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Suspect arrested in Kangaroo Court break-in

PHILIPSBURG - In connection with the break-in at Kangaroo Court of which a video-clip was publicized on several Social Media platforms, police have arrested the suspect identified as F.L., police announced on Friday.

The suspect is well-known to police and was taken to the police headquarters where he remains in custody for further investigation. (Sint Maarten Police Force)

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DCOMM has already started airing Hurricane Season Awareness PSAs

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - As part of the Government of St. Maarten Hurricane Awareness campaign executed/carried out/implemented through the official channel of the Department of Communication (DCOMM), a number of radio and video Public Service Announcements (PSAs) have been created for the different target audiences in different languages, besides English, there are PSAs in French, Creole, and Spanish.

At the present moment all PSAs can be heard and seen throughout the day on SXM Gov radio station 107.9 and on the social media platforms of Government such as Facebook said Acting Department Head, Maurice Lake.

The PSAs are meant to inform the different publics so that they not only understand the content but that they will do what they can to mitigate the effects of an approaching Hurricane. And by reaching some people in different languages we are able to communicate directly with them, in a more personal way in their own language, Lake added.

There are five (5) Public Service Announcements (PSAs), dealing with important issues that the public must be aware of, namely, from what a hurricane is, and it’s potential devastating effects, and what to do when a Hurricane is approaching the island; tips to keep the family safe, a gab- or to-go bag with the emergency necessities needed; a reminder of what all to do to lessen the effects of a destructive Hurricane; what specific actions to take, from around the house and your general neighborhood to preparations in-house, securing the windows and doors, staying away from windows, and making sure food supplies are enough for up to seven-days for each person in the house.                   

DCOMM has already started airing all of the PSAs in the different languages on SXM Gov Radio Station 107.9 FM and has sent them to other media houses and radio stations for broadcast; they will be provided to the different community councils for placement on their Facebook Pages and to informal leader group chats to get the message out to every sector in our multicultural community, Lake further explained.

For official weather and hurricane related news for the 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season, you can go to the Government’s information portals of DCOMM’s Facebook/sxmgov, YouTube/sxmgov and website www.sintmaartengov.org.

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LU staff goes through refresher CPR training

SINT MAARTEN (CAY HILL) - With children under their care for hours a day, faculty and staff of the Learning Unlimited Preparatory School (LUPS) do their utmost to be prepared for any eventuality.

In preparation for the new school year which begins on Monday, August 19, faculty and staff refreshed their CPR skills. Most of the staff had done a CPR course before, but prudency dictates refresher courses are important when it comes to life saving skills.

Focus was mainly on CPR or Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation – a combination of chest compressions and rescue breaths. We started off with Scene Assessment and the use of barriers – in other words, how to make sure that as an Emergency Responder they don’t take risks that could harm themselves. How to spot the signs of cardiac arrest and the Cycle of Care were important steps that was tackled using manikins complete with CPR monitoring.

The group practiced CPR as a single Emergency Responder, but also in teams of two. They also discussed using an AED or Automated External Defibrillator. While CPR is important, the AED is the life saving device that makes it possible to bring an erratically beating heart back to a normal heart rhythm.

On request the staff also discussed another life threatening emergency: Airway Obstruction, a situation many probably recognize but not always know exactly how to deal with. A demonstration was given how to help someone that suffers from a complete airway obstruction.

LUPS is ready for the start of a new academic year and now also ready for medical emergencies.

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Dozens of Dutch nationals hospitalised abroad with dengue fever

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – So far this year, 56 Dutch nationals have been hospitalised abroad with dengue fever, RTL Nieuws said on Thursday. The figures come from the Eurocross organisation, which helps people who become ill abroad.

The 2019 figure is more than double the number of diagnoses in the same period last year. Dengue has increased dramatically within the last 20 years and there could be as many as 390 million infections a year, according to some estimates.

It is spread by mosquitoes and causes severe headaches, muscle pain and painful skin problems The disease is particularly prevalent in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Laos, the Marshall Islands, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Thailand and on the Philippines, all of which report an increase in cases in the general population this year, RTL said.

(DutchNews)

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Opportunities for combating crime through projects of Crime Fund remain largely unexploited

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – The Law Enforcement Council (“the Council”) has conducted an inspection on the use of the Sint Maarten Crime Fund. The Council concluded that the recommendations it has made so far, unfortunately have not led to substantial or structural improvements of the Fund. Monies were used for other purposes than for what they were originally intended.

In this regard, it should be noted that the Council inspected, in particular, whether funds from the Crime Fund have been allocated to projects for which the Crime Fund was intended since its inception in 2010. The Council's conclusion was that even with a broad definition of the concepts ‘project' and 'combating crime', hardly any expenditures were made in line with the purpose as envisioned by the legislator and Parliament when the Crime Fund was instituted.

Emergency provision

According to the Council, opportunities for combating crime by means of projects have remained largely unexploited. This while the Crime Fund, the facility that was specially designed to facilitate such development, is used for matters for which it was not intended. Although these expenditures may be considered as related to combating crime, the Fund has, de facto, become an 'emergency provision' for the Minister of Justice for expenditures for which there are no funds within the regular budget of the Ministry and the various organizations.

Funding of projects

The purpose of the Sint Maarten Crime Fund is to fund projects geared towards combating crime. Its income is derived from, amongst others, paid fines and confiscated criminal money. The Minister of Justice is ultimately responsible for the Crime Fund. Under his supervision, the head of the Judicial Affairs Department manages the day to day management of the Crime Fund. In recent years, both the Law Enforcement Council and other organizations have inspected (topics related to) the Crime Fund and made recommendations for improvements. The latest report published by the Council focuses solely on the funding of projects by the Crime Fund.

Six recommendations

The Council emphasizes that the Crime Fund can be very beneficial for the development of law enforcement. Proper supervision, management and (democratic) control of the Crime Fund are prerequisites for this. Based on its findings the Council made six recommendations that will benefit the proper management of the Crime Fund and therewith the facilitation of projects with the focus on combating crime:

  1. Comply with the legal obligations as stated in the National Ordinance Crime Fund. In any event, give follow-up to the recommendations already made by the Council regarding the Fund. These concern: ‘Include a policy plan to the annual budget listing the various projects that qualify for funding by the Crime Fund’ and ‘Guide the process toward the instalment of the Steering Committee for the fight against crime, and involve the Committee in the management of the Crime Fund'.
  2. Develop an up to date policy for the Crime Fund. In doing so, take into account the criteria, processes and procedures with regard to the submission-, handling-, granting of project requests and (justification of) decisions in this respect and include the necessary definitions.
  3. To limit risks of improper use and misuse of funds from the Crime Fund, establish rules and safeguards in a National Ordinance.
  4. Ensure that the physical and digital administration/registration with regard to the submission, review, granting and payment of projects is complete and ensure that the procedures and documents pertaining to the applicable legislation and policies are complied with and are obtained in a timely manner.
  5. Ensure that all claims on behalf of the Crime Fund are paid back.
  6. Give more publicity to the Crime Fund.

The Council’s full report is available on its website www.raadrechtshandhaving.com or http://rrh-sxm.org. 

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Central Bank tightens monetary policy in order for Governments to Implement Strong Economic Policies

SINT MAARTEN/CURACAO - The Central Bank of Curaçao and Sint Maarten (CBCS) considers it prudent to preventively stabilize the gradual decline in the gross official reserves and import coverage, CBCS announced in a statement on Tuesday evening.

“This will provide room to the governments of Curaçao and Sint Maarten to implement strong economic policies, including a gradual and sustainable reduction of the budget deficits and the introduction of structural reforms directed at a strong competitive position for sustainable export growth and mitigation of import growth.

“Consequently, the deficit on the current account of the balance of payments can be reduced and the foreign exchanges reserves strengthened. The gross official reserves (excluding gold) of the monetary union show a gradually declining trend as of August 2018.

“Consequently, the import coverage slowly declined to 3.7 months as per July 2019. The main reasons for this trend are: 1. The considerable external shocks to the economies of the monetary union. In Sint Maarten, the tourism industry was affected by the hurricane disaster.

“In Curaçao, the crisis in Venezuela impacted the oil sector (refinery) as well as the harbor, aviation (the collapse of InselAir), and free-zone activities. 2. The conclusion of the debt relief of the former Netherlands Antilles by the Netherlands, which ended the related inflow of foreign exchange in 2018. 3. Higher imports due to increased oil prices and the reconstruction needs of Sint Maarten. 4. Higher foreign interest rates.

“The monetary tightening implies that the CBCS will reintroduce biweekly tenders of Certificates of Deposit (CDs) among the local banks in the second half of August 2019. The CBCS will offer CDs both in Netherlands Antillean guilders (NAf) and US dollars (USD) on a regular basis.

“While the CDs in NAf are intended to further reduce the excess liquidity in the banking system, the CDs in USD are aimed at making it attractive for the banks to hold US dollars with the CBCS. Furthermore, the CBCS decided to maintain its pledging rate at 2.50%.”

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Carnival Queens Embark on Building Character Initiative

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The 2019/2020 St. Maarten Senior Carnival Queen D’shnay Mathew York and Teen Carnival Queen Shaneisha Robinson over the weekend embarked on an initiative aimed at building character and self-esteem amongst youth on the island.

The Youth Academic and Community Achievement Summer Giveback targeted students between the ages of 12 - 18. Members of the community were asked via Facebook to nominate a young person who has excelled academically or one who has done outstanding works in the community.

The queens then drew the 10 names out of 30 names live on Facebook. In addition to open, positive discussions, the youth were treated to breakfast and lunch on both days sponsored by The Johnny Caker and Yvettes Kitchen.

The second day was filled with outdoor activities where Pelican Peak sponsored a day of ziplining.

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MP Brison is a Teacher for a Day at MPC

SINT MAARTEN (SOUTH REWARD) – United Sint Maarten Party (USP) Member of Parliament (MP) Rolando Brison was at the Milton Peters College (MPC) on Tuesday being "Teacher for a Day", teaching students about SMART objectives and sharing general knowledge.

MP Brison said he was very happy for the opportunity to interact with the students and intends to do much more of these activities with St. Maarten's best and brightest.

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Amsterdam councillors call for debate following rise in gun violence

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Amsterdam city councillors want to hold a speedy debate with officials following a rise in gang-related violence in the past few weeks.

The leaders of all 12 parties represented on the council have called for the debate, stating that ‘guns and violence are not part of our city’. There have been five shooting incidents in Amsterdam in the past four days – three of which took place in the city’s Zuidoost district.

One person was killed in the shootings, one injured and several private homes were hit by bullets. Local broadcaster AT5, which monitors gun violence in the city, says there have been 50 incidents so far this year.

Sentences

Last week it emerged that Amsterdam judges have reached an agreement to impose higher sentences on people found guilty of weapons offences. ‘There have been a lot of stabbings and killings in the city and people are more willing to use hand grenades,’ spokesman Domien Huijbregts told the AD.

‘That is why we want to give a clear signal. This is completely unacceptable.’ Last year, the Dutch capital again topped the annual league table of municipalities with the worst crime rates.

The number of incidents in the capital fell overall in 2018, but there was an increase in vehicle thefts, street robbery and assault, according to the 18th edition of the Misdaadmeter survey. In total, 14 people were murdered in Amsterdam.

(DutchNews)

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20 illegal workers controlled. Contractors receive hefty fines

SINT MAARTEN (BEACON HILL) - On Friday August 9th a multi-disciplinary team consisting of members of the KPSM Mobile Unit, Human Trafficking Unit, Alpha Team, Uniform Division, the Prosecution Service, Coast Guard, Inspectors of the VSA (Public Health, Social Development and Labour) and SZV Social and Health Insurance conducted a control on illegal workers at the Alegria Hotel construction site located in Beacon Hill.

A total of 20 illegal workers in service for two separate construction companies were controlled.

From the control it was apparent that all workers were working illegally and had no insurance. All workers were registered by the Immigration Mobile Unit and were given the obligation to report to the department on specific dates.

The two construction companies for whom these persons worked were given a hefty fine. (Sint Maarten Police Force KPSM)

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