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Health is a fundamental human right. PAHO advances public health in the Americas

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – “The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition,” part of the Constitution of the World Health Organization (WHO) says.

Much has been achieved in the Americas since the establishment of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) 115 years ago on December 2, 1902.

The Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department in the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA), says PAHO, the world’s oldest international public health agency, has been dedicated to protecting and advancing public health in the Americas.

CPS adds that PAHO has contributed to major regional health achievements: A gain of 30 years in average life expectancy since 1902; the eradication of smallpox and polio from the Americas.

The elimination of endemic transmission of measles and rubella.

Major reductions in infant mortality; Elimination of onchocerciasis in Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala and Mexico; the elimination of Chagas’ Disease in Brazil, Chile and Paraguay; and the elimination of trachoma in Mexico.

The elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis in Cuba and in six Caribbean islands.  Significant expansions of health coverage have been achieved for poor and vulnerable populations in PAHO member countries.

There has also been progress in legislation, regulations, and fiscal measures to reduce risk factors for non-communicable diseases.

Other regional public health achievements to which PAHO has contributed include: The ratification by 30 of 35 countries in the Americas of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

The establishment of Vaccination Week in the Americas, which inspired the first World Immunization Week.

Latin America and the Caribbean have the highest rates of coverage with antiretroviral treatment for people with HIV of any middle-lower-income region.

Latin America and the Caribbean have the lowest infant mortality rates of any developing region.

CPS says the aforementioned achievements are all part and parcel of PAHO’s sister organization WHO principle of health being a fundamental right.


Basic quality for four education streams Scholengemeenschap Bonaire

BONAIRE - The sections PrO, MAVO, HAVO en VWO of Scholengemeenschap Bonaire (SGB) have met the basic quality requirements.

This was established by the inspectors of the Education Inspectorate’s Caribbean Netherlands team following quality inspections that they carried out at the school.

The criteria for basic quality have been laid down in policy documents on basic quality in education. Achieving basic quality is an important objective of the education improvements in Bonaire and the other islands of the Caribbean Netherlands (St. Eustatius and Saba). The school is currently working hard to realise basic quality for the remaining sections: VMBO en MBO.

The reports of the Education Inspectorate will be published in the course of December 2017, among others via the website

(RCN Caribbean Netherlands)


Man seriously ill-treated with metal pipe over parking spot

COLE BAY - Detectives are presently investigating the ill-treatment of a man with initials P.S.A. which took place on Sunday December 10th on the parking lot of Tropicana Casino.

According to the victim he was ill-treated by an unknown young man who was still on the scene with a metal pipe.

The ill-treatment took place during an argument between parties about parking. The victim was struck in his face with a pipe which caused an open wound to the left side of his face.

The suspect identified with initials S.L.G. admitted to have struck the victim with the pipe and he was arrested on the scene. He was taken to the Police Headquarters in Philipsburg where he remains in custody. The pipe used in this case was confiscated for further investigation. (Sint Maarten Police Force)


Lelystad airport plans under fire, list of destinations is ‘discriminatory’

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Airlines are furious about a transport ministry proposal which would force them to move flights to 89 destinations, mainly in southern Europe, to Lelystad airport when it opens to charter flights in two years’ time.

The plan was closed to consultation on Wednesday and the reception has been highly critical, the NRC said. ‘It shall be prohibited to airlines to start a flight from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol to destinations which are designated by ministerial regulation as leisure destinations,’ the consultation papers say in English.

‘Criteria for the designation of leisure destinations will be determined by ministerial regulation.’ The Schiphol ban would apply to destinations which are not capital cities and which lie between 700 and 4,000 kilometres from Schiphol.

It includes all Greek, Portuguese and Croatian destinations apart from Athens, Lisbon and Zagreb as well as many cities in Turkey, Spain and Morocco.

The government argues that keeping Schiphol’s international network is crucial and that by moving holiday traffic, it will be able to grow within current noise restrictions. ‘


Easyjet, the second biggest airline at Schiphol, says the new proposal is discriminatory and favours KLM. For example, Belfast International Airport, where KLM flies, is not affected but Belfast City Airport is on the banned list.

Dutch travel firm lobby group ANVR said in its reaction: ‘So Dutch travellers who are going on a family visit to Spain will have to give way to travellers from Bangalore who are on their way to visit family in Denmark via Schiphol.’

Transit passengers also add little to the Dutch economy, the organisation said. The proposal will have to be approved by the European Commission before it can become law.

One key criteria for Brussels is the availability of good public transport between the two airports, the NRC said. Lelystad airport is hard to reach by public transport and there are no plans to give it a train station. (DutchNews)


Successful Book launch Thriller Chella and the Weird Woman

SIMPSON BAY - Last Friday, the latest spiritual child of author Loekie Morales, ‘Chella and the Weird Woman/Chella en het vreemde vrouwtje’, was baptized at OBA OBA, Simson Bay, in the presence of the many visitors, the illustrator Penka Petkova, Morales herself and of course the Padrino, Mr. Francis Carty and Madrina, Mrs. Claudette Labega.

Loekie Morales stated: ‘The event was well visited. We got much more people than we have expected and that is a good sign. A Madrina and a Padrino are like the Godfather and Godmother of the book, and often we select for these functions two highly respected persons within our community, who have shown interest with actions in literature (reading & writing), culture and youth, but more over who have their hearts at the right place when it comes to our society and especially our youth.

The honorable Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and sport, Silveria Jacobs attended the event and has spoken about the importance of reading, starting from a very early age.

The baptizing of the book ‘Chella and the Weird Woman/Chella en het vreemde vrouwtje’, is a ceremony that markes that the book is now available for the general public to read. During the Launch, an Chella act was played by Yvania Richardson (as Chella) and Loekie Morales (as the Weird Woman) and Dawryles Carty - Ozuna, Jaldon Giterson  and Li'Anne Peterson have sung nicely the ‘Chella Song’, a Tumba composed by Loekie Morales and arranger Dennis van Putten. Two persons have won a door price and have gotten a Chella book as a present.

The coming two weeks, starting from Monday 11th December, Beyond Kultura Events representatives and in some cases some sponsors, will be visiting schools to hand over a box of 27 books per school, as part of BKE’s  reading and storytelling program.

Thousands of children of Sint Maarten and Curacao will read this book that is to be used as comprehensive reading material, thanks to the donation not only the Windward Island Bank, Henderson Insurance Risk-Management Investment Consultants, the Prince Bernhard Cultural Fund and the Representative of Holland in Philipsburg, but also the Central Bank.

The proofreaders Elsje Bosch and Mariette Schrijver have given their cooperation free of charge and the translator Rietje Sint and HD Ontwerp and the illustrator have given their cooperation for a ‘friend’s price’, with the best interest of the youth of Sint Maarten in mind. OBA OBA owner has facilitated with the usage of their cozy room, and allowed to transform it into a scary house.

Morales: ‘I got already enthusiastic reactions from the schools, that they cannot wait to have us visiting them and mentioned that the books are such a great welcome in a time that Sint Maarten is recovering from the devastating hurricane Irma. We of Beyond Kultura Events Foundation are always happy to see all those happy faces in the schools.


Transformation towards sustainable and resilient society for all

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – Persons with disabilities according to the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF), defines disability as an umbrella term for impairments, activity limitations and participation restrictions.

Disability is the interaction between individuals with a health condition (e.g. cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and depression) and personal and environmental factors (e.g. negative attitudes, inaccessible transportation and public buildings, and limited social supports).

Over a billion people are estimated to live with some form of disability. This corresponds to about 15% of the world's population. Between 110 million (2.2%) and 190 million (3.8%) people 15 years and older have significant difficulties in functioning. Furthermore, the rates of disability are increasing in part due to ageing populations and an increase in chronic health conditions.

Disability is extremely diverse. While some health conditions associated with disability result in poor health and extensive health care needs, others do not. However all people with disabilities have the same general health care needs as everyone else, and therefore need access to mainstream health care services.

Article 25 of the Unite Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) reinforces the right of persons with disabilities to attain the highest standard of health care, without discrimination.

The Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department in the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA), says in the Americas, about 140 million people live with any type of disability.

People with disabilities face barriers to inclusion in all aspects of life: education, employment, social and political life and health. As a result, many persons with disabilities do not enjoy access to society on an equal basis with others. Sometimes, stigma and discrimination are the greatest barrier to the full and equal participation of people with disabilities, including the access to health services.

CPS urges the community to work with local organizations who represent people with disabilities in order to make the transformation towards sustainable and resilient society for all a reality.

In 2017, significant progress has been made to improve access to healthcare for persons with disabilities and continue working towards Pan American Health Organizations (PAHO) Action Plan on Disability and Rehabilitation 2014-2019.

This Action Plan underwent its midway review at the 29th Pan American Sanitary Conference, and the advancement was noted by several member states. Other key achievements have included Chile became the first country of the Region to conduct the Model Disability Survey – which used its findings to help revise policies, laws and activities across the country.

On 28 November 2017, PAHO signed a collaboration agreement with Special Olympics to increase attention and action on inclusive health for persons with intellectual disabilities, including promotion of physical activity.

In addition to that, the first two regional meetings on rehabilitation took place in Sao Paulo in November of this year which focused on leadership and health information respectively, with the participation of representatives from across the region.

The leadership meeting included representatives from the mental health sector to bring more attention to the importance of psychosocial rehabilitation.

These regional meetings follow on from the significant WHO initiative for "Rehabilitation 2030", which was launched in February this year. More meetings are being planned for 2018 in the areas of workforce and assistive technology.


Enforcement actions ILT and RWS at BOPEC on Bonaire

BONAIRE - Bonaire Petroleum Corporation N.V. (BOPEC) has until January 5th, 2018 to prove that they can deal with the serious arrears in maintenance. If they are not able to accomplish this, the company will have to empty its  fuel tanks and pipes at the beginning of February 2018 under onders from the Living Environment and Transport Inspectorate (Inspectie Leefomgeving en Transport (ILT)).

This enforcement coincides with the enforcement of Rijkswaterstaat (RWS) that is focused on the use of the BOPEC piers. With no prospect of improvement, BOPEC can no longer load or unload fuels from ships as of May 2018. The ILT and RWS states  this in two letters to the oil storage company on behalf of the Minister and State Secretary for Infrastructure and Water Management.

BOPEC is a storage company for fuel oil that has been established on Bonaire since 1974. The company has an environmental permit since 2014, but suffers serious delays in the maintenance of storage tanks, piers, pipes and electrical installations. This leads to major safety and environmental risks.

The ILT and RWS warned BOPEC during their inspections in April 2017, upon which the company has drawn up a recovery plan, the so-called 'terminal recovery plan'. However, BOPEC, a subsidiary of the Venezuelan PDVSA, does not have sufficient financial resources to implement this plan.

BOPEC also supplies the fuel for the Bonaire power plant. In order to be able to continue to guarantee this delivery, a Taskforce has been instituted with representation of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy (EZK), Ministry of Internal Affairs and Kingdom Relations (BZK) and the Infrastructure and Water Management (IenW) working closely together with the Public Entity of Bonaire. In addition, the Taskforce is also working on a structural improvement of Bonaire's energy supply.

Since 2013 inspections have been carried out at the three storage and transshipment companies for fuels on Bonaire (BOPEC, Curoil Hato and Curoil Airport), because the island became a  Public Entity in 2010. These inspections are carried out jointly by the ILT with RWS and the fire department  (Safety Region Rotterdam Rijnmond on behalf of the Brandweer Korps Caribisch Nederland). (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)


Road paving and patch works to be carried out next week

POND ISLAND - On Monday and Tuesday December 11th and 12th the road to Point Blanche from the St. Peters Battery until the entrance of Point Blanche will be milled and then paved.

On Wednesday and Thursday December 13th and 14th the patch works will take place on most roads of the island.

These works will be carried out by Windward Roads NV and we ask all motorists to take the necessary precautions as there will be people working on the roads.

The Ministry of VROMI apologizes for any inconveniences that the motorist and road users may encounter during this time.


Traffic accident claims rise 8%, but there are 20% more collisions with animals

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The number of traffic accident claims processed by Dutch insurance companies soared 8% to just over 900,000 last year, the Dutch insurers’ association VvV said on Thursday.

The rise in claims by private car drivers was even higher at 10%, taking the total to 625,000, the VvV said. Insurers say economic growth has boosted road traffic and this is the main reason behind the increase.

In addition, people drove more kilometres in their cars, the VvV said. There was also a sharp increase in the number of collisions with wild animals reported to insurance companies.

Despite efforts to drastically reduce the number of deer and wild boar in the Netherlands, in 2016 drivers reported just under 8,000 accidents involving animals – a rise of 20% on 2015. (DutchNews)


COCI celebrates the Christmas Season with 5th edition “Christmas Street Fair 2017” on December 16

PHILIPSBURG - The St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce & Industry (COCI) is once again holding its annual Christmas Street Fair. This is the prime time to visit the Philipsburg area right before the Christmas shopping rush to get some shopping done.

With musical entertainment and various desserts on sale, this fair is an ideal shopping opportunity for the entire family. Residents and visitors are all invited to come out and enjoy the real Caribbean spirit of Christmas.

The Cannegieter Street, starting from the Windward Island Bank to the intersection by the St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce will become a Christmas haven for this upcoming festive season. The 5th edition of the COCI Christmas Street Fair is from 9:00am to 8:00pm on December 16th, 2017.

The St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce & Industry is giving various vendors the chance to sell their goods during this event. Vendors interested in obtaining a booth are urged to pick up an application form at COCI on the C.A. Cannegieter Street #11, Philipsburg.

Deadline for booth registrations is December 11th, 2017 

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