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CFT: Improving of financial management remains a point of concern

BONAIRE - The Board of financial supervision Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (Cft) during its visit to Bonaire on June 20th advised the Executive Council and the Island Council to "exert themselves for a prompt and complete implementation of the recommended new processes and procedures in order to achieve improvement of financial management. This calls for continued governmental attention," Cft Chairman Age Bakker stated.

During its visit the Board met with the Lieutenant Governor, the Executive Council and the Island Council.

The Cft is pleased to observe that there is a thriving economic development on Bonaire. The challenge is to turn this into good quality jobs for the population, which in turn will offer a broad-based economic perspective on the future. In this regard, the Cft has emphasized the importance of governmental stability. That is an absolute necessity for investors’ trust.

The Cft again seeks attention for the improvement of financial management. The Cft observes that steps have been taken to revise and tighten existing procedures and processes, but the implementation of the recommendations as reflected in the financial management reports is still insufficient.

The ambition that Bonaire has expressed in favor of obtaining an unqualified auditor's report for the 2017 financial statements is practically no longer feasible. For the 2018 financial statements this may be attainable if indeed the recommendations from the financial management reports are fully addressed.

The Cft has pointed out to the Executive Council the need to implement short-term financial management measures and to fulfill a number of crucial job vacancies. The Executive Council has acknowledged the need for this action and also promised to have it finalized it by the end of the year.

Furthermore, the Executive Board discussed the first progress report of 2017 and the two budget adaptations that have recently been proposed. The first budget adaptation mainly contained technical changes. In the second budget adaptation, the Executive Council presented a number of policy proposals, including investment in the infrastructure and the promotion of Bonaire abroad.

The Cft also paid a work visit to the Caribbean Netherlands Pension Fund (PCN). The PCN faces a complex transition problem due to the new monitoring regime, whilst dealing with a substandard coverage level.

This visit of Cft to Bonaire was to discuss the results for the first quarter as well as to address the departure of the current Chairman, Age Bakker as of July 1, 2017, and the introduction of the incoming Chairman Raymond Gradus. The departing Chairman looks back on a successful cooperation with Bonaire.

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Hoorn sex attacker tracked down by his victim is jailed for 12 months

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – A 28-year-old Somali national from Hoorn has been jailed for 18 months, six suspended, for sexual assault after his victim tracked him down via her stolen mobile phone.

Mohammed M had admitted dragging his 28-year-old victim into woods and assaulting her. The public prosecution had called for a 32 month jail term. The man has also been told to undergo therapy and banned from using alcohol and drugs for two years.

It is unclear what effect the verdict will have on the man’s residency status, Dutch media said. Junior justice minister Klaas Dijkhoff has said that refugees who are jailed for more than six months can lose their residency permit.

His victim was able to trace M because he stole her mobile phone during the attack and had used it to make calls and selfies. She traced the phone using the Find my iPhone app, told the police and showed them photographs of the man she claims attacked her.

However, the police did not act on her evidence and it took a further two months before he was arrested following a dna match. (DutchNews)

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Public Entity Bonaire and SZW jointly set-up service counter for citizens

BONAIRE - Joint consultation hours in the barios provided by employees of the Public Entity Bonaire and the Central Government brings the service counter closer to the citizen as of June 27th. The pilot will start in Rincon.

It concerns service counters of the Social Support and Job Placement [Maatschappelijke Ondersteuning en Arbeidsbemiddeling (MOA)] department of the Public Entity Bonaire and of the Income Support [Onderstand] department of the RCN Social Affairs and Labour Unit [Sociale Zaken Werkgelegenheid (SZW)].

MOA and SZW want to collaborate in order to reach all residents of Bonaire and to offer them the support which is required to submit an application.

The consultation hours are intended to physically reduce the distance for citizens and to lower the threshold for help. It also prevents that citizens have to go to different service counters. 

During the consultation hours the MOA will handle applications for social support, for example in the form of water, electricity, school supplies and child day care. In addition, MOA can help in the area of integration into the workforce. One can for example register as a job seeker and where possible immediate mediation will be offered to find an available job vacancy.

SZW can handle questions, applications and changes for general and special income support (this is for persons with an income below the legal minimum wage of $820 per month). However, pensioners can also go to the consultation hours for questions and changes regarding the AOV [Algemene Ouderdomsverzekering; General Retirement Insurance] benefit.

The Public Entity Bonaire and the RCN SZW Unit are jointly responsible for support to vulnerable citizens. These extra consultation hours will show the citizens of Rincon how they can use the (legal) available facilities.

Depending on the results of this pilot, MOA and SZW will decide whether it is possible to also launch joint consultation hours in other barios. Of course, all citizens can also continue to attend the regular consultation hours in the town centre.

This important collaboration at local level is warmly welcomed by Commissioner Nina den Heyer and Kingdom Representative Gilbert Isabella.

They will be present on Tuesday, June 27th from 09:00 to 10:00 hours to open the consultation hours with a festive kick-off. Everyone who is interested is welcome to be present that morning at the sub administration office on Kaya Miguel Pourier. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)

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Indian international school group Amity to open in Amstelveen

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Indian international school group Amity is opening a branch in Amstelveen and hopes to have 100 pupils by the start of the next academic year, the Parool said on Thursday.

The Amity International School Amsterdam will start off as a primary school but hopes to expand to 500 pupils across all age groups by 2021. The school will be located in the former Van Leer headquarters on the Amsterdamseweg.

The Parool says Amity, which has schools in 12 countries, plans to invest €6m in rebuilding the property, which is a listed building. Amstelveen and Amsterdam city councils have pledged to invest €2.5m while a similar amount will come from national government.

Earlier this year, economic affairs Minister Henk Kamp said €10.7m had been earmarked to boost the number of international school places in Amsterdam and The Hague. The waiting lists for existing international schools are said to be disadvantaging Amsterdam in attracting new foreign investment. (DutchNews)

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Seventh Day Adventist Church March set for Saturday. Drive with Caution

BELVEDERE, (DCOMM) – Ministry of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Development and Infrastructure (Ministry VROMI), announces that the Seventh Day Adventist Churches have received a permit for their ‘March of Witness’ that will take place on Saturday, June 24.

The march will take place between 3.30pm and 5.30pm.  Motorists are advised to drive with caution during the aforementioned time.

The route that the marchers will follow is from the Dutch Quarter Community Center on to the Zorg en Rust road in the direction of the A.Th. Illidge road; making a left turn on to the A. Th. Illidge road at the intersection heading in the direction to Belvedere; entering the Belvedere area in the vicinity of the Red Cross homes and ending at the Esphesus Seventh Day Adventist Church via a few side roads in Belvedere. 

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Ministry of VROMI Launches New FREE Mobile APP

PHILIPSBURG -  The Ministry of VROMI has launched a new mobile app to keep the people of Sint Maarten more informed about the happenings within the Ministry.

The Ministry of VROMI app is the one place that you can be connected to all media platforms the Ministry is associated with, such as: The Ministry of VROMI Facebook page, the Government of Sint Maarten Facebook page as well as the official Government of Sint Maarten website.

The Ministry of VROMI app was made in such a way that it is user friendly to everyone with a smartphone or tablet,

The Ministry of VROMI app user will be able to keep up to date with all press releases and news feeds from the Ministry of VROMI Facebook page. The user will also get notifications of urgent happenings in the Ministry, such as road closures and updates on new projects.

The app provides easy access to all the services the Ministry provides. One can also submit a complaint by sending short messages with a complaint and get in contact with the Ministry of VROMI directly.

The Ministry of VROMI app is available on Google play and the I store.

Honorable Minister Christopher Emmanuel has expressed his excitement about the app. He is dedicated to serving the people of Sint Maarten and this app is just another tool to help accomplish this goal. 

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Tourist Bureau calls on Graphic Artists and Designers to Participate in CTO Logo Design Competition

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – The St. Maarten Tourist Bureau (STB) is calling on local Graphic Artists and Designers to participate in the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) Sustainable Tourism Awards Logo Design Competition.

CTO created the Caribbean Sustainable Tourism Awards aimed at identifying and showcasing Sustainable Tourism Good Practices in the Caribbean.

Designers and graphic artists aged 18 and over can make their mark on the Caribbean Sustainable Tourism Awards. This is your chance to design the Awards Logo in support of the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s (CTO) Work Programme, and is an opportunity to win bragging rights in an initiative that celebrates sustainability champions in tourism – the most important industry in our region.

The Awards recognize individuals, groups, organizations or companies in any CTO Member Country which have developed responsible and unique tourism products, or are engaged in implementing tourism-related initiatives which embrace sustainability principles and core values.

Without question, recognized initiatives also help to enhance national tourism product offerings and advance sustainable and responsible tourism in the Caribbean, CTO points out.

There are currently seven (7) Sustainable Tourism Award Categories namely: Excellence in Sustainable Tourism; Destination Stewardship; Sustainable Accommodation; Community Benefit; Heritage Protection; Biodiversity Conservation; and Agro-Tourism.

This Logo Design Competition is open to nationals of CTO member countries, aged 18 years or older. Submissions are due by 5PM (AST) on Friday 30th June 2017, and a final selection will be announced by Monday 17th July 2017.

For competition guidelines, technical requirements, submission guidelines etc., go to the following link on the CTO website (www.onecaribbean.org) http://www.onecaribbean.org/st-awards-logo-design-competition/

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Code red fire warning for northern Brabant heathlands as drought continues

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Fire brigade officials on Wednesday issued a code red alert for Brabant and Zeeland, saying the risk of fire in the region’s forests and heathlands has become ‘extremely high’.

Code red means that a fire could take hold and develop in an unpredictable fashion with considerable speed. Much of the rest of the country, including Utrecht and northern parts of Noord-Holland, remain on code amber, where the risk of fire remains high, according to website Natuurbrandrisico.

Much of the Netherlands is extremely dry following weeks with little or no rain and high temperatures. The KNMI weather bureau is expecting the temperature to rise to as high as 36 degrees in the south on Thursday.

Although cooler weather is forecast for Friday and the weekend, it is still likely to be above 25 degrees in the south. The high temperatures have also forced water boards to take steps to keep water levels sufficiently high to ensure dykes do not dry out and that salt levels do not rise in rivers.

This could have an impact on farmers who use river water for their crops and livestock. Officials are also alert to the risk of potentially harmful algal blooms in lakes and ponds, news agency ANP said. (DutchNews)

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International Yoga Day 2017 to be celebrated on Sunday June 25

MARIGOT, St. Martin - The Indian Merchants Association (IMA) in conjunction with AISM is proud to announce the celebration of Yoga day in St. Martin. 

The International Yoga Day initiative was conceived by Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi to launch a special day for yoga practitioners across the world.

More than 170 countries including USA, Canada, China, UAE and KSA have supported this event including 175 nations that co-sponsored this resolution, making it the highest number of co-sponsors ever for any UNGA (United Nations General Assesmbly) resolution of such nature.

On December 11, 2014, the 193-member UN General Assembly approved by consensus; a resolution establishing June 21st as ‘International Day of Yoga’ – a proud moment for Indians.

“We request the St. Maarten Community to show up in numbers and support this initiative,” an IMA call to action said on Tuesday. 

Venue: 

SPORTS AUDITORIUM

'Francois Matthew' - Galisbay, St. Martin

Date and Time: 

Sunday June 25, 2017.

10AM - 12PM

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St. Maarten Toastmasters continues to soar within Caribbean

SINT MAARTEN/BARBADOS - St. Maarten Toastmasters continue to soar as they maintain strong presence in the leadership of District 81.  Toastmasters International is a world leader in communication and leadership development

District 81, which encompasses all Caribbean islands, hosted its May 2017 conference on the island of Barbados, during which the international speech contest and elections for district leaders took place.

The prominence of territory St. Maarten did not go unnoticed as its Toastmasters were elected and/or nominated in key leadership positions in the District.  Thus, congratulations are certainly in order and extended to the following persons (in alphabetical order of first name):

seaton

Mrs. Alicia Etienne-Seaton, dual member of the Disciples and Evolution Toastmasters clubs, and dubbed “the energizer bunny” by her peers because of her unfailing consistency and commitment to serve, was elected as Area Director. She will endeavor to help her fellow Toastmasters understand the core values of the Organization and promises to do her outmost to create awareness of the Toastmasters educational program because she believes that learning active listening techniques through Toastmasters assists greatly in conflict resolution.  Less conflict equates into a better community.

brenda

Ms. Brenda Maynard, member of the civil servants’ Soualiga Corporate Toastmasters Club and 2015 recipient of the coveted Triple Crown award, was elected as Division E Director.  She will be guiding Area Directors for clubs on the islands of Anguilla, Antigua, USVI, BVI, St. Martin French and Dutch, St. Eustatius, St. Kitts & Nevis.

TM Maynard expresses a huge thank you to the outgoing Division E Director, Kathia Magdeleine, for her dedicated work, accomplishments and assistance.  She aims to motivate and assist her Area Directors in achieving their greatest potential through club and membership development, as she “will have big shoes to fill!”

 

lake

Ms. Daisiray ‘Tracy’ Lake was appointed Administration Manager for District 81, succeeding Ms. Delice Connor from Anguilla.

Having a sensational desire for self-improvement she intends to complete her administrative tasks accurately and timely while gaining a comprehensive understanding of the responsibilities of her fellow district leaders.

peters

Mrs. Patricia Peters, dual member of the Disciples and Cupecoy Toastmasters clubs, faced her fear of public speaking by representing the territory in front of hundreds of people in the international speech contest.  The “experience was phenomenal and made her a better person”.

tamara

Ms. Tamara Groeneveldt, President of the Soualiga Corporate Toastmasters Club, was elected as Area Director and aims to actively do her best to firmly strengthen the clubs by assessing their current functioning and obtaining all the help, ideas, and advice from the wealth of resources within her reach, all while building rapport with members.  Ms. Groeneveldt also plans to accompany her efforts “with lots of prayers”.

All district leaders will officially begin their tenure on July 1st 2017.  Outgoing leaders from Territory St. Maarten are: Area Director Vernicia Brooks, Area Director Elroy Hughes and Area Director Priscilla Bell.

For more information about toastmasters and means of joining a club kindly visit https://www.toastmasters.org/find-a-club or contact TM Brenda Maynard, Division E Director Elect at +1721-527-2884 for more information on joining or visiting a club, or to enquire on establishing a company corporate club. 

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