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Students visit NV GEBE Water Lab

PHILIPSBURG – A group of Learning Unlimited Primary School Grade 4 students under the Supervision of Teach Yoly Hawley and Teacher Natacha, got the chance to visit NV GEBE's Water Lab recently according to NV GEBE in recognition of World Water Day 2017.

World Water Day is celebrated worldwide on March 22 each year as a means of focusing attention on the importance of water.

The Grade 4 class had the opportunity to see and assist in testing the drinking water that we drink, NV GEBE reported.

The presentations were given by the wonderful and vibrant group at the Water Lab, Deliece Parry, Elcidro Lambert and Angelo Remy.

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Second vessel breaks mooring and comes ashore

SABA – A second vessel grounded itself along the south coast of Saba.  Last Thursday what has been described as a research/survey vessel named Elsa, ended up along the coastline of Ladder Bay.

There were reports of diesel leaking from the vessel.  A number of dive spots are located off shore. 

The Saba Conservation Foundation and the Government of Saba are reportedly dealing with the situation.

The Ladder Bay area is a designated anchorage area for visiting yachts and other motorised vessels.  This is the second grounding within a short span.  On March 18, a French sailing yacht was pulled off the rocks in the same area.

The Elsa is 48 meters in length and has a gross tonnage of 353. 

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CPS has three successful Oral Health Events that involved toddlers, seniors and teens

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – In commemoration of World Oral Health Day, celebrated on March 20th, the Department of Collective Prevention Services (CPS) kicked off the events program with an outreach activity for clients of the Sr. Basilia Center, White and Yellow Cross Care Foundation, located in St. Johns.

The theme for this year is “Live Mouth Smart”. The committee organizing the celebration has developed a week long schedule of activities, starting at the Sr. Basilia Center.

For the 2nd day the closing and award ceremony of a coloring competition for toddlers and their parents was on schedule, while on the 3rd day an outreach at the Afternoon program of the No Kidding with our Kids Foundation ASA took place.

For this year, CPS decided to pay special attention to special needs groups like the clients of Sr. Basilia Center and patients of the Mental Health Foundation.

Those being catered to will receive a free dental check up in the CPS Dental Mobile Bus.

The kick off was opened by the minister of Public Health, Social Affairs and Labour (VSA), Honorable Minister Emile Lee, the Secretary General of VSA, Joy Arnell and CPS Department head Dr. Virginia Asin-Oostburg to an excited crowd of Sr. Basilia clients.

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SOS Radio 95.5FM gets its own App

MARIGOT, St. Martin - SOS Radio 95.9FM which is located in the heart of Marigot, the capital of French St. Martin, continues to serve its listeners, therefore it is a pleasure to introduce our new app, SOS said on Friday in a press statement.

“This app was created to keep the listeners connected no matter where they are. It provides information on our daily programs, live streaming, our location, contact information and much more.

“Our app can be accessed on android and app store by typing sosradio959 in the search engines.”

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La Samanna, Saturday March 25, Moet & Chandon Luncheon & Beach Party

LOW LANDS, St. Martin - Belmond La Samanna St Martin & Moet & Chandon present a day of exceptional gastronomic creations by Chef extraordinaire Serge Gouloumes.

Enjoy incredible Food & Champagne pairings including a delicious fresh lobster salad topped with mango, avocado & Moet Ice Caviar $24, followed by a poached scallop entree with sweet potatoes & a special Moet Ice Sauce $29 and a sensational Moet Ice Fruit soup $12 to finish it off!

Moet & Chandon Premium Champagne bar will be presenting Champagne Bottle & by the Glass Specials, Moet Ice Imperial $15 glass, $90 bottle, Moet Ice Rose $17 glass, $110 bottle.

Available this Saturday, March 25th, to enjoy during this elegant, relaxing Caribbean experience.

Lunch will be served from 12 noon until 4pm, Fashion Show at 1pm, with live deejay on drums. Beautiful Moet & Chandon girls will be topping off your Moet Ice glasses with your choice of fresh fruit in true Moet Ice Fashion.

Dancers will be performing late afternoon into the evening.

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Front Street Closed on Friday from 8.00AM

PHILIPSBURG - In connection with the funeral of Annick Arrindell who was a member of the Sint Maarten Police Force and the “Around the Town Jump Up” which are scheduled for Friday March 24, Front Street will be closed at the intersection Long wall road- Front Street- Little Bay road from 8.00 a.m. until the jump up has completely passed through Front Street.

All alleys leading from Back Street to Front Street will also be closed for these events. Only the School Steeg and Hotel Steeg (L’escargot alley) will be opened for parents to drop off at and pick up their children from the Oranje School during school hours.

All residents, business owners and Hotel/Motel owners and managers are requested to take good note of this information in order to inform their clients of these measures. No motor vehicles are allowed to park on Front Street during this period. (Police Force Sint Maarten)

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NOMINATION PERIOD FOR VACANT BOARD POSITION BEGINS MARCH 27

PHILIPSBURG - One (1) position on the Board of the St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce & Industry (COCI) has become vacant and this position will be filled by one (1) candidate elected through the upcoming bi-election.

Postulation Period for the filling of this position shall be from:

March 27th, 2017 - April 11th, 2017 at 12.00 noon

COCI informs the business community of St. Maarten, that nomination forms will be available from March 27th, 2017 at the St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce.

These forms must be submitted to COCI no later than Tuesday, April 11th, 2017 at 12:00p.m.

We want to advise all businesses who want to take part in the bi-election to first settle their outstanding bills at The Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

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InselAir pursues its stabilization plan. Airlines reports improvement in on-time performance to SXM

SINT MAARTEN/CURACAO - As the stabilization plan is unfolding, InselAir is happy to report an important improvement on its on-time performance on routes between the ABC-islands and St. Maarten as well as a great support from the local communities that it is serving.

Recent observations strongly indicate that passengers are reassured and very happy by the performance of InselAir Curacao. The entire team of InselAir is grateful for this show of trust from the travelling public.

On time performance

The measures taken by InselAir’s Management as part of the stabilization plan have resulted in an increased on-time performance with an average of over 90% over the last weekend.

“The markets that we are now serving, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao and St. Maarten, are again able to travel between the islands making use of a reliable air transportation. The observed load factors are a strong indication that InselAir Curacao is in the process of rebuilding its brand and that its loyalty-base is still very strong among the traveling communities of our main Dutch Caribbean market”, says InselAir’s Curacao CEO. Mr. Filiatreault.

“It is very gratifying for our personnel to see the results but more importantly, the satisfaction of our customers. We would like to express our most sincere gratitude to our supporters and other passengers for choosing InselAir Curacao for their travel needs. We are committed to be around for a long time.” concludes Filiatreault.

Safety first culture

Over the last few weeks, several international representatives of Holland, of the United Kingdom and of the United States have recommended that their governmental staff refrain from traveling on “InselAir”.

This recommendation created a mass confusion in the market place which was caused by the fact that there are two sister companies, InselAir International (Curacao based) and InselAir Aruba (Aruba based).

“It is the MD fleet of InselAir Aruba that was grounded by the Department of Civil Aviation Aruba. It is to be well noted that InselAir Curacao did not have at any time one of its fleet or aircraft grounded by the Curacao Civil Aviation Authorities. Therefore, this recommended general ban was based on ungrounded and unresearched facts and fueled by inaccurate and to some extend against false speculations,” says Mr. Filiatreault. Filiatreault continues, “Once more InselAir Curacao firmly restates that its operational fleet is airworthy and safe to fly and that the airline complies with the highest safety and security standards in the industry.

InselAir takes great pride in offering safe air transportation to its passengers and in providing a safe working environment to its employees. The inaccurate publications have impacted severely on the financial results of the company”, according to Filiatreault.

Stabilization plan

InselAir Curacao is proceeding swiftly with the stabilization plan. In accordance with the plan, release notices were issued to several employees with immediate effect. These releases were performed in accordance with the labor laws and directives of the Labor Department of Curacao.

We would like to deny rumors that are currently circulating that we are not proceeding according to the law. Contrary to the news we did not submit any names yet to SOAW, this will be handled according to the time granted to us by the law. We would like to emphasize that we are in constant communication with SOAW.

Furthermore, all employees who have been released will continue receiving their salary until the approval of SOAW has been received by InselAir up to which they will receive their outstanding dues.

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Compliance Controls Remains a Priority for Government. Lee says disrespectful and unlawful behavior must be addressed sternly

POND ISLAND – Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labour Emil Lee along with Minister of Finance Richard Gibson Sr. and Minister of Justice Rafael Boasman held a follow-up debriefing meeting regarding the compliance controls carried out on March 10, 2017 with representatives from Social & Health Insurances SZV, the Police Department, Tax Department, and the Inspectorate of the Ministry Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA).

“Improving compliance is a process that touches all of the ministries, and current efforts have the support of the Council of Ministers. Current controls have shown that there are individuals occupying positions without the proper documentation in place. Positions such as sales, bartender, waiter/waitress, and cook are positions that locals can occupy”, stated Minister Lee

One of the main challenges identified in the meeting was the need to improve communications between the various departments. Every department has very specific responsibilities and authorities that, at times, create barriers to the exchange of information.

Overall collaborative strategies were discussed to find the most efficient and effective method to improve compliance. “Compliant businesses or businesses that are genuinely working to become fully complaint will find a government that is receptive and cooperative.”

“We are here to educate and help you become more compliant. “Those that demonstrate a blatant disregard of our people and our laws will find a government that is fully committed to improving compliance.

Minister Lee stated that disrespectful and unlawful behavior must be addressed sternly. Otherwise, we are setting a precedent that disobedience is tolerated.” This unacceptable behavior undermines the fabric of our community. There are too many people, especially young adults, searching for work and every position that is held by an undocumented non-compliant worker is an opportunity for employment that can be held by a local.”

From the controls last we there have already been some positive results; such as one business that has already hired a number of locals to fill positions in their business. A number of businesses have expressed their gratitude for the efforts of compliance, as they are unable to compete on an unlevelled playing field. Businesses that are complaint with the law, paying their taxes and various social premiums, find it difficult to compete against businesses that are non-complaint.

Government is in the process of pursuing a number of identified uncollected revenues. An interesting development is that we are now receiving tips to check certain businesses that may also be non-compliant.

We are in the process of handling those while working on an overall strategy. Minister Lee recommended that the community remain proactive about becoming compliant and encouraged visiting the ministry’s website, www.ministryvsa.sx, to make sure that you have an understanding of the rules and regulations surrounding compliance.

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Vocational Education Saba and St. Eustatius trained in CBET test

SABA/ST. EUSTATIUS - In the past two weeks the first teachers of vocational education on Saba and St. Eustatius participated in an "Assessor training workshop". The aim of the workshop was to train the teachers in the planning and use of testing, based on the CBET (Competence Based Education and Training) testing methodology.

Learning to work with this way of testing forms part of the transition to the vocational education system CVQ (Caribbean Vocational Qualification) of the CXC (Caribbean Examination Council) education.

Typical of the CBET methodology is to focus on the skills, so what should the student be able to do at the end of the run. The competencies are based on the requirements of the business c.q. that employers make to their staff. Participants were familiarized during training in the key methodology of CBET and what the system expects of both the teacher and the student. The teachers were Dawn Gill and Daniel Best of the TVET Council Barbados (vocational education council).

According to participant and team leader PrO Brian Carty, the course was especially useful for teachers to learn keys to create tests themselves: "In the Dutch system, teachers make extensive use of existing tests that are offered for different methods and on websites. As a result, most teachers could use some training in creating tests themselves."

An important feature of the new system, according to biology/chemistry teacher, René Pas, is that it is very thorough. "Where a pupil in the Dutch system also has succeeded with an 8 or a 9, in this system he or she must demonstrate compliance on each alleged competence."

According to him it brings more work with it: both teachers and pupils have to track their progress in a so-called "portfolio". On the other hand, he thinks  it is positive that everything is documented as well, which brings along  that discussions on study results are no longer on the agenda.

In the coming weeks the participants will work out a number of commands in a so-called "portfolio" in the daily practice of their work. These must be sent to Barbados for review. In May, the teachers will have the opportunity to defend their portfolios via Skype Calls. Teachers who do this successfully will be certified as "assessor". (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)

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