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Soualiga Newsday Latest News (2392)

Port St. Maarten represented at CSA 44th AGM, Conference & Exhibition. Seatrade Director Presented with Plaque from Port St. Maarten

POINT BLANCHE – A delegation from Port St. Maarten recently attended the Caribbean Shipping Association (CSA) 44th Annual General Meeting (AGM), Conference & Exhibition in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic at the Barcelo Bavaro Beach Resort.

The CSA AGM was done in collaboration with the Asociacion de Navieros de la Republica Dominicana (Shipping Association of the Dominican Republic) and brought together owners, shipping executives, industry leaders and renowned speakers from October 13 to the 15. 

The topics discussed were the Nicaragua Shipping Canal Project, the evolution of shipping and its expectations for the next 50-years; Economic Prospects for the Caribbean, Governor’s perspective; Corruption in Customs Caribbean wide and the Asycuda System; Cruise; Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG); Drug Trafficking in the Caribbean; and presentations from four Ports in the Dominican Republic. 

Exhibitors showcased equipment and products that are of interest to companies operating within the maritime sector.

Michael Rohan of M.F. Ronan Consulting also shared his insights of present and future of the cruise industry in the Caribbean.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Port St. Maarten Mark Mingo says Port St. Maarten’s attendance to the CSA conference allows the port to keep abreast of trends and developments in the maritime sector which is essential to the continued long-term development of St. Maarten’s port.

Humphrey Mezas, Chairman of Port St. Maarten Supervisory Board of Directors, took the opportunity together with other Port St. Maarten officials to present a plaque of appreciation to Philip Gray, Managing Director of Seatrade for being a main sponsor during the recently concluded 21st Annual Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) Conference & Trade Show in St. Maarten.

Port St. Maarten delegation comprised of Humphrey Mezas, Renald Williams, supervisory board member,RogerLawrence, Manager Terminal and Cargo Operations, and Phil Laplace, St. Maarten Harbour Shipping Consultant.

CSA mission is to promote and foster the highest quality service to the maritime industry through training development; working with all agencies, groups and other associations for the benefit and development of its members and the peoples of the Caribbean region.

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Off-duty police officer stabbed in chest, 32-year old suspect arrested

COLE BAY - On Wednesday, October 22 at approximately 02.45 a.m. al police patrols was sent to “High Up” night club in connection with the playing of loud music. On the scene the officers spoke to management about the situation and stayed on at the location to control what was going on.

Shortly after the officers noticed that a fight had broken out between two unknown men. During the commotion many customers ran out of the establishment. At the same time an off duty police officer approached the other officers telling them the he was stabbed by a man who was also in the night club.

The off duty officer, pointed out the suspect who at the time, was running out of the club. The suspect was chased by an officer on foot and in the vicinity of Carousel he was arrested. The suspect was still in possession of the knife he used to stab the victim.

The knife was confiscated for further investigation. The off-duty officer who was stabbed in the left side of his chest was treated on the scene by paramedics and then transported to the Sint Maarten Medical Center for further treatment where he remained for observation.

The suspect with the initials C.A.I. (32) was taken to the Philipsburg Police Station where he remains in custody for further investigation. (Contributed by the Police Force Sint Maarten)

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Let's Travel Launches New Website

PHILIPSBURG – Local travel agency, Let’s Travel, has launched a brand new
website online at www.lets-travel.com, which will not only cater to locals
looking to request or book flights online, but also target the inbound
travel market, allowing tourists to book flights, tours and activities via
the website as well.

Owner of Let’s Travel, Terrance Rey, said that the website took a long
time for him to complete but he felt that after the passing of hurricane
Gonzalo last week, it was imperative to boost St. Maarten’s travel
offerings online so that the island as a tourist destination can get more
visibility as the Caribbean islands will certainly be ramping up the
competition to promote and sell their respective destinations.

“A comprehensive website like that of Lets-Travel.com offering many travel
products and tour services for inbound travellers to St. Maarten is a
welcome addition to the marketing arsenal of the island’s tourism sales
infrastructure.” says Terrance Rey.

The website will also serve as a webportal to AirStMaarten’s commercial
charter flights with specials to Guyana, Jamaica, Miami, Aruba, Colombia
and later on Brazil as that South American market opens up once St.
Maarten and Brazil conclude an open skies treaty.

“For the past eight years AirStMaarten has been organizing both private
and shared charters to the surrounding islands of St. Barths, Anguilla,
St. Kitts, Nevis, Tortola and Antigua & Barbuda for passengers transitting
through St. Maarten, but the time is right with the launch of
Lets-Travel.com to promote inbound travel to St. Maarten itself with
services that will attract clients of AirStMaarten to actually visit and
stay on the island itself.” explains Rey.

“Our group of travel companies, partners and affiliates will use  the
platform of the new Let’s Travel website as a portal to all the different
travel products and services that are on offer. We look forward to helping
put St. Maarten back on the map as the prime vacation destination in the
Northeastern Caribbean region.” concludes Terrance Rey.

For more information, call +1-721-542-2381, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or
visit www.lets-travel.com.

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Ministry of Health advises travellers to avoid areas and countries where Ebola is prevalent and adhere to preventive measures

GREAT BAY – The Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA) continues to monitor developments in West Africa with respect to the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak which has infected 8997 persons of which 4493 have died, according to the Center for Disease Control stats as of 15 October.

Persons traveling or who have recently visited Africa especially West Africa, should be cautious and take measures to protect their health. Persons should refrain from traveling to areas where EVD is prevalent in countries that are infected.

If a traveller becomes unwell with sudden onset of high fever, stomach pains, diarrhoea, rash or bleeding within three (3) weeks of being in any of the infected or affected areas (Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone), or have had contact with in infected person, you need to make contact by phone to your doctor right away. You must also inform the doctor about your travel history prior to going to your physician.  Limit your contact with others to avoid putting other persons at risk.

Ebola, formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans. This EVD outbreak has a fatality rate of 54%.  Early intervention is having a positive result on mortality as it used to be 90%.

Even though there are no WHO travel advisories, persons should also consider postponing travel to affected areas if it is non-essential. 

Those who still decide to travel are advised to adopt the following necessary precautions: practice frequent hand washing (e.g. after going to the toilet, or when hands are soiled); avoid direct contact with blood, secretions or other body fluids of infected living or dead persons or animals, as well as environments that have become contaminated with these infectious fluids such as soiled clothing, bed linen, or used needles.

If you have to travel, stay on the alert as it relates to your traveling contacts and avoid putting yourself and family at risk.

Avoid participating in burial ceremonies which require direct contact with the body of a deceased infected person; avoid contact with wild animals, including bats, monkeys, apes, chimpanzee and gorillas, whether alive or dead, including their raw or undercooked meat.

The Ministry of Public Health, Social Development & Labour, namely the Collective Prevention Services (CPS), in collaboration with all stakeholders started informing the community on Ebola and are working on a Sint Maarten Preparedness Plan.  All sectors are called to be alert as it related to their respective response to Ebola.

For further information you should consult with your family physician or call CPS at telephone number: 542-3553, 542-2078.

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Post Hurricane Assistance from Dept. of Social Services Closes on Wednesday at 3.30pm

GREAT BAY – The Department of Social Services, a government agency under the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development & Labour, hereby announces that the post Hurricane Gonzalo assistance period will end on Wednesday, 22nd October at 3.30pm.

Persons in need of assistance should visit the office on the Pondfill near Carl’s & Son Bakery between 8.00am to 3.30pm.

Persons are being assessed on their individual needs/circumstances.  Priority is being given to the most vulnerable (senior citizens, handicapped/disabled).

The assistance so far that has been provided to members of the community by the St. Maarten Red Cross, has been of food, tarpaulin, and water.

The Department of Social Services has been providing crisis counseling and intervention for vulnerable groups along with financial assistance.

The number of persons assisted by the department so far is 50.

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MP Heyliger: Instruction for extra screening disrespect to country. Dutch Government to be held liable for damages

PHILIPSBURG – On Sunday Leader of the United People’s (UP) Party Member of Parliament Hon. Theo Heyliger issued the following statement.  “Through an instruction issued to the Governor of St. Maarten last week, the Dutch Government has, on the basis of its earlier initiated character assassination of my person, progressed into an action to ensure that it can prevent my person from becoming the next Prime Minister of St. Maarten.

“The measure, void of any legal basis, is drafted to ensure that the screening of Ministers and Prime-Minister to be appointed for the Government of St. Maarten for the governing period 2014-2018 only is executed by the Dutch Government, without whose approval, the Governor is not permitted to sign the National decree of appointment.

?The measure states that the Candidate Minister must provide an unrestricted permission to the investigating experts of the Dutch Government to undertake a screening of the candidate and its family members for an undefined period of time, through an undefined method of investigation, with yet to be established screening parameters. An investigation method not even permitted within our Criminal Code.

“It is therefore very clear that this measure is created to determine the screening process and its parameters with pre-existing bias to ensure that the screening process cannot be passed by my person. The so called “mafia” as I am being referred to should never be able to pass the screening even if no objections exist against my person. A system is being created where you can be accused, tried, and convicted without ever having a possibility to defend yourself.

“It is clear that this measure, whilst intended to keep my person from being the next Prime-Minister, is violating our Constitution, the regulations regarding screening of Ministers and our Criminal Code and can in the future be used against anyone at random. This measure therefore will be placed before the Parliament of St. Maarten for debate.

“I am not against screening of minister candidates. The instruction to the governor for what is in essence a pre-screening can only be considered an infringement of St. Maarten's autonomy, he said.

“With the way the Dutch are behaving, I truly ask myself why hold elections every four years. Why not simply have the Dutch government and Dutch MP’s who know nothing about St. Maarten, but want to be dictators, just pick a government for us?

“This instruction for the so-called thorough screening truly shows that the Dutch government is on a no-holds barred witch hunt with me as a primary target. The PricewaterhouseCoopers Integrity report did not yield any glaring integrity issues the Dutch government was rooting for. This instruction to the governor is their follow-up attack to try to tarnish our country and her people further.

“What is amazing is we didn't hear a word from the Dutch when a convicted person was serving in Parliament in the last term. The people of St. Maarten have also not heard any support or sympathy from the Dutch government after having endured hurricane Gonzalo and suffered so much personal property damage and threats to life.

“It is also amazing that the Dutch behaves as though the Netherlands is the bastion of integrity when it is well known about the representatives of various Dutch political parties who have had to resign from office or from politics completely due to illegal actions.

“The UP will continue the push to get a conflict resolution commission for the Kingdom. Such a commission has been called for by Aruba and Curacao as well as St. Maarten and enshrined in motions before all three parliaments.

“We are supposed to be equal partners, but we are anything but that as this recent instruction to the governor shows. The current coalition remains committed to reviewing the executing the recommendations of the Wit-Samson Integrity Report, the PricewaterhouseCoopers Integrity Report and the one of the General Audit Chamber.

“We are a four-year-old country battling against a bigger country with colonial views. I'm very much reminded of the struggle my grandfather the late Dr. Claude Wathey faced.

“Any measure, even if taken by the Dutch Government, must be in compliance with Good Governance and may at no time infringe on our fundamental human rights.

“The Dutch Government has without any proof branded my person as being the mafia or having links with the mafia. This is slander yet given the fact that those to whom I would have to address my claim are appointed by the same Dutch Government engaging in these slanderous acts.

“The Dutch Government may get away with attempts at discrediting my name and person, but we will ensure that the DutchGovernment will be held liable for any and all damages that its unconstitutional intrusion causes this Country and its people.

“Every legal avenue will be utilized to ensure that our right of self-determination is respected, as well as the rights set forth in our constitution and laws. We will seek redress outside the Kingdom with respect to the blatant disrespect for our Constitution and get the support of a country to bring this matter before the international community of nations.

“Together with my coalition partners we have embarked on following the right process for forming of the Government of St. Maarten. An open process in accordance to the law is being followed to present to the people of St. Maarten a capable, strong and stable government.

“I will work with undeterred determination to safeguard the people of this Country and the institutions of our parliamentary democracy. I will stay true to my promises to the people of this Country and shall through transparency and with integrity restore their faith in their Government.” (Contributed by the Leader of the UP Party Member of Parliament Hon. Theo Heyliger)

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UP Faction: Dutch Government has no legal basis for instruction. Transparency International: Dutch corruption mechanisms insufficient

PHILIPSBURG - The United People’s (UP) Party Faction Leader Hon. Member of Parliament Franklin Meyers would hereby like to make one thing abundantly clear to the general population and Kingdom partners: The issue with the instruction given to Governor Holiday regarding expanded screening criteria to be executed by appointees of the Dutch government, is not about ‘having something to hide’. Rather, the unconstitutional levels of interference the Dutch government is attempting to embark upon.

“No citizen of St. Maarten, no matter the political affiliation, can accept this. What other freedoms will be trampled on next? Every partner within the Kingdom is responsible for its good governance as is outlined in the Charter. If this action of interference by the Dutch government is allowed to continue, the consequences will be so far reaching it will eliminate any semblance of self/good governance that exists. It would open the door for interference on all levels,” UP Fraction Leader Franklin Meyers said.

St. Maarten already has regulation for the screening of candidate ministers. This fact is acknowledged by the Dutch government in the very same instruction given to the governor. By asking the Governor to hold off on signing appointing decrees until further investigation is completed “in addition to the existing investigation regulations” the Dutch government confirms its own interference in contradiction to the Charter.

St. Maarten’s screening regulation as is follows a democratic process that also does not infringe on certain rights laid out in the constitution of St. Maarten. If the Dutch government truly wants to play the role of partner, it can suggest ways to perhaps strengthen the process, it cannot unilaterally decide it will change the process and interfere.

In particular, it cannot do so at this stage of St. Maarten’s democratic electoral process after it (the Dutch Government) acts like a spoilt child and didn’t get the government it seemingly wanted. If the latter is your premise, then Holland turned into a dictatorship without the world having taken notice, but a development that St. Maarten will duly show to the world.

What is the legal basis for this “new” screening process? Is there any or did the Dutch government just make one up? These are the questions our people are and should be concerned about. In fact, the Dutch government have no legal basis for the screening of its own candidate Ministers. Their screening process is based on a 2002 letter from the Dutch Prime Minister to the Second Chamber in which screening is described. That’s it. No law or expanded actions that they now want to subject St. Maarten to.

Furthermore, the constitution of St. Maarten as well as the Charter of the Kingdom safeguards basic human rights and rights on privacy. The Dutch government want to infringe on all of these rights, which are also outlined in international conventions to which the Kingdom is signatory to, by having their appointees dig into the privacy of friends, family, acquaintances and other third parties uncontested.

On the issue of integrity and corruption, the UP Faction is not advocating that integrity lapses in one country justifies those is another. However, the Dutch Government admonishing St. Maarten and attempting to put itself on an integrity pedestal, is a case of the pot calling the kettle black. The international non-governmental organization Transparency International (TI) recently presented its assessment of the Dutch national integrity system and concluded that corruption in Dutch business equals in size the one in public sector.

The study concluded that the country was vulnerable to corruption and there was a ‘taboo’ among people in the country to speak about corruption. Moreover, it found out that “cooperation between public, social and private organisations in the realm of anti-corruption efforts is evaluated as being poor for the public sector, civil society and business.”

According to the report, in the Netherlands “anti-corruption initiatives are seldom developed by governmental or non-governmental organisations, or by business.” The study also mentioned the recent corruption scandals and the perception of the Dutch people that corruption has increased.

In addition, TI claimed that corruption detection, investigation and prosecution in the country were still difficult in practice, clarifying that a tension existed between the criminal justice interest in enforcement and the economic interest in avoiding criminal justice involvement and this tension made “the priority for investigating possible corruption by Dutch companies outside the Netherlands rather low.”

The report is also critical on the current legislation, finding out that “despite the existing steady stream of new legislation aimed at preventing corruption and protecting integrity, there are still areas where this legislation is inadequate’. This statement was made in connection to the lack of adequate protection in for whistle-blowers. Mind you, the same whistle-blower facility they want implemented on St. Maarten. They can’t even get it right in Holland.

The NGO’s report also alarmed that corruption among private parties was not punished in the Netherlands. Compared to other European countries, where corruption in the private sector is combated, the Netherlands lags behind.

Furthermore, TI found out that the corruption in the private sector was almost equal to the corruption by civil servants, while no cooperation existed between the two sectors in developing anti-corruption initiatives.

The report concluded that the Netherlands was frequently considered to be a corruption-free society in the eyes of international business, yet there were signs of lack of transparency, integrity and accountability.

The TI study comes to prove that no country is immune to the spread of corruption within its public or private sector. Nevertheless, the Dutch expectations for anti-corruption development in the new members of the EU, have been harsh and demanding.  (Contributed by the UP Party)

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BERMUDA Post Hurricane Gonzalo: Serious damage island wide. Damage assessment and clean-up underway

BERMUDA – After going through Tropical Storm Fay one week ago, Bermudians have woken up to massive damage on the island with more than 31,200 without electricity.  By 9.30AM Saturday morning, 28,850 customers were still without power.  Large areas are unreachable due to fallen trees and downed poles.

Police and Emergency Services have requested residents to remain at home and do not go out sightseeing.  Police will stop vehicles on the road.  Priority clearance areas are getting access to the hospital and the main roads.

The Causeway appears to be intact based on an initial assessment and should re-open by midday.  The airport is in a good state and should re-open on Sunday.  A Police Headquarters also suffered minor roof damage and part of the roof of the House of Parliament is damaged.

Many boats have been damaged or destroyed.  There are a lot of damaged roofs throughout the island.

There were no fatalities and some minor injuries.  66 persons made use of a hurricane shelter.

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Gonzalo Pushes POWER HOUR Back!

GREAT BAY – Hurricane Gonzalo, which passed over St. Maarten on Monday, October 13, 2014, has forced Foundation INFOBIZZ to reschedule the POWER HOUR which was going to be held on October 17, 2014. The POWER HOUR will be now integrated into the activities marking the Global Entrepreneurship Week from November 17-23, 2014.  

The community of the St. Maarten/ St. Martin and the team of Foundation INFOBIZZ are all recovering in the aftermath of the surprisingly powerful category 1 Hurricane Gonzalo.  With one casualty, homes without roofs, cars destroyed from fallen trees, and severe water damage INFOBIZZ urges all of the participants to focus on what is most important which is ensuring that they have fully recuperated from the effects of this hurricane and are properly prepared for the season. Also, for those that did not sustain much damage, they are encouraged to help those with contrasting experiences.   

POWER HOUR will be a part of the GLOBAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP WEEK (GEW) which is from November 17-23, 2014.  Tickets previously purchased remain valid. “Though we are adjusting to the effects of Gonzalo, as is everyone else, we are still passionate about providing a unique and dynamic platform to develop successful entrepreneurs.  The POWER HOUR was born during the Global Entrepreneurship Week 2013 on November 23.  It has since grown into a networking event which ignites people to start their businesses while connecting them to those that are willing to help in this crucial phase.  This is the spirit in which we want to participate in the Global Entrepreneurship Week 2014”, Ife Badejo, director of INFOBIZZ stated.

During this week, St. Maarten will be among more than 140 countries around the world assisting entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses through various activities and inclusion of entrepreneurial leaders. This year, two international entrepreneurs are confirmed: Dr. Will Moreland (USA), whose mission is to develop 10 000 entrepreneurs and Kenton Lord (Trinidad) a serial entrepreneur under 30 years of age who graduated from Florida Institute of Technology in Accounting and has 2 internet based businesses.  Also, various dynamic local successful entrepreneurs will be sharing their tips while inspiring and empowering those that dare to live their dreams.

While INFOBIZZ is gearing up for the best and biggest participation St. Maarten has had in the Global Entrepreneurship Week to date, the team wishes everyone a safe duration of the season and looks forward to their participation and support during GEW 2014 (November 17-23, 2014). For more information, please call +1-721-523-1842 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Minister of Justice given presentation of current controls by special police team

PHILIPSBURG - On Wednesday October 15th the Minister of Justice Hon. Dennis Richardson paid an official visit to the Philipsburg Police Station, where he was given a presentation regarding the ongoing intense police controls. A Special Police team has been busy with controls in getting rid of illegal fire-arms on the island.

During this six week period which started in September of this year, the Special Police Team confiscated no less than 34 illegal fire-arms while conducting their controls. These controls were carried out because of the large amount of fire-arms in circulation on the streets, the increase in the amount armed robberies, and many other criminal acts, such as manslaughter, assault and threats taking place on the island.

The minister was quite impressed with the results of these controls and encouraged the team to continue with the great work they are doing. The Chief Public Prosecutor Karola van Nie, the Acting Chief of Police Commissioner Carl John and the Chief Commissioner of Police Peter de Witte were present during the presentation. (Contributed by Police Force Sint Maarten)

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