

To register for the Film Boot Camp in July please contact The University of St. Martin’s School of Continuing Education and Life Long Learning (USM SCELL) at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call us at +1721-543-3710 Ext 1023 and Mr. Anderson Percival at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at +1721-554-0521.

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MPC STUDENT VANTERPOOL WINS SENIOR DIVISION IN ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS AWARDED BY FCCA FOUNDATION

SINT MAARTEN/FLORIDA - The FCCA Foundation has again rewarded the efforts of students and schools throughout the Caribbean and Latin America, with nearly $30,000 awarded to children and schools from 16 destinations participating in the annual FCCA Foundation

Environmental Poster Competition.

Aziza Vanterpool of Milton Peters College (MPC) in St. Maarten won the senior division for "Don't Cry, Care for Mother Earth," which masterfully depicts a woman representing the country's Caribbean Indian roots and presently beautiful and diverse landscapes, flora and fauna, while

calling for action to save the land and seas through renewable energy, recycling, farming and more.

"I cannot be prouder to benefit the talented and dedicated students participating in this year's FCCA Foundation Environmental Poster Competition," said Michele Paige, President of the FCCA. "Protecting the environment and promoting children's advancement are essential to a

happy and sustainable future, and this is just one way that the industry and FCCA Foundation assists these causes."

Each year, the competition prompts students to create a poster illustrating ways to protect the environment and promote awareness in their country. This year's contest featured finalists from 12 Caribbean and Latin American destinations ranging from juniors (ages 12 and

younger) to seniors (13-16).

Anastashia Turner of Corinaldi Avenue Primary in Jamaica took the junior division gold for "Our World Is Precious...Save Our Land & Seas," which showcased how to battle global warming, pollution and diseases by reforestation, recycling, renewable energy and more to "protect the

habitats, the animals and the earth itself."

Other winners included Nayeli Lisbeth Arevalo from El Salvador, taking second in the junior division; Daniella Evans from Jamaica, winning second in the senior division; Tatiana Atkinson from Belize, collecting third in the junior division; and Karlee Leatham from Dominica, placing

third in the senior division.

Though all participating students learned a valuable lesson, the finalists and first- to third-place winners took home a prize to and for their country. First-place winners earned a $3,000 scholarship for themselves, along with an equal donation for their schools to purchase

art supplies; second-place winners and schools received $1,500 each; third-place winners and schools were awarded $1,000 each; and all other finalists and their schools received $200 each.

ABOUT THE FCCA FOUNDATION

The FCCA Foundation provides a tangible mechanism for the cruise industry to fund a range of humanitarian causes in Caribbean and Latin American destinations. Since its establishment in 1993, the Foundation has benefited thousands of citizens by providing funding and countless hours to causes and charities throughout the regions. In addition to assisting deserving institutions like charities and hospitals and aiding during crises like natural disasters, the Foundation executes annual projects, including the Holiday Gift Project, which delivers thousands of presents and smiles to underprivileged children during the holiday

season, and poster and essay competitions to award students and schools.

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Companies requested to register for hurricane aftermath clean-up

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – Ministry of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Development and Infrastructure (Ministry VROMI), will be accepting applications from eligible entities that are interested in registering as a hurricane aftermath clean-up company.

Registration will be open from June 26th, 2017 through July 14th, 2017 at the Ministry of VROMI located at #16 Tamarinde Steeg (Yellow Building) on the Pondfill.

Applicable companies must present their company profile including a synopsis of their equipment and/or services, along with their proof of registration at the chamber of commerce, crib number and all relevant insurances such as equipment and liabilities.

All registrations must be addressed to VROMI Operations Manager, Edelmiro Jansen and can be submitted at the VROMI Office or can be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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MLK host musical and awards day celebration

PHILIPSBURG - The students of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Primary School on Wednesday morning participated in a musical and awards day celebration. 

Students recapped the life values of Peace, Responsibility, Love, Cooperation, Dependability, Tolerance, Respect, Honesty and Unity which they learned over this school year during the monthly assembly.

"We continue to strongly promote the development of our student’s social emotionally as well as their overall academic performance," said School Manager Stuart Johnson. 

The students also showcased and highlighted several local musical icons such as King Beau Beau, Calypso Barbara, The Mighty Dow and King Vers. 

"It was surely a moment of true pride to see our students being recognized for their hardwork and commitment over this school year," Johnson said. 

Students received awards in Language Arts, Mathematics, Dutch Language, Music, Sports, Most Helpful, Most Improved and the Principal's Award.

"I encourage all of you students to continue to reach your maximum God-given potential and a special thank you to all my staff who made this event possible," concluded Johnson. 

The Dr. Martin Luther king Jr. Primary School is a public education school located in the district of Dutch Quarter. 

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ChristenUnie only hope for majority cabinet, poll of polls shows little change

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The leader of the small Christian party ChristenUnie, which has six seats in parliament, will meet coalition negotiator Herman Tjeenk Willink for talks later on Wednesday, now his party is the only option for a majority cabinet.

The Labour party PvdA, the only other realistic option for a majority, has refused to come to the negotiating table, leaving ChristenUnie as the only candidate. The party, which has six MPs and would give the coalition a majority of just one, was involved in the talks earlier.

However, those talks collapsed because of disagreements with D66 about ethical issues such as assisted dying. All the parties involved in the talks have said they prefer a majority cabinet, leading Tjeenk Willink to say last week that they must be prepared to compromise on some issues to achieve this.

The Netherlands has been without a government for over three months.

Opinion polls

Meanwhile, broadcaster NOS has published its first opinion poll round-up since the March 15 vote.

The poll, which is based on the results of five separate opinion polls, shows little shift in support for the main parties. ‘Things are often calm during a formation process,’ poll compiler Tom Louwerse said.

‘Voters are waiting to see what happens.’ The only significant result in the poll is an increase in support for the right-wing Eurosceptic Forum voor Democratie, which has two seats in parliament and could take up to five if there was a general election tomorrow. (DutchNews)

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First step of the journey towards a new state of the art prison

POINT BLANCHE - The ground-breaking ceremony for the renovation to the entrance of the Point Blanche Prison took place on Monday, June 19th. The renovation is part of a series of reformations to take place at the facility, the Ministry of Justice reported in a press release on Tuesday. 

“I wish I could stand here and say I wish we were building a school, but the reality is that we are renovating a prison. This is the first in a series of renovations to the facility. Today, we start with the entrance to the prison and that will be followed by the fence, and then some other renovations to the inside of the prison,” noted Minister in charge of Justice, the Honourable Rafael Boasman, who was at the time speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony Monday afternoon. 

The Minister also acknowledged that these renovations have been on the books for quite some time, and that he is happy that those pending matters have become a reality.

The work is being carried out by the Leeward Island Construction Company (LICCOM), whom along with the interim directors at the prison Mr. Carty and Mr. Williams was commended by the Minister for the fantastic job that they have been doing. 

The project is being coordinated by Khalil Revan and according to Minister Boasman, there is so much to be done and it was necessary to have someone who will specifically concentrate on some of the matters that have to be done. Mr. Revan is an engineer by profession.

“The workers will experience some inconvenience during the construction period. However, in the end, they too will benefit from the work that is being done here,” the Minister said. 

On the issue of safety, the Justice Minister also said that Government has a responsibility together with the management team to ensure security which is also taken into consideration during the construction period.  He remarked: “Safety, not only for the inmates, but also for the workers and visitors to the facility.”

The ground-breaking for the renovation to the entrance of the facility is the first step of the journey towards a new state of the art prison.  “This not to encourage persons to be incarcerated but to demonstrate that government is playing its part in the upkeep of its prison, as is required by national and international laws and treaties,” Minister Boasman mentioned.

PHOTO CUTLINE: Left to right: Minister Rafael Boasman and Prison Director Wilfred Williams doing the symbolic “ground breaking.”

minjust inside two

PHOTO CUTLINE: Left to right: Hans Hootsmans and Henk van den Heuvel from LICCOM, Minister of Justice Rafael Boasman, Prison Director Wilfred Williams, Prison Director Steven Carty and Project coordinator Khlail Revan.

minjust inside one

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