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Permanent Committee of Kingdom Affairs and Inter-Parliamentary Relations scheduled to meet on appointments

PHILIPSBURG – The Permanent Committee of Kingdom Affairs and Inter-Parliamentary Relations (CKAIR), will meet on December 12.

The CKAIR Committee meeting is scheduled for Tuesday at 09.00 am in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelminastraat #1 in Philipsburg.

The agenda point to be discussed is: Appointment of a chairman and vice-chairman of the committee.

Members of the public are invited to the House of Parliament to attend parliamentary deliberations. 

The House of Parliament is located across from the Court House in Philipsburg.

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Central Committee meeting reconvenes on status update of Government’s finances

PHILIPSBURG – The Central Committee will reconvene in an urgent session on December 12, 2017.

The urgent Central Committee meeting has been set for Tuesday at 14.00 hrs in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelminastraat #1 in Philipsburg. The Minister of Finance will be present for this meeting.

The agenda point is: Discussion on status update of Government’s finances

Members of the public are invited to the House of Parliament to attend parliamentary deliberations. 

The House of Parliament is located across from the Court House in Philipsburg.

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Registration Drive for SXM Strong Christmas Parade 2017

POND ISLAND - The Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport is holding a three day registration drive for its SXM Strong Christmas Parade 2017. The registration drive is from Monday December 11th to Wednesday December 13th 2017.

Parents interested in having their children participate in the parade can pick up a registration form at the front desk of the new Government Administration Building. Completed forms must be returned by Wednesday December 13th 2017.

The first 50 registrants will receive a Christmas costume sponsored by the Ministry.  Other registrants will still be a valuable part of the parade as they will receive a SXM Strong T- shirt and a Christmas hat.

The parade is set for December 22nd 2017 and full details of the parade will follow shortly.

The route will be focused in the Philipsburg area only. Patrons can expect to enjoy entertainment from New Generation Status Drum Band, Dow’s Ebony Steel Orchestra, Funtopia’s stilt walkers, characters such as Mickey Mouse and Elsa and Olaf from the hit children’s movie Frozen and many more.

However it would not be a Christmas parade without Mr. Santa Claus who will be accompanied by his Santa helpers.

The Ministry found it very important to continue with its original plans and still host a Christmas parade this year. Christmas festivities form part of the 2017 tasks of the Department of Culture and the Christmas parade is one of the ways that the Ministry is engaging in spreading holiday cheer to the people of St. Maarten.

The Ministry is also working together with the K1 Brittania foundation in its yearly Christmas Angel program.

Should you require more information regarding the Christmas parade, please feel free to contact Janelle Presentacion at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call at 550-8777 during working hours.

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Close windows if downwind from a landfill fire for those with respiratory challenges

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – The Collective Preventive Services (CPS), a government department under the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, is advising persons living downwind from a landfill fire, to close windows and doors, especially persons who have a respiratory challenge.

There have been of recent a number of fires on the landfill at Pond Island.  The smoke released into the air form the fire can cause allergies and irritate persons who have asthma or any other respiratory ailments.

For persons who suffer from asthma, shortness of breath, or any other respiratory challenges, take the aforementioned measure until the smoke clears from your area.

For information you can call CPS 542-2078 or 542-3003. 

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Minister calls for ‘pact’ to improve care of the elderly, cut loneliness

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Health minister Hugo de Jonge has called for a ‘pact’ on how to spend the €435m in extra cash the government has allocated to services for the elderly.

‘If grandma does not notice anything, then we have not done our job properly,’ De Jonge told the Telegraaf.

He wants care providers, social workers, volunteer organisations and local government officials to get round the table and work out a plan to reduce loneliness, improve home care services and improve the quality of nursing homes.

‘Every location needs to have an improvement plan,’ he said. In particular, nursing home residents should notice a positive change in staffing levels, he said. (DutchNews)

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Bushroad closed on Sunday December 10

POND ISLAND - Bush Road lane going into Philipsburg will be closed all day on December 10, 2017 for roadworks.

The lane from Philipsburg to St. Peters/Cole Bay will be open to the traffic.

The works will be from Sunday morning 6 AM to Monday morning 6 AM.

The Ministry of VROMI apologizes for the inconvenience.

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INSELAIR RECEIVES PERMIT TO OPERATE TO SURINAME

SINT MAARTEN/CURACAO - On Thursday, December 7th 2017, InselAir has received the formal permit from the Suriname Civil Aviation Authorities.

The flights are now opened for sale without any restriction. In line with industry practice InselAir already started selling tickets with the remark “pending government approval” before the official permit was actually granted.

This remark has now been removed on the booking site. On December 18th 2017, InselAir will start to operate two weekly flights from Curacao to Paramaribo on Mondays and Fridays.

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Government to get tough on welfare claimants who don’t speak Dutch

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Local authorities are being told they have to take action against welfare claimants who don’t speak Dutch even though sanctions are only an option in the law, the Volkskrant reported on Thursday.

Junior social affairs minister Tamara van Ark now says that local authorities must enforce the language rule which requires claimants to take Dutch lessons or face having their benefits cut.

Research last year showed that while almost all local authority areas require claimants to learn Dutch, very few actually penalised those who did not. The language requirement came into effect at the beginning of last year.

A preliminary report on the success of the measure is due early next year and a major evaluation will be carried out in 2019. (DutchNews)

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Urgent Central Committee meeting of Parliament about Draft National Ordinance Integrity Chamber

PHILIPSBURG – The House of Parliament will sit in an urgent Central Committee meeting on Friday, December 8.

The urgent Central Committee meeting is scheduled for 16.00 hrs in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelminastraat #1 in Philipsburg. The Minister of General Affairs will be present for this meeting.

The agenda point is:

Ontwerp van Landsverordening tot instelling van de Integriteitskamer, alsmede tot regeling van de inrichting, samenstelling, taken en bevoegdheden van de Integriteitskamer (Landsverordening Integriteitskamer)

Draft National Ordinance to establish the Integrity Chamber, as well as to regulate the structure, composition, duties and powers of the Integrity Chamber (National Ordinance Integrity Chamber)

Members of the public are invited to the House of Parliament to attend parliamentary deliberations. 

The House of Parliament is located across from the Court House in Philipsburg.

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CPS creates awareness about leptospirosis

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that affects both humans and animals.  Humans become infected through direct contact with the urine of infected animals or with a urine-contaminated environment.

The Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department in the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA), as part of its responsibility to increase knowledge within society, would like to use this opportunity to inform the Sint Maarten community about this infectious disease.

Outbreaks of leptospirosis have been reported following natural disasters such as flooding. The risk of infection depends on exposure. Some humans have a high risk of exposure because of their occupation, their surrounding and environment, and their lifestyle.

CPS says Sint Maarten post-hurricanes Irma and Maria does not have any cases of leptospirosis, and there have been no reports of the disease in the country.

Measures to prevent transmission of leptospirosis include the following: Wearing protective clothing (boots, gloves, spectacles, aprons, masks); Covering skin lesions with waterproof dressings.

Preventing access to, or giving adequate warning about water bodies known or suspected to be contaminated (pools, ponds, rivers). Try to avoid wading or swimming in potentially contaminated water.

Washing or showering after exposure to urine splashes or contaminated soil or water; Washing and cleaning wounds;

Avoiding or preventing urine splashes and aerosols, avoiding touching ill or dead animals, or assisting animals in giving birth.

Strictly maintaining hygienic measures during care or handling all animals; Where feasible, disinfecting contaminated areas (scrubbing floors in stables, butcheries, abattoirs, etc.); keep your surroundings in and around your home clean to avoid rodents becoming a pests; and consuming clean drinking-water.

Leptospirosis occurs worldwide, but is most prevalent in tropical and subtropical regions.

A wide variety of animal species, both wild and domestic, can serve as sources of infection for humans.

The species that are considered to be the most important include feral and peri-domestic rodents (rats, mice, voles, etc.) and domestic animals (cattle, pigs, dogs and horses).

Leptospirosis can occasionally also be transmitted through the drinking of water or ingestion of food contaminated with urine of infected animals, often rats.

The bacteria enter the body through cuts and abrasions on the skin, or through the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose and eyes.  Person-to-person transmission is rare.

The incubation period of leptospirosis is usually 5–14 days, with a range of 2–30 days. The symptoms following infection with leptospira can vary from a mild 'flu'-like illness to a serious and sometimes fatal disease.

Leptospirosis is often difficult to diagnose clinically, as it can appear to be very similar to many other diseases such as dengue, typhoid and viral hepatitis. Although the disease is a self-limiting and often clinically inapparent illness in the majority of cases, 5-15% of untreated cases can progress to a more severe and potentially fatal stage.

In the early stages of the disease, symptoms include high fever, severe headache, muscle pain, chills, redness of the eyes, abdominal pain, jaundice, haemorrhages in the skin and mucous membranes, vomiting, diarrhoea, and rash.

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