Soualiga News Today

Soualiga News Today (3923)


SINT MAARTEN (CAY HILL) - The Positive and Elektralyets Foundation are glad to announce that Kooyman will host their second Prostate Cancer Awareness Registration Drive on Saturday September 21st from 10am to 2pm on the AJC Brouwers Road.

“Kooyman is happy to lend their support and help shine the spotlight on Prostate Cancer Awareness. A hardware store is typically a man’s domain, therefore we are happy to participate in the Prostate Cancer Registration Drive and offer our male customers, the opportunity and convenience of registering to “Man Up” and “Check Up” all while continuing to run their daily errands, said Marketing Officer, Evencia Carty-Seabrookes.

“We encourage all our male customers to come on down to Kooyman and join the registration drive, where you can learn more about Prostate Cancer, Shop, save time and possibly save lives.”

The team at Kooyman commends the SMMC, Elektralyets and the Positive Foundations for their tireless efforts to promote awareness of this cause. As a company we have encouraged all our male staff to “Man Up and Get Checked” and we do hope that other companies join us in doing the same as well.

Members of the St. Maarten Medical Center along with the Positive and Elektralyets Foundation are encouraging men between that ages for 45 – 70 who have never done a PSA test to register during this event.  The SMMC has agreed to contribute the expertise to review the results of the PSA, a free consultation and perform a free ultrasound if necessary. However, the PSA test will have to be paid for at the lab or covered by insurance.

This September, The Positive and Elektralytes Foundations would like to get the men in our lives to talk about the prostate specific antigen (PSA) test with their doctor and make an informed decision about the best testing approach. “This September let’s turn awareness into action. Early detection is the key to saving lives through screenings like the Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) and the Digital Rectal Exam (DRE) which helps to identify prostate cancer in its earliest stages” concluded Shelly Alphonso and Mercedes “Eelektra” van de Waals-Wyatt, Presidents of the two foundations.

On September 22 at 7PM, the Christian Faith Ministries International Church in Dutch Quarter with be the host of a Man UP & Check UP Prostate Cancer Awareness Information session with guest speakers Dr. Ramos of the St. Maarten Medical Center and Dr. Rojas who will talk about erectile dysfunction.  Everyone is invited and encouraged to attend this free event.


Nature Foundation Announces Participants for Youth Environmental Exchange

SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) - The Nature Foundation St Maarten selected four youth environmental exchange participants after a tough selection procedure with many suitable applicants. The Foundation congratulates Marshall Leone from the Learning Unlimited school, Maya Speetjens from Milton Peters College, Nubia Stomp from St Dominic High school and Valerie Halley from the Caribbean International Academy for being selected to participate in the Junior ranger exchange on Bonaire from the 25th until the 28th of October this year.

“We had a very difficult job to select the candidates due to the high level of knowledge, motivation and large number of applications which came in after our announcements for the program. I am impressed by the number of 12 and 13 year old students interested in this program and their familiarity and creative answers on our environmental quiz. We do keep all applicants in mind for another possible project in the future, as we were surprised about the knowledge and motivation from many” stated Melanie Meijer zu Schlochtern, Nature Foundations Projects and Research Officer.

The four participating students will have an active learning experience, sharing and learning with and from each other, like an activity filled conference. They will return home as nature conservation ambassadors to share and apply this knowledge and experience with their school, the other youths and the community at large. The overall theme of the Junior Ranger Exchange will be Coastal and Marine Conservation. Different topics that will be incorporated, such as (plastic) pollution, coral reefs, shorebirds and the vast biodiversity of our islands.

The four students are also invited for a preparational day at the Nature Foundation Sint Maarten on the 19th of October in order to learn and discuss environmental issues, marine conservation and biodiversity on Sint Maarten. The groups will also visit the mangroves in Mullet Pond, the lagoon and inspect St maarten waters during the introduction day.

“We will learn our students about the projects and activities of the Nature Foundation, the importance of coral reefs, ecosystems, sea turtles, sharks and many more subjects during an interactive and fun day at the Nature Foundation. We will make sure the students are prepared to share their ideas and knowledge during the exchange event on Bonaire and that they will be the future advocates for environment and nature on St Maarten” explained Guillaume Lacome leader of the St Maarten Youth Environmental Exchange student group.

This event is made possible by the project sponsors Rabobank, World Wildlife Fund (WWF-NL), STINAPA Bonaire and the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) together with a great and enthusiastic project team comprised of members from DCNA, STINAPA and Fundacion Parke Nacional Aruba (FPNA).


Minister Geerlings signs settlement agreement with TelEm

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) – On Wednesday September 11 the Minister of Finance Hon. Perry Geerlings signed a settlement agreement with TelEm Group regarding outstanding debts owed by government.

The agreement pertains to a substantial outstanding amount and covers the period 2005 up to 2018. The original outstanding amount as per December 31, 2018 was NAf. 5 million higher than the agreed upon amount reflected in the settlement agreement between government and TelEm Group.

The Government and the TelEm Group were able to agree on this discount of NAf. 5 million under the condition that government will comply to the payment conditions as agreed in the settlement agreement.

Signing this agreement, government agrees to pay back the total amount of the outstanding in the period September 2019 until December 2024 in monthly instalments, and two additional payments will be made of which one in November 2019 and another at the beginning of 2020. The additional payment in November is being financed from the proceeds of the sale of the shares of telecommunications provider UTS.

Similar settlement agreements have also been signed with Social and Health Insurances SZV and utilities company NV GEBE in August. A similar agreement is still to be signed with general pension fund administrator APS.

The settlements are keeping in line with the instruction Sint Maarten received from the Kingdom Council of Ministers with regards to arrears based on the advice by the Committee for Financial Supervision Cft in 2015.

The Minister of Finance has made it one of his priorities to comply with the instruction, to ensure payment arrears are reduced instead of increased.

Government has been trying for several years to make progress with regards to the repayment of arrears, but there was no significant progress in mitigating this issue and payment arrears were just increasing.

With the current settlement agreements, the outstanding debts and payment schedules are clearly defined. With this, government is able to clean up its financial administration and improve its financial accountability towards the people of Sint Maarten and other stakeholders.


Sarah awaiting the views of the Court, the Bar Association, and the Public Prosecutor

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – President of Parliament Hon. Sarah Wescot Williams said in a press statement on Thursday that: “In my deliberations on the changes to the three Codes (Civil, Criminal and Criminal Procedure) with the Minister of Justice, I have repeatedly voiced my concerns with the ambivalent responses by Government to the Council of Advice’s report (advice).”

Answers such as:

- Time did not permit a more profound analysis.

- Lack of resources caused a mere superficial review.

- CFATF timeline does not permit more in-depth scrutiny.

Of particularly concern was Government’s reaction that time did not permit a full due process to include a constitutional vetting of some elements, or worse yet that AML/CTF legislation supersedes all the above. 

In addition, the Government admitted not having heard stakeholders such as the Joint Court, the Bar Association or the Prosecutor’s office.  Again, due to time constraints. It is difficult in my opinion that the Parliament accepts such and proceeds with the handling, missing these important links. 

In my capacity as Chair, I have formally requested the mentioned agencies to provide Parliament with their views on the matter of “Crown Witness”, a phenomenon we have been told is presently practiced, but not formally regulated in our Code. 

So, the question is:

Should we allow the practice, based on jurisprudence to continue as is or should we regulate the Crown Witness procedure as proposed by the Minister in the revised Criminal Procedures Code of St. Maarten? 

I am a proponent of the latter; however, I hasten to say that the “Crown Witness” is not a topic on its own, but rather part of the whole Witness chapter in the Criminal Procedure Code. 

All this put together and the other changes to especially our revised Criminal Procedure Code need a serious review by Parliament and the community at large, as these include punishments etc.  

On a separate but related note, the recent presentation by Professor mr. Dr. Douwe J. Elzinga hit the nail on the head and strengthens what I have stated over and over again. 

“For ease, time and due to lack of human resources on the many fronts preparing for country status, we have adapted, sometimes copy-pasted much from the Netherlands. The cultural and other differences in the application of these laws and such are becoming more evident by the day.”

In his presentation, Professor Elzinga speaks of “legal transplants.” )


Pedestrian and motorbike rider injured in accident on the W.J.Nisbeth road

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Police Traffic Department is investigating a traffic accident that took place on 17 September 2019 about 7:45 am on the crossing Walter J. Nisbeth Road and the N. Debrot Street whereby a pedestrian was injured, police said on Wednesday.

According to the information gathered at the scene, the driver of a car P-109 had given a pedestrian a chance to cross the street in the area of the Central Bank. At the same time a rider of a Yamaha motorbike was overtaking the vehicle and collided with the pedestrian.

Because of the collision, the pedestrian suffered bruises and laceration on her arm, head and stomach. After the collision with the pedestrian, the driver of the Yamaha Motorbike lost control and collided with the vehicle P-109.

The rider suffered injury to his body. Both victims were treated at the scene by the Ambulance Department and later transported to the Sint Maarten Medical Center for further medical care. The accident investigation is ongoing. (Sint Maarten Police Force)         

   traffic accident pis ins1 wed17 



SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – Michael Ferrier, prostate cancer survivor, was the first to share his story as part of the Hour of Hope series launched recently at CIBC FirstCaribbean. During an intimate and interactive session, Mr. Ferrier shared his story, from his diagnosis in 2004 to treatment and cure, with bank staff. 

The male staffers were encouraged to get tested, and to start the conversations about prostate and men health issues in general. 

In collaboration with the Positive and the Elektralytes Foundations, the Hour of Hope series will continue through prostate cancer awareness month (September) and into October, breast cancer awareness month. The Hour of Hope series is part of the bank’s Walk for the Cure activities and its commitment to bring awareness and education. 

The two foundations have also merged their Pink, Phit and Phabulous walk with the bank’s Walk for the Cure which takes place on Saturday, October 5th, starting at 5:00AM at CIBC FirstCaribbean Mortgage & Loan Centre in Cole Bay. 

The walk will commence with a stretching session by the U 2 Can Move Fitness Program, also partners in this year’s Walk. The route of this year’s walk is Welfare Road over Simpsonbay Bridge, to Airport Road, over the Causeway Bridge to Union Road, and back to the Mortgage and Loan Centre. 

Persons wishing to make a contribution to Walk for the Cure can do so by visiting CIBC FirstCaribbean at their Philipsburg or Cole Bay branch via the walk’s donation drop boxes or CIBC FirstCaribbean Account C/A 10055400. 

Tickets are available for USD $10.00 at both CIBC FirstCaribbean branches. For more information, contact Walk Manager, Petra Abdul-Hamid at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or telephone +1 721-542-3511 ext 208. 


NA MP Irion: Enforce existing laws while working to enforce plastic ban

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – National Alliance (NA) Member of Parliament (MP) Ardwell Irion questioned the tackling of the new legislation regarding a ban on single-use plastics after last Thursday’s Parliament meeting on the issue, the MP said in a statement on Monday. He stated that the current government’s position does not take into consideration existing laws related to waste management for Country St. Maarten.

In Thursday’s meeting, as has been the case several times, it was stated that new legislation is needed before St. Maarten can enact a ban on plastic. Single-use plastics are one of the largest contributors to landfill overfill and oceanic pollution and several countries in the world, including in the Caribbean region, have issued bans on their use. St. Maarten has been debating enacting such a ban locally for some time now, but MP Irion believes that there is a missed opportunity while the discussion continues.

“A ban on single-use plastics is incredibly important,” he states, “but St. Maarten has a Waste Ordinance in place which is not being effectively enforced right now. Waste collection has been and continues to happen in an ad hoc and inefficient way.”

On 23 February 1993 the Waste Ordinance for St. Maarten, then still a part of the Netherlands Antilles, was passed. The Ordinance outlines every area of waste management and their accompanying disposal requirements, ranging from residential waste to car wrecks, for both citizens and the public sector. Enforcing and complying with the contents of the ordinance is something Irion states the country has struggled with since prior to Hurricane Irma.

“There are no awareness efforts to inform the general public of this ordinance and how it states everyone should dispose of their waste,” Irion continued. “And this lack of knowledge contributes to our larger issue with waste on the island and that is, capacity. We need to seriously consider the existing structure for waste management. As we continue to grow in population size, both on-island and transient, waste production will also increase.”

Irion mentioned that residents in several areas on the island had frequent complaints about the timeliness of waste collection. In densely populated areas, and dependent on the contracted company, waste can sit for up to five days without collection. Irion speculated that an evaluation may be necessary to assess if there is enough capacity with the contracted companies to adequately handle the existing demand for waste collection. In addition, proper plans should be made on how the ban on single-use plastics will be enforced once the legislation is in place.

“A single-use plastics ban should be any country’s goal,” Irion concluded, “but making sure that what exists is actually working, combined with awareness campaigns for the general public, will make that transition smoother.”


Sarah: “US Preclearance More Than Just a Presence at PJIA”

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Now the issue that is polarizing the community of St. Maarten is the planned US preclearance presence at the PJIA. Not the Dutch aid, or the pace of the Trust Fund Program, not the reconstruction of the airport, but US preclearance!

I am of the opinion that a US preclearance presence at our airport could be beneficial for the island. In fact, in all Government programs of recent times, US preclearance is mentioned, including the one that governs the current Government. I also can attest that since I was a member of the Executive Branch of Government, negotiations have been going on regarding US preclearance.

I think we have so polarized the issue, that no one is standing still by ALL what it entails, what it will require etc. There are for example some none airport related matters that need to be addressed as well. Safety, sovereignty, immunity, liabilities etc.

The latest statements from Government Ministers have even me confused and I can just imagine the general public. Given the status of such a project, I can imagine that we also have international partners scratching their heads.

Rather than requesting a meeting of Parliament on the topic, I have chosen the route of formally asking the Parliament’s approval to question the Minister(s) in a meeting of Parliament, specifically for that purpose.

Making use of this right of “interpellation”, is shorter, more direct and Ministers must come to Parliament prepared. This right is enshrined in our constitution and worked out in our Rules of Order.

The request from a member to have an interpellation must be motivated. My request is further motivated in the letter as submitted. The questions are usually sent to the Minister(s), once Parliament decides to call the Minister(s) in on the topic. But I have already provided these to Parliament in my request for an interpellation.

Letter to Parliament

Based on the Constitution of St. Maarten, article 63, sub 2 as further expounded on in the Rules of Order, article 68, sub 1, the undersigned, Sarah A. Wescot-Williams, Member of Parliament hereby requests parliament’s approval to invite the Prime Minister, the Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Telecommunication and Transportation, and the Minister of Finance to Parliament within the shortest possible time.

The reconstruction of the Princess Juliana International Airport is a matter of ongoing debate and concern. Statements by different minsters have unfortunately not contributed to putting to rest the prevailing sentiment that the plans to reconstruct the airport, the airport’s financing and the US preclearance plans, are not synchronized between the airport companies and their shareholders. In other words, we don’t seem to have our act together.

That several international partners are in one way or another involved in one or more of the abovementioned aspects, and the apparent lack of one vision from local authorities and stakeholders in my view place St. Maarten in a negative light and weakens the country’s position.

I hereby also wish to put forward the questions, I would like the abovementioned Ministers to provide Parliament with the answers to, if my proposal to call the Ministers to appear in Parliament is supported by Parliament:

  1. Is there a firm agreement between Government, PJIA and all other involved stakeholders on the WB/TF financing proposal for the reconstruction of the airport? If yes, please list name, function and date of approval.
  1. And again if so, what is the delay in proceeding in accordance with this agreement?
  2. Is the airport still desirous of seeking other financial options?
  3. If so, what are the terms and conditions for other potential financiers?
  4. Is the airport still engaged with potential financiers it had approached in the earlier stage of its reconstruction efforts? Are the interested organizations and or firms on hold or have these talks been terminated?
  1. Is it permissible under the WB/TF agreement to simultaneously pursue other options for financing?
  2. What is the current financial position of the PJIA(E)?
  3. What is the precise (re)construction plan or layout for the airport?
  4. Must or can a US pre-clearance facility be included in the plans at this time?

10. Do we already know what is required, financially feasible, and economically beneficial of the envisaged preclearance?


USP Board calls on Governor to break his silence on government

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The board of the United St. Maarten Party (USP) on Thursday called on Governor Eugene Holiday to break his silence and tell the people of St. Maarten if Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin has submitted her cabinet’s resignation now that she has minority support in Parliament.

The USP board said that since MP Franklin Meyers pulled his support from the UD/SMCP coalition, thereby throwing down government, the Governor has been silent in explaining the people the process.

"The government has fallen as we say locally. The government is busy spinning as if they are waiting to hear from Parliament to inform them that they do not enjoy the support of the majority in Parliament. In the meantime, the Governor, who has usually been diligent in these instances, is letting confusion reign by staying quiet," the board said.

The Governor, the USP said, has met with faction leaders and has not reported to the public. "The question is, has the Prime Minister tendered her cabinet's resignation and has the Governor accepted it," the board said.

"It is incredible that government collapses, there is no government, and the Governor isn't updating the people. We are calling on the Governor to break his silence. We are also asking that the now minority supported government cease and desist with any decisions in government," the board said.


Man Up & Check UP Prostate Awareness Campaign Underway

SINT MAARTEN (CAY HILL) - The Positive and Elektralyets Foundation have partnered with the St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) to launch a Man UP & Check UP Prostate Awareness Campaign on St. Maarten.

The objective of the campaign is to break the taboo of Prostate Cancer on the island, educate and encourage men to talk of this disease with their health care providers and with other men in our community.

The campaign includes registration drives, information sessions, screening at the St. Maarten Medical Center for registered participants. Furthermore, there are public service announcements on local radio stations, radio and TV interviews, posters, banners and social media campaigns, t-shirts and electronic billboards awareness messaging.

The first registration drive is scheduled for September 14, 2019 at the Napa Auto Parts in Colebay, St. Maarten from 10 am – 2pm.  Members of the St. Maarten Medical Center along with the Positive and Elektralytes Foundation are encouraging men between that ages for 45 – 70 who have never done a PSA test to register during this event.  The SMMC has agreed to contribute the expertise to review the results of the PSA, a free consultation and perform a freeultra sound if necessary. However, the PSA test will have to be paid for at the lab or covered by insurance.

The next registration drive is scheduled for September 21, 2019 at Kooyman on the AJC Brouwers Road, St. Maarten from 10am -2pm.

On September 22 at 7PM, the Christian Faith Ministries International Church in Dutch Quarter with be the host of a Man UP & Check UP Prostate Cancer Awareness Information session with guest speakers Dr. Ramos of the St. Maarten Medical Center and Dr. Rojas who will talk about erectile dysfunction.  Everyone is invited and encouraged to attend this free event.

On September 28, 2019 SMMC with review the PSA results of the registered participants during a free consultation and perform an ultrasound if necessary.

Prostate cancer survivor Mr. Michael Ferrier and prostate cancer warrior Mr. Raymond Benjamin have graciously agreed to be the spokes persons for the Man Up & Check Up campaign. Mr. Benjamin along with Dr. Rojas candidly shared their personal and professional experiences on Speaking of Everything with Oral Gibbes earlier in September. Mr. Ferrier has agreed to be the voice for the prostate cancer awareness public service announcements heard daily on local radio stations. Both Mr. Benjamin and Mr. Ferrier are anxious to join the conversation to spread to message of prostate cancer – especially the importance of early detection.

Other contributors to the Man UP & Check UP campaign include Mr. Elvis Harrigan from Picture This Studio, Tashin Brown from International Liquors and Tobacco, Vita Malt and Ms. Francine Chance for the Fiji Water, NAPA Auto Parts and Kooyman, Speaking of Everything, local radio stations on St. Maarten and Viva Signs who are all excited about the campaign and its call to action for men on our island to help save lives through early detection.

Internationally, September is observed as prostate cancer awareness month with the light blue ribbon as the symbol. This September, The Positive and Elektralytes Foundations would like to get the men in our lives to talk about the prostate specific antigen (PSA) test with their doctor and make an informed decision about the best testing approach. “This September let’sturn awareness into action. Early detection is the key to saving lives through screenings like the Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) and the Digital Rectal Exam (DRE) which helps to identify prostate cancer in its earliest stages” concluded Shelly Alphonso and Mercedes “Eelektra” van de Waals-Wyatt, Presidents of the two foundations.

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