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Pedestrian crossing and speed bump painting on February 26

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – Ministry of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Development and Infrastructure (Ministry VROMI), announces that on Sunday, February 26, personnel from the Infrastructure Department will paint pedestrian crossings and speed bumps at a number of locations.

These works will be carried out from 6.30am to 5.00pm.

The locations where the works will take place are: pedestrian crossing at Freedom Round-a-bout/Sundial School; pedestrian crossing Salt Pickers Round-a-bout/Police Station; speed bumps at Chesterfields; and speed bumps at the Coralita road.

Ministry VROMI apologizes for any inconveniences this may cause.

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Attention ALL GED Exam students April 7 Deadline to Complete GED Exams at USM Approaches

POND ISLAND - As of May 1, 2017 the new General Educational Development (GED) Exam that has been rolled out in the U.S. since January 1, 2014 will be implemented internationally, thereby also being available and offered by the University of St. Martin (USM).

USM is urging all persons that need to complete the current exams to do so before the fast approaching deadline Friday April 7, 2017 as spaces are limited. If a candidate failed an exam within the current testing system and does not retake and successfully complete their GED prior to the stated deadline, they will need to re-sit all exams in the new 2014 GED Exam system.

For more information visit www.GED.com/international or contact the GED Coordinator, Ms. Micaela Hart, at +1 721 542-5171 ext. 1000 or 2002, or via email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The University of St. Martin’s Pearson Vue Test Center will work on finalizing the preparations for the change after the deadline.

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Another suspect detained in Ostrich-investigation related to trafficking and human smuggling

PHILIPSBURG - On Wednesday morning, February 22, 2017 the suspect B.B. (..) has been arrested in the Ostrich-investigation, according to a joint press release from the Public Prosecution Service and the Police on Wednesday.

“She is suspected of bribing one or more immigration officials and human smuggling. The arrest is part of a lengthy investigation that has been ongoing since April 2016, code-named Ostrich.

“It concerns an investigation carried out by the Unit Human Trafficking and Human Smuggling of the St. Maarten Police Force, KPSM into illegal admittance of amongst others Jamaicans, Haitians and Guyanese.

“On January 17, 2017 two employees of the immigration service, K.L.M.B. and A.A.D. were already arrested in the same investigation. Before that another employee of the immigration service, J.M. was arrested on November 14, 2016. They are suspected of human smuggling, bribery and abuse of their post.

“All three employees of the immigration service are still detained. J.M.’s partner, D.F. who was also arrested has been released from pre-trial detention. He remains a suspect in the ongoing investigation. The investigation continues.”

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College University 101: The Canadian System. Workshop scheduled for February 28

PHILIPSBURG -- Leaving home to pursue higher education can be an intimidating experience for those looking to further their studies. Those who arrive equipped with an understanding of how the college/university system works are better prepared for the challenges that lay ahead.

The Student Support Services Division (SSSD) of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Affairs aspires to educate both parents and students alike about the academic opportunities available in Canada.

We will be conducting a workshop entitled College or University 101: “The Canadian System”. It will be held on February 28th, 2017 at the SSSD’s office from 5:30pm to 6:30pm. Spaces are limited, therefore any persons interested in attending are urged to contact SSSD’s office at 54-31235 to reserve a spot.

The workshop will be interactive and free. It is open to students in their last two years of secondary school or recent graduates and their parents who are interested in studying in Canada.  

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Plenary Session of Parliament about draft initiative national ordinances concerning timeshare on Wednesday

PHILIPSBURG – The House of Parliament will sit in a plenary public session on February 22, 2017. The initiative taker of these two drafts, Member of Parliament Sarah A. Wescot-Williams will be answering and queries from Members of Parliament on these two drafts.

The plenary public meeting has been set for Wednesday at 2.00 pm in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelminastraat #1 in Philipsburg. This session can be viewed on Soualiga Newsday live video feed.

The agenda points are:

1.  Incoming documents

2.  Draft initiative national ordinance to revise the rules pertaining timeshare

3.  Draft initiative national ordinance to establish a Timeshare Authority

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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CBS: Trade deficit up on Bonaire, down on Saba and Statia

SABA/ST. EUSTIUS - Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports that Bonaire’s trade deficit has risen for the second consecutive year in 2016, whereas the trade deficits on St Eustatius and Saba declined relative to 2015.

Since the first measurements were carried out in 2011, imports on Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba have exceeded exports. Production is relatively low on the islands in comparison to the European part of the Netherlands. Caribbean Netherlands has a structural trade deficit, i.e. imports exceed exports.

Higher imports and lower exports on Bonaire

Bonaire’s trade deficit amounted to 192 million dollars last year, 4 percent up from 2015. Imports of goods rose by 3.5 percent to just over 200 million dollars compared to the previous year. With nearly 9 million dollars, the value of goods exports from Bonaire was more than 8 percent lower than in 2015.

Lower imports and higher exports on Saba and St Eustatius

Trade deficits on St Eustatius and Saba were 35 and 16 million dollars respectively. The value of goods imported on St Eustatius declined by nearly 11 percent and on Saba by more than 27 percent. The export value of goods of both islands increased in 2016, resulting in smaller trade deficits than in 2015.

Imports manufactured good rise most rapidly on Bonaire

Bonaire imported manufactured goods worth 5.5 million dollars last year, one-fifth more than in 2015 and the most substantial increase of all goods categories. The import values of manufactured goods, machinery and transport equipment increased by 3 million dollars each. Imports of these goods fell to a low in 2014, but have risen since then.

The value of mineral fuels imported by Bonaire was reduced almost by half in 2016 relative to the preceding year. In 2015 the import value of mineral fuels had more than doubled.

four import areas bes

Source:

Caribisch Nederland; in-, uitvoerwaarde en handelssaldo per eiland

http://statline.cbs.nl/StatWeb/publication/?DM=SLNL&PA=82658NED

http://statline.cbs.nl/StatWeb/publication/?DM=SLEN&PA=82658ENG

Caribisch Nederland, Bonaire; in-, uitvoerwaarde en handelssaldo, SITC

http://statline.cbs.nl/StatWeb/publication/?DM=SLNL&PA=82659NED

http://statline.cbs.nl/StatWeb/publication/?DM=SLEN&PA=82659ENG

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Black History: Passing on the legacy 2017 at the Philipsburg Jubilee Library

PHILIPSBURG - The Philipsburg Jubilee Library is celebrating Black History Month for an entire week this year in February. Under its annual theme “PASSING ON OUR LEGACY” it has commenced on Saturday, February 18th and will draw to a close on Tuesday, February 28th.

On Tuesday and Wednesday the general public will have the opportunity to view documentaries about “THE MARCH”: a documentary about the stand that African Americans took for human rights and economic rights. This was one of the largest political rallies ever in the history of the United States. The library will also be displaying “SLAVERY BY ANOTHER NAME”, a documentary that challenges the belief that slavery ended with the Civil War. All documentaries can be viewed by young adults and older, from 6pm to 8pm

On Saturday, February 18th, a workshop on African Dance led by Rudolph Davis (dance instructor of NIA) was held for children ages 5 to 12. There will be another similar workshop on February 25th with Funtopia who will expose youngsters to modern aspects of African dance; from 12pm to 1pm.

The other activities that will fill the rest of the week will include the “BLACK IS THE NEW GOLD SHOW” by the Readers are Leaders platform, represented by Rotary Sun rise and the Philipsburg Jubilee Library. This activity is driven by the youth and is geared towards their fellow teenagers. The “BLACK IS THE NEW GOLD SHOW” will take place from 5pm to 7pm on Thursday 23rd, 2017

On Friday, February 24th, the public can enjoy an evening of spoken word. All poetry lovers are welcome to come out and showcase their talents. Our request is that they perform an original piece pertaining to Black History and our theme; from 6.30pm to 8.30 pm.

The week will close with the screening of the documentary by Laura Bijnsdorp “BACK IN THE DAY: SINT MAARTEN”: a documentary about the lives on Sint Maarten sixty years ago. At the end of the viewing a discussion will follow led by speakers Leonidas Friday, Chester York, and Carlson Velasquez. Their experiences will come alive from their discussion. The forefront topic of Black History will come alive in the role that St. Maarteners’ played in our version of Black History. Participation will be encouraged from the audience. It will be an evening to remember as our local heroes pass on our legacy to the next generation of people.

The Philipsburg Jubilee library is always looking for new and entertaining ways to educate the general public. “Passing on our legacy” is no different. In order to create a better future we need to understand the past. This is the sole purpose of Black History Month and our activities. Support us in our purpose as we remind everyone it’s not where we came from but where we are we are going.

Come one come all to one whole week of activity from Tuesday 21st to Tuesday 28th, there is an educational show for everyone and admission is free.

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Best-kept tourism secrets revealed according to new trends report

SINT MAARTEN/INTERNATIONAL – United Kingdom (UK) holidaymakers would splurge an extra £300 on their holiday if it included an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime sight, according to Kuoni.

The Kuoni Worldwide Trends Report, launched today, found that eight in 10 Britons expressed an interest in escaping the usual tourist traps on their next holiday. They would pay on average £300 extra for the privilege.

Spokeswoman Rachel O'Reilly, said: "Whilst the Grand Canyon, the Great Wall of China and the Taj Mahal attract thousands of visitors per year between them and remain high on people's wish lists, a generation of travellers are now seeking more secluded beauty spots.

"Beyond the main tourist attractions the world has so much to offer and we're seeing a trend for people looking for alternative places and experiences away from the famous well-trodden hotspots."

Jaffna in the North of Sri Lanka, El Nido Pangulasian Island in the Philippines and the ancient Mayan city of Yaxchilan in Mexico have made it into Kuoni's top-20 list of the world's best-kept hidden gems has.

O'Reilly added: "Although many people are happy to visit lesser-known holiday sights based on friends' recommendations, it seems they're less likely to tell others about them.

"Six in 10 of our respondents said they'd never share a travel secret with anyone else, suggesting that hidden holiday gems are very personal." (TravelMole)

The top-20 best-kept travel secrets in the world, according to Kuoni are:

Views of the Taj Mahal from Mehtab Bagh, India

The island of Gili Meno, Indonesia

El Nido Pangulasian Island, Philippines

Bukchon Village in Seoul, South Korea  

Con Dao Island, Vietnam

The hike between OIA and Imerovigli, Santorini, Greece

The island of Bequia, the Grenadines  

Tirimbina Rainforest Reserve, Costa Rica  

The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area, Virginia, USA  

Salar de Uyuni (Uyuni Salt Flats), Bolivia

The town of Matera in the Basilicata region of Italy

The koalas of Kennet River on the Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia  

Farewell Spit, New Zealand

Jaffna, north Sri Lanka

Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

Omodos Village, Cyprus

KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), South Africa

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CREATING VALUE THROUGH COOPERATION REMARKS AT THE GOVERNOR’S CONSULAR CORPS RECEPTION 2017

PHILIPSBURG - His Excellency drs. Eugene B. Holiday, Governor of Sint Maarten held his annual reception with members of the Consular Corps.  This took place at the Sheer Restaurant in Philipsburg. 

The following speech was delivered to the guests present:

Chairlady of Parliament,

Prime-Minister, Ministers

Ambassador, Consuls

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good evening,

And Welcome,

Marie-Louise and I are pleased to welcome you to this reception organized in honor of the Consular corps of Sint Maarten on the theme: Creating Value Through Cooperation. To our consuls – our honored guests – present here this evening I therefore hereby in the spirit and tradition of our Friendly Island extend a special friends welcome to you.

Esteemed Consuls,

Through these words of welcome I wish to emphasize the importance and value our people and government place on nurturing cooperation between the countries you represent and Sint Maarten. It is my intention through this annual reception to help maintain and build closer partnerships through friendship and dialogue between our people and governments.

I do so because as a small, open tourism based Caribbean nation, we recognize that there is value in international cooperation. Value created through cherished common goods such as harmony, stability and opportunity which are essential for the growth and wellbeing of our people. Being in a position to live in harmony and stability with opportunity is particularly valuable given the shared security and economic challenges we face in our globalized world.

Thus as we gather here this evening at this year’s Consular Corps reception, I wish to thank each of you for the valuable work you do for our residents, your citizens visiting or living here. That is because their interaction with our people is the best foundation for the creation of strong effective cooperation grounded in mutual understanding, friendship and lasting partnerships. That is because strong relations anchored in friendship through people-to-people contact and dialogue are the bedrock of effective partnerships and cooperation. I am as such pleased with your presence here this evening as members of the Sint Maarten Consular Corps. And even more so taking into account the travel difficulties which some of you encountered in getting here and I trust that your extra efforts will be worthwhile.

In that regard I trust that your interactions this evening with leaders and officials from our government, business and social sectors will help to further deepen the roots of the cooperation and business relations between our countries.  This builds partnerships, based on mutual understanding and mutual benefit. These partnerships in turn create value in education, in air transportation, in banking relations and in security to name a few.

Ladies and gentlemen,

In that context I believe that it is our joint obligation to continue to move forward as agents for partnerships between our countries, communicating and stimulating friendship and dialogue for mutually beneficial and valued cooperation. 

And as I leave you with that message, I look forward to creating more effective cooperation through partnership, friendship and dialogue with you.

Thank you,

God bless you and God bless Sint Maarten.

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Patch work and recapping activities to start from February 21

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – Ministry of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Development and Infrastructure (Ministry VROMI), announces that patch work and recapping of several streets will take place from February 21 to February 27.

These works will be carried out from 8.00pm to 5.00am and entails milling, excavation of the road and recapping.

The works will be carried out on sections of Cannegieter Street; the intersection of Walter Nisbeth Road/Percy Labega will be closed off completely.

At Octavius Richardson Street, a section after the entrance to Divi Little Bay Hotel up to the entrance of Belair Hotel, will be completely closed off. 

The road will be closed from ‘One Tete Lohkay’ round-a-bout and all traffic going to Philipsburg will have to take Welgelegen Road and A.J.C. Brouwers Road.  Traffic leaving Philipsburg will have to take the Walter J. Nisbeth Road.

The works will be carried out by Windward Roads.

Ministry VROMI apologizes for any inconveniences this may cause.

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