Soualiga Newsday Features


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Soualiga Newsday Features (2724)

Democratic Party Presents Political Platform on Friday

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten - After postulating the candidates for the upcoming Parliamentary elections the DP introduced the themes of its 2014 Platform on Friday evening.

The announcement of its platform's readiness is in keeping with the Party's commitment to  present its political platform on or as close to postulation day as possible as stated in its articles of incorporation. On Saturday, two groups of the Party already started on the platform and events program for the Party going into the 2014 campaign.

“While there was much fanfare surrounding postulation with motorcades and parades the Democratic Party in the first instance decided to walk with its members and supporters to the Government Building in keeping with what we think is a serious occasion; the election for a Parliament that is serious and takes into account the needs of the people. We also walked in order to confirm our party’s commitment to fitness and movement in addition to not wanting to cause significant traffic back-ups in the Philipsburg area,” stated the Democratic Party Leadership.

The DP also highlighted its plans for the overall social advancement of St. Maarten; “We would like to remind the populace that all of the promises that our Leader, Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams, has made in 2010 were promises kept, this despite significant challenges within the coalition.

“The red thread throughout the program is the overall social advancement of all the people of our country. The Democratic Party is focusing on themes like nation building, education, inclusion, and sustainable development as part of the red thread. This reinvigorated Democratic Party also places significant focus on governance issues such as integrity and public service. The Democratic Party is ready to challenge those who now suddenly relish words like integrity and transparency when their actions until now show a disdainful lack of the smallest element of integrity or transparency.”  

In the coming weeks the leader of the Democratic Party and the candidates will be further expounding on these and other topics and the party's vision for an inclusive St. Maarten. (Contributed by the DP Party)



UP Board Reminds Supporters to Sign-UP on Monday at the Civil Registry Office in GREEN LIST Political Party Signature Drive

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – As part of the country’s new electoral process, political parties participating in the August 29, 2014 parliamentary elections will have to have voter’s endorse/sign-up their party at the Civil Registry Office on Pond Island.

The signature drive is on Monday, July 14 at the Civil Registry Office from 9.00am to 4.00pm.

The signing UP of your party can only be done by eligible voters who have to present a valid form of identification (ID-card, Passport or Driver’s License) when signing UP their party list which is the GREEN list.

The August 29th election will be the first parliamentary poll held under the new electoral laws of the country.  The election in September 2010 was held under the electoral laws of the Island Territory of Sint Maarten. 

“UP Party members, supporters, and well-wisher are reminded to come out on Monday, July 14 to sign-up the UP Party in order for the party to be able to participate in the country’s largest expression of its democracy at work.

“We are looking at winning the August 29 election outright with 8+1=9 seats.  The past four-years of experience of coalition government have destabilized our democracy. The so-called Mexican standoff was the worst political experience ever displayed bringing shame on our country.

“We can ill afford to head back down that track of coalition government for another four years.  The voters can also go back to the 1990s where coalition government created instability for nearly 10-years, and the voters in 1999 voted for stability and progress and elected one party into government. 

“On Monday, remember to ask for the GREEN list, because the voters know ‘we are ready’ to move this country forward and upward come August 30, the day after the elections when the UP Party will govern this country solo leading to economic revitalization and much more,” the United People’s (UP) Party Board said on Saturday.



Minister Lake would like all political parties to abide by the rules

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – Minister of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure (Ministry VROMI) Hon. Maurice Lake says all political parties need to abide by the rules where it concerns the placement of campaign material along or near the public roads.

Minister Lake was making reference to billboards adding that NV GEBE has cable buried in certain areas and if care is not taken these cables could be damaged, especially the cables that lead to street light poles.

“This is just what happened on Wednesday night with the Member of Parliament Hon. Roy Marlin. Based on a statement in social media, I would like to set the record straight and present the facts. 

“This ad hoc placement of information on the blogs does not do any justice for the community.  Based on the digging of the holes in that took place a certain area by a political party, the street lights cables got damaged and the street lights went out in the same area.  

“This has nothing to do with politics, but I know we are in the campaign season and everything will be turned into political rhetoric.  As Minister of VROMI I have to look out for the safety aspect of the residents in the area and I don’t play politics with this.

“I had to get GEBE on Thursday evening to fix the street lights for the safety of the residents and motorist. As political parties we got to be more responsible and look out for the wellbeing of the people.

“We need to show political maturity instead of laying petty politics and focus on the real issues which is creating jobs and housing for our people.  We need to empower our people to become and continue to be leaders within the social, economic and environmental sectors in the region and the world.

“I really don't understand why the MP has this fear of Maurice Lake.  I know some political parties are very desperate and are not ready for this election.  If they don't want to fire me it’s to make me look bad, destroy my character or slander me in the public eye, and it has all been backfiring on them.

“I will continue to stay focus on the work I have to do on behalf of the people, and create opportunities and get the job done on behalf of the people.  Let's focus on the people issues, abide by the rules and stop creating friction when there is none,” Minister Hon. Maurice Lake said on Friday.  

Minister stated that he has also spoken with the Minister of Justice regarding rules and regulations related to campaign material (billboards).

Lake added that NV GEBE is assessing the damage done and will submit a bill with respect to this to be paid by those who caused the damage.


Workshop Accountability and the Budget Cycle

LITTLE BAY, Sint Maarten - Recently the workshop ‘Accountability and the Budget Cycle’ took place at Divi Little Bay Beach Resort. The workshop was funded by USONA and organized by the Secretariat of the Council of Ministers Sint Maarten. The workshop participants consisted of the Financial Controllers of the seven Ministries, as well as, representatives of the Treasury Department and the Section Financial Policy, Taxes and Budgeting.

Mrs. Angela Dekker, USONA Manager Sint Maarten, presented the participants with their certificate at the end of the two-day workshop.

The workshop facilitators were Professor dr. Khi V. Thai of Florida Atlantic University (FAU) School of Public Administration and Mr. Scott Miller, PhD.

Dr. Khi Thai is an expert in regard to Public Finance and provides consultancy and trainings in countries all over the world. Most recently, he has provided technical assistance to the South Florida Water Management District, the Government of Sierra Leone, Uganda, Bulgaria, Columbia, and the Federal Government of Canada. In addition, he has served as Director of the Bureau of Public Administration at the University of Maine and as Director of the School of Public Administration at Florida Atlantic University.

Mr. Scott Miller has worked extensively in the private and public sector in the United States of America. Currently he is a managing partner and senior director in two consulting firms specialized in consulting governments and the private sector situated in California. His last position in the public sector was as Chief Financial Officer and Director of Finance and Administrative Services in Broward County, Florida. Broward County has a lot of similarities with Sint Maarten as it also includes an international Airport and Harbor.

Both facilitators discussed and shared with the workshop participants the following topics ‘The four pillars of sound Public Financial Management’, Budget Cycle: Fiscal and Technical perspectives, Budgetary techniques, Fiscal Responsibility and Management, Treasury/Financial Management, Budget and Financial Auditing and Accounting and Issues in Budget Execution.

A workgroup has been formed as a result of the workshop, with as objective to further develop relevant policies and budgetary tools to assist the budget cycle on Sint Maarten. Both dr. Thai and Mr. Miller have pledged their on-going assistance in guiding the workgroup in their actions.



TelEm Group reporting a major outage on 3G Network

POND ISLAND, Sint Maarten – At approximately 11:00 am this morning, TelEm Group reported a major outage of the company’s 3G Network, affecting telecommunications services throughout St. Maarten.

Among services affected are telecommunication services to the Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIAE), local banks and other businesses using E1 lines.

A technical troubleshooting team from TelEm Group is doing its utmost to restore all services as soon as possible with the assistance of equipment vendors overseas.



UP Board Invites Supporters to Postulation Day GREEN Parade

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – The board of the United People's Party (UP) is inviting its supporters, well-wishers and sympathizers to its ‘Postulation Day GREEN Parade.

Postulation Day is Friday, July 11.  The UP Party will be presenting its 23-strong slate of candidates to the Central Voting Bureau.

Postulation Day represents the official kick-off of the August 29, 2014 parliamentary elections.

Everybody participating in the Postulation Day GREEN Parade should gather at the Ring Road across the street from the old Van Dorp Building/John Larmonie Center on Friday, July 11 at 12.30pm.

The GREEN Parade will roll-out from the Ring Road around 1.00pm towards F.W. Vlaun & Son and then towards the former Paper Garden Building and turn up Front Street rolling upward to the head of town and then up and over the bridge and turn left on the W.G. Buncamper Road towards the Sucker Garden round-a-bout to the Pondfill and stopping right up in front of the Government Administration Building.

The board of the United People's Party (UP) is inviting its supporters, well-wishers and sympathizers to come as GREEN as they can to celebrate the UP party’s official kick-off on postulation day for the August 29 parliamentary polls.


Leona Romeo-Marlin runs for office under the United St. Maarten Party

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten - Head of the Civil Registry Department; Leona Marlin-Romeo will be contesting the upcoming Parliamentary Elections as candidate number two (2) on the United St. Maarten’s Party (US Party) slate.

Romeo-Marlin holds a Master’s Degree in International Relations, a Bachelors of Science degree in Political Science with a minor in French. Combined with a stellar educational background, Romeo-Marlin also serves as Head of the Civil Registry Department, a position she has held for more than a decade and has brought significant changes and structure to the Operations and Management of the department.

 Aside from being an academia, Mrs. Romeo-Marlin also boasts a brief political career, which was launched in October 2010; with another party. "I entered the political arena four years ago in the last general elections under the leadership of another party," she explained in a press release. "I bear no animosity and my respect for the party leader remains unsullied, however, there comes a time when you need to evaluate yourself. you have to take a step back to see if your path is aligned with the goals you want to accomplish for your country and in that moment you have to make a decision to be true to yourself and stand for what you believe in."

Marlin-Romeo plans to use her experience, knowledge, qualifications and expertise to bring about a new vision for the people of St. Maarten and plans to champion values and issues plaguing our current system namely: Integrity, excellence and dedication, inclusion and awareness to the constitution of St. Maarten.

"Anyone who knows me know that I am firm believer in integrity," she said. "Integrity, honesty and full disclosure.  Therefore, promoting and bringing continuous awareness of the importance of proper work ethics and the practice of having good moral common values in office is a high priority for me."

 "Guided by these principles, my mandate will be to lobby for causes such as Inclusion- St. Maarten is a unique island as it represents over 57,000 registered persons, with 114 different nationalities, making it one of the smallest, but largest Cosmopolitan Island. Been strategically positioned, it is a hub zone that acts as a connecting point for many other countries. With such a diverse population, it is important that we embrace those who have made St. Maarten their permanent home and have helped to build a stronger and unified St. Maarten, this great nation.”

A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent. —Douglas MacArthur

(Press Statement Contributed by the Team to Elect Leona Marlin-Romeo)


DP Congratulates Emil Lee on Appointment as Caribbean Hospitality and Trade Association President

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten - The Democratic Party of St. Maarten (DP) has congratulated distinguished St. Maarten Hotelier and former President of the St. Maarten Hospitality and Trades Association Emil Lee in his appointment as President of the Caribbean Hospitality and Tourism Association (CHTA).

On July 1st The Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA) elected new officers at its Annual General Meeting (AGM), held at the Hyatt Regency in Miami. Lee is the first person from St. Maarten to be elected to the association's highest post.

“The whole Democratic Party family would like to extend our congratulations to Emile for being elected the new President of the CHTA. His election shows that the Democratic Party, its board and its candidates is comprised of meaningful and dedicated individuals who, in their respective fields, are getting it right,” read a DP statement.

According to the CHTA Website the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association facilitates the full potential of the Caribbean hotel and tourism industry by serving members' needs and building partnerships in a socially responsible and sustainable manner. CHTA is the voice of the Caribbean hospitality industry for the development of the region in the highly competitive and sophisticated environment of international tourism. (Contributed by the DP Party)


Civil registry back office staff do very well on tests

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – Head of the Civil Registry Department Leona Marlin-Romeo, said on Monday that all Back Office staff passed their tests with the highest grade coming in at 8.6.

Back Office staff at the department did a course in Nationality, Migration, Documents & Petitions, and Elections.

The course was given by Censor Bestuur and was financed by USONA. 

The course took place between May 26 and June 28.  Exams took place on a weekly basis.

The staff made a guidebook for the last module on Elections and this will be presented to the Minister of General Affairs for review and possible implementation. 

“Management would like to extend congratulations to each one of the Back Office workers as this was an intensive training that required their dedication, input, and time.

“These courses will assist the department to continue to strive for excellence in their work, and with the training staff members that are competent in their given tasks.  The results of the Front Office staff will be known within short,” Department Head Leona Marlin-Romeo said on Monday.


Minister Lake assists with Backboards for St. Peters and Simpson Bay Basketball Courts

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – Minister of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure (Ministry VROMI) Hon. Maurice Lake assisted the youths of St. Peters and Simpson Bay Village with respect to temporary backboards for the basketballs courts in two districts.

Permanent boards are scheduled to arrive at the end of July or early August.  Public Works will install the backboard at the Simpson Bay Village court on Thursday.

“I am a community oriented person and I love sports.  I heard about the plight of these youngsters in the two districts and I just wanted to get them back on the court.

“Even though sports are not my portfolio, I listen to the youth.  Schools are closed and you have young people on holiday.  In the Bible it says, ‘Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.’ In order to keep our young people busy and out of trouble, I saw a need and I assisted by working with other community minded people.

“This was a community effort, and I would like to thank David Forsythe who has been very instrumental in spearheading this project to get permanent replacement backboards through the St. Maarten Soccer Educational Foundation and funded by USONA.

“I would also like to thank Louis Richardson from St. Peters who trains and develops the youngsters who come out to play basketball.  The Dutch Marines also volunteered their time to do community work in the district and helped with the installation of the backboard in St. Peters,” Minister Hon. Maurice Lake said on Monday.

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