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Soualiga Newsday Features (1658)

Water Production Plant Point Blanche II

POINT BLANCHE - Minister Cornelius De Weever, responsible for production and distribution of water, has received word from Seven Seas Water that the equipment and installations with a long lead-time have been ordered and are available for the construction of the second seawater reverse osmosis plant, the Point Blanche II plant.

The long term Water Supply Agreement of Government with Seven Seas/AirFin, signed in November 2012, includes the supply, construction and operation of two new, state of the art reverse osmosis plant. These plants are modular systems capable of producing 3700 m3 per day each.

At an average household consumption of half a cubic meter per day, one plant produces sufficient water to supply 7400 homes on a daily basis.

The agreement states that the second plant shall be operational mid February 2016. Earlier this year (2014) SSW informed Government of its decision to build the second plant in 2014 if GEBE could install electricity and water lines to supply electricity to the plant and take in water from the plant. To this date, neither the Minister of Health responsible for water Cornelius De Weever nor the government has not received an answer from GEBE management, the Board of Supervisory Directors or its “Shareholder” representative. GEBE is not ready yet, as even the new pump station, buildt to take in the water from the first plant, is not connected to the grid, let alone being operational.

Having the second plant in service, leads to a very advantageous position with respect to installed capacity for production of drinking water, as it comes with no additional cost for Sint Maarten until February 2016. The second new plant will further safeguard the production of drinking water for the community and allows other production units to be scheduled out for maintenance.

Maintenance of storage tanks and water lines would be possible without running the risk of not being able to supply water to customers. The Harbour and GEBE could expand the profitable venture of supplying water to ships. More water could be supplied to the French side, which is also beneficial for Dutch Sint Maarten. SSW has committed itself to build the second plant as soon as GEBE can provide the infrastructure to supply power and take in water produced by the plant.

The Water Supply Agreement of Government and Seven Seas Water also include the supply of two water tanks. The first one is in operation. GEBE has however halted the construction the second water storage tank in Point Blanche for unknown reasons. The foundation has been completed and all tank sections are in Sint Maarten storedin containers awaiting action of GEBE. (From the Cabinet of the Minister of Public Health)

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USM alumni host Youth forum

POND ISLAND - The "Students Stand Up" Youth Forum was organized by the USM Alumni Foundation on Tuesday evening in order to provide the opportunity for students to voice their perspective and concerns about various situations prevalent throughout St. Maarten. 

With youth of various ages in attendance at the University of St. Martin, the Forum provided an outlet for the youth to be involved in the shaping and direction for reform of the education system, labour market, career development, and other pertinent areas affecting the ability for our youth to grow and prosper.

President of the USM Alumni Foundation Stuart Johnson said, "It surely was an informative and interactive session with our special invited guest." 

Josianne Artsen, Immediate Past President of USM and Deputy Minister Plenipotentiary gave a comprehensive presentation on education "From the Cradle to the Grave." "I am honored for the opportunity to hear from my youth and to be a guest at this forum," says Josianne Artsen. "We've been doing a lot of talking over the course of the political campaign.  As a visionary leader in education, I recognize the importance of listening to the people we will be representing in parliament; particularly our youth, which is my area of passion and expertise." 

Additionally Stuart and Johnson and Paula Gordon, representing as President and Vice-President of the USM Alumni Foundation as the hosts of the event, touched on the importance of this election.

"Regardless of your political party or candidate choice, I urge you to go out and vote massively in this first parliamentary election," Johnson concluded. 

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150 baby Hawksbill Sea Turtle Hatchlings Hatch from Nature Foundation Monitored Nest

SIMPSON BAY BEACH - The St. Maarten Nature Foundation Sea Turtle Watch Group Recorded the Fifth successfully hatched Sea Turtle Nest for the 2014 Turtle nesting season. At approximately four in the afternoon St. Maarten Nature Foundation intern Soraya de la Fuente was conducting the regularly scheduled Sea Turtle Observation Patrol when the Hawksbill Sea Turtle Nest Emerged in the vicinity of White Sands Beach Club on Simpson Bay Beach. Some 150 turtle hatchlings made its way into the ocean. The Sea Turtle Watch Group, joined by local veterinarian Dr. Jovan Halley, was also at hand to ensure that the turtles made their way to the sea safely and removed significant amounts of Sargasso seaweed in order to make it easier for the turtles to reach the ocean.

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Minister Lake acknowledges districts nurses for helping seniors

PHILIPSBURG – Minister of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure (Ministry VROMI) Hon. Maurice Lake on Tuesday recognized the district nurses with respect to the work that they do on a daily basis in taking care of the nation’s senior citizens.

“I presented a token of appreciation to the district nurses and thanked them for the work that they do on a daily basis in taking care of our seniors at the St. Martin Home and within the districts.

“They are the unsung heroes.  I also informed them about the reduction in utility bills for seniors that GEBE has implemented.  One of the issues that came up was housing for district nurses and I informed them that I will be looking into this to see how we can facilitate this request,” Minister Hon. Maurice Lake said on Tuesday.

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Democratic Party Presents Party Platform on Sports and Culture

PHILIPSBURG - The Democratic Party on Tuesday presented its Party Platform on Sports and Culture to the electorate on St. Maarten, highlighting its standpoint on the development of national culture and the support of sports as a vehicle for national identity on St. Maarten; “It is the conviction of the Democratic Party that Sports and Culture should feature prominently as we pursue national development.

“True to this conviction, where sports are concerned, during the D.P.’s most recent governing period the Department of Sports was created to exclusively concentrate on, stimulate and support developments in the area of sports. Whereas the Department of Sports is charged with the policy and planning aspects with regard to sports development, the National Sport Institute has been recently established to execute planned projects and sport programs. The N.S.I. is also charged with coordinating sports and recreation activities for children, men and women in general and in particular the coordinating of national interscholastic sports competitions, sports related activities for the youth as well as the adults and the elderly.

“To facilitate the practice of sports and tournaments, the DP envisions a massive upgrading program for our sports facilities, such as phase B of the Raoul Illidge Sport Complex, the upgrading of the Little League Ball Park and the upgrading of the L.B. Scott Sports Auditorium. This upgrading program will also be the responsibility of the N.S.I,” mentions the Democratic Party Platform on Sports specifically.

With regards to culture, the DP’s vision is to strengthen pride on St. Maarten as a nation through the promotion of its culture; “It has always been the Democratic Party’s policy in government, as part of its nation building efforts to through culture strengthen awareness of and pride in being a St. Martiner.  Culture as a unifying factor represents our identity as a people and represents the foundation upon which the D.P. is building our St. Maarten Nation. It is safe to say that several facets of our culture have blossomed over the past years. It is primarily our youth that has placed the focus on our cultural heritage, through their exposure to different and unique forms of art. They have given a new impetus   to the manifestation of our culture through these different art forms. This is a development that must be encouraged and stimulated. Hence the DP’s interest in the private initiative for the Dutch Quarter area that includes a center for the performing arts. Inspired by the Dutch Quarter initiative, the Democratic Party will promote programs designed to develop youth in leadership roles. This will be done in order to enable them to actively participate in dialogue with government regarding collaborative efforts to strengthen their sense of pride in and responsibility for their community, the preservation of its monuments and intangible cultural heritage,” emphasized the DP Party Platform.

The Party also presented concrete plans for the development of infrastructure in support of culture, thus creating cultural institutions for the island; “Where infrastructure for the creation, stimulation and support of cultural awareness is concerned, designs for the Performing Arts and Convention Center are completed and a Cultural Track Project is also under consideration. In this light the DP will pursue the upgrading and completion of the John Larmonie Center as envisaged originally. The (re) vitalization of our culture has also been visible in other areas, such as the literary arts, dance, and theatre.  In fact, our culture is constantly being transformed as “old meets new”. The D.P. will encourage this revitalization through the promotion and support of the development of performance, visual, literary, and creative arts, from recreational to competitive on St. Maarten using the schools, community centers and NGO’s in the districts as spring-boards,” concluded the DP Party Platform on Culture and Sports. (Contributed by the DP Party)

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UP Says DP Being Judge and Jury before the Verdict is Out on Harbour Lawsuit

PHILIPSBURG – The board of the United People's Party (UP) has taken note of the Democratic Party’s (DP) position on the lawsuit initiated by Zebec NV against Port St. Maarten and Chief Executive Officer Mark Mingo.

“It is very unfortunate that the DP is ready to tear down a local government –owned company which is managed by a local young professional.  The DP is at it again, the same thing they did with Postal Services St. Maarten (PSS), firing a young professional who served as the Managing Director, and took him to court four times after he fought for his rights. In the end the young professional that once managed PSS was vindicated when the judgement came in his favour.

“Now the DP is out to get the young professional who has spearheaded the development of Port St. Maarten.  We find this very unfortunate with the DP making this matter a political issue only for short-sighted political mileage.  The DP is being judge and jury if you read their story in the newspaper today where the DP says: ‘How could the CEO of the harbour knowing that the company entered into a legally binding development contract with a third party not uphold the rights of the third party.’

“This statement alone tells you even before a court ruling that the DP Party has already convicted the harbour management and supervisory board of directors.  To add on top of that, the DP Party in placing investor relations at risk as well, all for political mileage.

“The ranting of the DP Party will have serious consequences for the investment climate of the country.  Investors are monitoring what is going on in the country and without a doubt they have taken note of this one-sided position taken by the DP Party where it concerns the interests of the country. 

“Allow the legal process to take its course rather than jumping on the bandwagon to cut down local people for the DP’s own self-interests.  The DP Party position on this matter totally demonstrates that they are not getting it right and shows that they are not ready,” the UP Party Board said on Monday. (Contributed by the UP Party)

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DP Presents Party Platform on Foreign Affairs

PHILIPSBURG - The Democratic Party of St. Maarten over the weekend highlighted its party platform on Foreign Relations, placing both within the context of the development of the St. Maarten Nation and its position within the global and regional community.

“Since becoming a country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Democratic Party has been working to carve out St. Maarten’s place in the region and in the world. The DP Prime Minister, responsible for the foreign relations of St. Maarten, is charged with the formulation, promotion and execution of the country’s foreign policy. In turn, the newly established Department of Foreign Relations advises the Prime Minister and acts as the lead coordinator and manager of the international relations and cooperation of the country.

The Democratic Party attaches great importance to cooperation within the wider Caribbean region; “Under the leadership of Prime Minister Sarah Wescot Williams, St. Maarten has intensified its engagements in the region by securing membership in the following regional organizations: Caribbean Financial Action Task Force Agency (CFATF), Caribbean Organization Tax Administrators (COTA), Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), Caribbean Telecommunication Union (CTU) and Caribbean Association of National Telecommunication Organizations (CANTO).  Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) and the Association of Caribbean States (ACS).  These associations will strengthen our relations within the region as well as increase our participation in important issues related to our development.

“The relationship with the European Union will remain of strategic interest for the Democratic Party. St. Maarten participates as one of 25 members in the European Union’s Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs).  As an OCT, St. Maarten is eligible for EU funding via a number of programs. The European Development Fund (EDF), which is aimed to support the economic, social and human development of the OCTs, has been a major benefactor in our recent development. 

“In 2011, St. Maarten was granted a sum of 4.75 million Euros from the 10th EDF, which funded the Dutch Quarter Sewage and Drainage Project. “In 2013, 7 million Euros from the 11th EDF were allocated to St. Maarten.  Additionally, an operational program for cross border cooperation has been created specifically to fund shared projects between St. Maarten and Saint Martin. This important program provides a mechanism for tangible cross border cooperation by pooling resources to achieve economies of scale on needed joint projects.

“EU programming also extends into regional programs, which is also critical for our economic progress. With the Department of Kingdom Relations and Interior Affairs (BAK) as the leading coordinating agent, St. Maarten has benefited from participating in (EDF) regional projects related to HIV/AIDS, small and medium enterprise development and disaster risk reduction initiative (R3I). 

The Democratic Party stated in its platform that it will continue to pursue a focused, effective and results-based foreign policy that is inextricably tied to the development plan of the country. In doing so, the DP will continue to execute the four strategic goals that are embedded in our foreign policy: Support the economic policy of St. Maarten; Present St. Maarten internationally, as a respectable partner;Promote regional cooperation; and Develop closer ties with Saint-Martin: “In pursuit of these goals we will also focus our attention in the coming years on the following ten countries: USA, Canada, Mexico, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Surinam, Brazil, Cuba and China. We aim to build sustainable, mutually beneficial global partnerships with all as we seek to secure our spot in the new global economy.

“With Prime Minister Sarah Wescot Williams at the helm, DP has built a structured and strong foundation for the management of the country’s foreign relations. We have accomplished meaningful membership to organizations that yielded funding and technical assistance for the development of the country. We are also in the process of building bilateral relations with key countries that will aid in the economic advancement of St. Maarten. 

“We believe that a country’s foreign policy cannot be divorced from its national development. Based on this premise, the Democratic Party will continue to reinforce the development of St. Maarten through its regional and global alliances,” concluded the DP’s Foreign Policy Program. (Contributed by the DP Party)

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Minister Lake says political in-decisiveness costing government and sending wrong message to youth

PHILIPSBURG – Minister of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure (Ministry VROMI) Hon. Maurice Lake says the indecisiveness within the Council of Ministers is costing government money and sending the wrong message to the youth.

“A case in point is Denicio Richardson, former Head of Postal Services St. Maarten, a national company providing services to the community.  This young gentleman has been taken to court by government four times, and Denicio Richardson during the last case the judge ruled in his favour.

“I am a part of government, but the postal services falls under the Ministry of General Affairs which falls under the Prime Minister. I have learnt a lot from being part of government during the past 12 months, and we need to bring forth a new way of doing things and how the people are treated.

“What message are we sending to our young professionals?  Government took Denicio to court because he was fighting for his rights.  He couldn’t afford a lawyer anymore and represented himself in court. 

“Government used tax payer’s money to fight the young professional who went away to study and return home to serve his country and this is the way we treat young professionals?

“The system is broken and we need to change it.  We need to spend tax payer’s money to shape and run the country in a sustainable manner to help the people, not run our young professionals out who want to contribute and make a difference and build our community.

“The Vorst Cay Hill property is another example of where certain members in the Council of Ministers were indecisive.  The judge ruled that government has to pay the land owners for the property, and this court case could have been avoided but due to indecisiveness in the Council, the judge had to make the decision, which is a pity.

“Country Sint Maarten will not move forward when you have indecisiveness in government, people who are afraid to make a decision,” Minister Hon. Maurice Lake concluded.

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Minister Patricia Lourens-Philip Shares Message of UNESCO SG on International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and Its Abolition

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Hon. Patricia Lourens Philip supports the message delivered by UNESCO Secretary General in connection with International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and Its Abolition which will be celebrated and observed on Saturday, August 23 and would like to share it with the people of Sint Maarten.

Message from Ms Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, on the occasion of the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition, 23 August 2014

 
     
 

International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition is particularly significant in 2014, year of the 210th anniversary of Haiti's independence and the 20th anniversary of UNESCO's educational and cultural programme the Slave Route Project, a pioneering project that has helped to accelerate research and raise awareness of the history of slavery and its consequences.

The history of the slave trade tells not only of the suffering endured but also of the ultimately victorious struggle for freedom and human rights, symbolized by the slave uprising in Saint-Domingue on the night of 22 to 23 August 1791. That struggle has lastingly strengthened awareness of the equality of all men and women, which we have all inherited directly. That emancipatory vision should guide us in our efforts to build a culture of tolerance and respect. UNESCO's educational and cultural programmes and support for historical research are intended to highlight the wealth of the traditions that African peoples have forged in the face of adversity – in art, music, dance and culture in its broader sense, creating indissoluble ties between peoples and continents and irreversibly transforming the face of society. This heritage is invaluable for living in peace in our globalized world on the eve of the International Decade for People of African Descent (2015-2024).

Transmission of this history is an essential condition for any lasting peace based on mutual understanding among peoples and full awareness of the dangers of racism and prejudice. It also helps us to continue mobilizing against modern forms of slavery and trafficking in human beings that still affect more than 20 million people worldwide.

True to the words of Aimé Césaire, who said of the Citadel in Haiti: "for these people brought to their knees, a monument was needed to make them stand", UNESCO is contributing actively towards the design of a Permanent Memorial to and Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, to be established at the United Nations Headquarters. I call on all Member States and partners of UNESCO, in schools, universities, the media, museums and places of memory, to mark this International Day and redouble their efforts to ensure that the role played by slaves in winning recognition of universal human rights is better known and taught more widely.

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Port St. Maarten Donates Towards Save the Zoo Campaign

MADAME ESTATE – Representatives of Port St. Maarten this week made a donation to the St. Maarten Zoological and Botanical Garden Foundation in connection with its “Save our Zoo,” campaign.

The Zoo is facing bankruptcy, and has embarked upon a campaign to save the establishment from possible closure.  

Port St. Maarten sees the added value of having a zoo for the children and youth to enjoy.  The port sees its donation as a corporate social responsibility and part of the company’s philosophy of giving back to the community.

Port St. Maarten has assisted the St. Maarten Zoo in the past with various projects and activities. 

Port St. Maarten objectives are to facilitate with marquee tours which is very important for the cruise sector and the cruise passenger destination experience.

The St. Maarten Zoo is seen as a marquee tour with great potential for especially cruise passengers who travel as a family with kids.  The port assisted with the development of the Iguana Park as a project that profiles the aforementioned. 

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