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Pre-2004 sperm donors can retain anonymity after all

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Known sperm donors from before 2004, when a law banned anonymous donation, have been given the option to remove their data despite an agreement with parents made at the time, broadcaster NOS reports. 

In an internal letter from health minister Hugo de Jonge obtained by current affairs programme Nieuwsuur, donors who had been registered as ‘known’ before the law came into force can now switch back to ‘anonymous’ making them untraceable to their children. 

According to the minister the option is part of a transitional period and part of donors’ rights before 2004. The current law obliges donors to provide their personal information. 

Nieuwsuur also found that fertility clinics had in very few cases asked their donors whether they wanted to remain anonymous or were prepared to be contacted by their children, a requisite of the law. 

They also failed to enter all data on donors and pregnancies in a central database. It now transpires that in December the health ministry and the foundation in charge of the database made a new agreement to give donors from before 2004 the option to change their mind on anonymity. 

This flies in the face of an agreement made with parents at the time that their children could request the information after they had reached the age of 16. 

Children 

‘This is not in the spirit of the 2004 law (..) which was meant to give information to donor children, not provide an escape route for donors to remain anonymous,’ Ester de Lau of Stichting Donorkind told the broadcaster. 

‘Children have the right to know who their parents are, but the law stipulates that donors from before 2004 have to give permission for their data to be shared and that creates a legal conflict,’ professor of juvenile justice Mariëlle Bruning told NOS. 

‘It is very hard on a 16-year-old to find the donor has changed his mind, but you can’t force him. We can only impress on him how important it is to the child.’ Christen Unie MP Carla Dik-Faber said the move was ‘not at all logical one’ and wants De Jonge to talk to the donor child organisations. (DutchNews)

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Entrepreneurs can file their General Expenditure Tax (ABB) and Payroll taxes (LH) online

SABA/ST. EUSTATIUS - For entrepreneurs it is possible to file their ABB/LH online as of February 2019. The Belastingdienst/CN has now digitised this tax return process and this has some major advantages for entrepreneurs. 

Simpler process 

The process is simpler, quicker and less prone to errors both for the entrepreneurs and for the Belastingdienst. For the entrepreneurs a digital archive will be managed as well.

Besides it is no longer necessary to come to the tax office for a stamp, or to file the

tax return by mail. Digital filing will do. 

Authorisation

Entrepreneurs can authorise their tax advisor and then they can both monitor the progress of (already filed) tax returns. They can also indicate if they wish to file their ABB/LH and make payments monthly, quarterly or annually going forward. The Belastingdienst should receive tax declarations and payments within 15 days after the expiration date of the time period. 

Information

Should there be any questions, entrepreneurs can contact the helpdesk of the Belastingdienst/CN by telephone + 599 7158545. This is possible from Monday to Thursday from 8 AM till 12 noon and from 2 PM till 4 PM and on Friday from 8 AM till 12 noon. It is also possible to send an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)

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Amsterdam has highest crime rate in NL but Limburg dominates top 10

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Amsterdam has again topped the annual league table of municipalities with the worst crime rates, but Limburg has the highest concentration with four of the top 10. 

The number of incidents in the capital fell overall in 2018, but there was an increase in vehicle thefts, street robbery and assault, according to the 18th edition of the Misdaadmeter survey. 

The Limburg communities of Sittard-Geleen and Roermond entered the top 10, joining Maastricht and Heerlen, with the latter rising from ninth place to fifth to overtake its larger neighbour. 

The ranking table is compiled on the basis of police figures for the number of complaints received for 10 crimes which have a high impact on people’s perception of safety, such as domestic burglaries, street violence and thefts from vehicles. 

Police spokesman Jean Fransman said attacks on takeaway delivery drivers were partly responsible for the soaring number of assaults. Last year 43 couriers were targeted, more than double the previous year’s total of 17. 

Border areas such as Limburg are especially prone to vehicle theft because car thieves can easily escape to Germany, Belgium or France. Amsterdam’s neighbour Diemen shot up from 26th place to eighth after the area was targeted by a gang of Chilean criminals. 

The numbers are reported to have dropped again since police rounded up the group. A police spokesman told AD: ‘We are seeing a fall in crime in many categories and we are content with that. However, there is still a lot of work to do.’(DutchNews)

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More foreign dentists are filling the gap as dentist shortage grows

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – More foreign dentists are setting up in business in the Netherlands, partly due to the shortage of home grown graduates, Trouw said on Monday. 

Currently 17% of the country’s 8,670 registered dentists are foreign, mainly from Germany, Belgium, Spain and Portugal, the paper said, quoting figures from Dutch dentistry association KNMT.  

Zeeland has the most foreign dentists – 35% of the total. Every year, some 300 dentists retire but only 240 graduates from dental school, the KNMT says. 

The organisation wants the government to increase the number of places at dental school from 259 to 311, arguing that without action, the percentage of foreign dentists will increase to around 25%. 

Foreign dentists provide a far from ideal stop gap, KNMT chairman Wolter Brands told the paper. ‘It is idiotic that the government is filling the gap with foreigners, he said. 

‘Most of them leave the country within five years but patients want a long-term relationship with their dentist.’ 

The health ministry told Trouw it does not consider the number of foreign dentists to be a problem, pointing out that they have to meet the same standards as Dutch ones. (DutchNews)

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St. Maarten Heineken Regatta Race Report Day 2

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - Amazing, best day ever, champagne sailing, and wow, just wow, what a day – just some of the words used to describe today’s Round the Island Race at the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta.  For some it was serious sailing, and for others “Serious Fun”; but every sailor coming ashore after this epic race had a different story to tell, an unforgettable experience to recount, and a memory to savour forever.

The Round the Island Race is one of the highlights of the four-day St. Maarten Heineken Regatta.  For many, this race offers the first time to see the whole island from the unique perspective of the sea.  For those who have sailed here many times before, they know the excitement of a reaching start, the long beat up the channel between St. Maarten and Anguilla, and the challenges of the big Atlantic swell and choppy seas past Pelikan rocks before the final leg to the Heineken finish.

It’s a game of catch up, with the slowest boats starting first, while the super-fast Maxis and Ocean Racing class start last.  With at least 25 nautical miles ahead, not counting the extra distance required as boats zig zag up the beat, for many boats it was going to be an exhilarating, action packed ride, while for others it was a chance to relax, enjoy the sights and top up the tan.  Even when racing hard, the crew onAquis Granishad time to practice their Mexican Wave technique from the rail.

For the three Melges, the close racing started right from the start to the first turning mark off Pointe Basse D’terre.  It wasIsland Water World Toowho just nipped inside at the mark, hiking hard to maintain their lead up the beat.  For this youth crew, the youngest only 10 years old, this was going to be white knuckle sailing all the way round.

Despite nearly two hours between the first and last start, it wasn’t long before the mighty Maxis hove into view, closely followed by the Ocean Racing class, with the three Volvo Opens – Volvo 70I Love Poland, Volvo 65Sailing Poland, and Volvo 65Ambersail 2– staying in close contact through Marigot Bay, heading towards the north of the island.

Meanwhile in the Bareboat classes, there was still “friendly but fierce” competition to be the fastest round the island.  Dmytro Potosky, of Marinero Sailing School of Ukraine, explained that despite breaking their vang just before the start, and managing to fix it with a towel, they had neck to neck racing all the way round with bareboat crews fromSemper Pro Gradiensfrom the Netherlands, andLascarisfrom Russia.  “After all that way, we finished within 10 meters of each,” he said.  Crew member Alex Yezril agreed, “It was great close racing, and great competition all the way round.  Racing bareboats is like one design racing, just great.”

OnKHS&S Contractors, youth sailors Cansu Kilic and Summer Morton, both aged 15, were excited to be taking part with legendary sailors Mike Canon and Neil Harvey, along with Brad Kendall, Olympic Silver Medallist in the 2016 Paraplygic Olympics in Rio.  “I’m looking forward to hiking all the time,” said Cansu, while Summer added: “It’s just fun being out on the water.” 

After heading round the north side of the island, the fleet turned the most northerly mark, and headed south back towards Pelikan Point.  With choppy waves kicking up an unpredictable swell, many boats hoisted their kites for the final 6-mile leg to the Heineken finish. 

While close racing was the order of the day for many, Class 40Made in Midistormed around the course, taking line honours with an elapsed time of 3 hours, 8 minutes and 1 second.  Also sailing apart from his class for much of the race was Peter Lewis and his crew on J105Whistler, who won CSA Class 4.  “We got the best start, sped off, and never saw the others in our fleet again,” he said.

It was a day for records asFling 16won the fastest monohull with spinnaker;Ineffablewas the fastest multihull;Lascariswas the fastest bareboat andEliza Vastgoedreportedly the fastest non-spinnaker sailboat. 

For Ross Appelby and his crew onScarlet Oysterin CSA Class 3, their win today will almost certainly see them with taking a podium place on Sunday.  “It was excellent champagne sailing,” said Ross.  “We broke the hook on the spinnaker pole but did repairs while sailing.  We got ahead, stayed ahead and managed to get another bullet.” 

In the Maxi class,Selene’swin nudges her ahead ofFling 16, while in the Maxi 2 classEliza Vastgoedis in a comfortable place with two wins.  In the Ocean Racing class,I Love Polandachieved a comfortable first, with rivalAmbersail 2posting a 4th place.  Rumours round the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta Village queried what happened toAmbersail 2, seen approaching the finish from the wrong direction.  It appeared that the boat, while completing the course correctly, did not in fact sail all the way round the island.  A text message from the crew confirmed this: “We were bold, and we lost.” A tactical decision which may be explained better after a few more Heinekens!

In Ocean Racing Class 2,Made in Midi’swin puts her ahead of 2nd placeEH01; while in ORC Performance categoryLady Mariposa Racingcontinues her clean sweep of wins, staying ahead of second place rivalAquis Granus

In CSA 1,Kick ‘em Jenny’sfirst place leaves them just one point behindLazy Dog, in CSA 2Dauntlessmaintained her clean sweep of first places.  The Melges in CSA 5 was won byTeam Island Water WorldKHS&S Contractorshave also maintained their winning form now with three bullets.

In the Offshore Multihull ClassTeam Brasil’swin keeps them ahead ofIneffable;Tryst’s second place today keeps her ahead ofEnola, and in Multihull 2,Spellboundtook first place.

The only boats, other thanAmbersail 2, not to sail all the way round the island were the Island Time Class.  This group of mostly cruising sailors, brought together by Hank Schmitt to sail and party together, raced across the Anguilla Sound and back, and this race was won by Oyster 54Balance, with Hank and his crew inAvocationsecond. 

All results are posted onwww.heinkenenregatta.com

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Mobile Communication Unit in Operation at Heineken Regatta Village

SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) - The Mobile Communication Unit which has been brought in from the Netherlands since the passing of Irma and which was placed in front of the Police Headquarters in Philipsburg and served as the Emergency Dispatch Center has been removed to Cole Bay at the Heineken Regatta Village. 

“This has taken place since opening of the new Emergency Dispatch Center and the Camera Surveillance Center which officially opened on February 1st, 2019. 

“This state of the art multi functional MCU has been transported to the premises of Port De Plaisance where the Heineken Regatta Village has been erected for the 39thanniversary of this event and it will exactly serve the purpose it was constructed for. 

“From this MCU all operations regarding the regatta such as communication, the filing of minor reports etcetera will take place. The MCU will be manned by all emergency services to provide the necessary service to everyone at that location and will not disrupt the regular public emergency services. 

“It is the intention to transport and use this MCU to the location where major future events are held.” (Sint Maarten Police Force)

MCU Regatta 4 ins1

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Best of luck to all sailors competing in the 39th St. Maarten Heineken Regatta

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - It’s the final day before the #serioussailing starts at the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta.  

The majority of the 120 boats from over 22 countries have already registered, a seamless process handled by St. Maarten Heineken Regatta’s team of volunteers.  

Skippers leave with Heineken waterproof race packs, filled with complimentary cans of Heineken, and a range of other goodies from the event sponsors including a free SIM card provided by UTS to stay connected.

After completing registration and clearing customs, conveniently located together in Regatta Village, the crews have plenty of time for last minute preparations for tomorrow’s racing. 

With a fresh breeze blowing, many boats have chosen to get out to the race areas for some practice, giving the crew and navigators some vital pre-race insight.  Race Director Paul Miller and his team of race officers are paying close attention to the weather.  

The predicted wind conditions for tomorrow are gusts of around 25-28 knots, which is due to drop to around 14-17 knots, as the wind turns to the south.  “We’re seeing a period of vertical instability in the weather,” says Paul Miller “It’ll be really exciting out there with waves whipped up to around 1.9m." 

With all races finishing at the Heineken mark by Simpson Bay, crowds will be gathering to see the fleet streaming back through the lifting bridge after the racing, ready for live music by The Elovaters, delicious food and cold Heineken, as the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta Village comes to life as more than 2,000 sailors, supporters, families and friends get together for #seriousfun. 

Please have a look atthe daily videofor some extra #seriousfun!

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Supporting the Kidz at Sea Fd. to inspire the next generation of sailors at the Regatta

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - Sailing is a sport that you can take up at all ages. As we countdown to this year’s St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, teenagers from St. Maarten are getting race ready to put their hard training into practice. 

A key event on the Caribbean race schedule, the regatta attracts some of the world’s elite sailors and crews, with fast and furious racing in monohulls, maxis and multihulls.

Garth Steyn, Co-Founder of The Kidz at Sea Foundation, comments, “To be part of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta means that our up and coming sailors, all aged between 15 and 19, are treated warmly and with welcome. That helps them cross over the feeling of being a newbie outsider to being ‘belongers’, as we say in the Caribbean. Because the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta attracts professional racers and amateurs in multiple classes, the racing is extraordinary and the visual thrill of sailing amongst the large number of boats is breathtaking – a fantastic experience for young sailors to build on.”

The Kidz at Sea Foundation is dedicated to providing young people with access to the opportunities that exist within St. Maarten’s marine industry, including water sports and other water-based activities.  The projects and programs are geared toward teaching participants life skills to help them succeed both on and off the water, developing skills such as team work, communication, accountability and self-reliance.

St. Maarten Heineken Regatta Race Director, Paul Miller, comments, “Supporting the Kidz at Sea Foundation encourages young people to get out on the water, which is essential to the future of the sport and the island. We wish them every single success as they put their hard work and training into practice and experience the thrill of racing in our stunning waters.”

The two main Kidz at Sea programs are “Build Your Future” and “Zero to Hero”.  Build Your Future, which is housed within the island’s largest public high school – Milton Peters College – primarily focuses on teaching high school students to build boats using the traditional methods and offers free weekend sailing to any interested student. 

The Zero to Hero program focuses on unemployed youth in St. Maarten and is housed in Simpson Bay Marina.  The target age group is primarily 17 to 35, with the goal of helping to reduce the shortage of Scuba Diving Masters, Boat Masters and quality Boat Repair Technicians within the local labour pool.  The three month, full time training sessions are fully sponsored and offer internationally recognised certifications which enable an individual to seek gainful employment in a career that offers higher earnings and greater potential then they might otherwise be eligible for.

Find out more about the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, St. Maarten and island life here:www.heinekenregatta.com.

Kidz at sea 2

Kidz at Sea 4

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Police discover €80m worth of crystal meth at drugs lab

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Police have found 400 kilos of crystal meth with a street value of around €80m at a drugs lab in Wateringen in the province of Zuid-Holland. Six men aged between 26 to 53 were arrested at the scene, after police raided the premises in the early hours of Tuesday morning. Apart from the methamfetamine, police also found MDMA, the central component of ecstasy, and various vats of chemicals. Regional broadcaster WOS.nl said the owner of the premises had moved his car company to The Hague and had rented out the warehouse at the Wateringen business park. ‘The lights were often on during the night’, a woman who worked in an adjacent building told the broadcaster. (DutchNews)
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Teacher suspended after Mohammed comments, MPs call for answers

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – A trade school in Hoofddorp has suspended a teaching assistant following a discussion about Islam which got out of hand, broadcaster NOS reported on Wednesday. The technical studies teacher, an avowed Christian, is alleged to have told a pupil that the prophet Mohammed had married a girl of eight and ‘would be seen in the Netherlands as a paedophile’. The teaching assistant told the broadcaster the discussion started when one girl told another that her mother considered him to be haram, which means unclean. When he objected, other pupils joined in and the concierge was forced to break up the group, NOS said. School board chief Jan Rath said that the dispute had caused upset both within and outside the class. ‘That is why we have decided to have a time out period, so we can get to the bottom of exactly what happened.’ Teaching union Aob said it is concerned that a member of staff had been suspended and that this would make it difficult for him to return to the same school. MPs from the VVD, ChristenUnie and anti-Islam PVV have asked the education minister to comment. (DutchNews)
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