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Nine arrested after becoming stuck in container in hunt for drugs

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Nine people have been found suffering from breathing difficulties after becoming trapped in a container in Rotterdam port, broadcaster NOS said on Monday afternoon.

It is unclear how long they were in the container, but a spokesman for Hutchison Ports ECT Rotterdam said the group had broken in to pick up a drugs shipment. The container itself was full of tree trunks.

According to local broadcaster RTV Rijmond, the emergency services were alerted by the people in the container, who said they were having trouble breathing. The men, aged 18 to 23, were first checked by ambulance staff and then arrested.

The Telegraaf said it had been told by port sources that 110 people had been caught trying to to retrieve drugs hidden in containers at the port within a 10-day period. On Saturday alone, 25 people were caught, including one who had been stopped three times before, the paper said.

Port police chief Jan Janse told the paper that one method used by drugs gangs involves driving a container full of people into the port. The driver then drops the container close to where the drugs are so that they can pick up the drugs.

‘This is only possible thanks to corrupt people working for transport and port companies,’ he said.

Officials also regularly find containers equipped with food and sleeping areas, which the gangs use to hide in until they can get at the drugs, Janse said. Last week, European police organisation Europol said Antwerp and Rotterdam are the new centres of the European cocaine trade.

(DutchNews)

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TelEm Group hails launch of new TelTV+ Service

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - Telecommunication provider, TelEm Group, proudly announces the launch of TelTV+ - a brand-new IPTV High-Definition television service for the St. Maarten community.

Featuring 150 channels and a host of power-packed features for all tele-viewing tastes, TelTV+ is designed to be affordable and will be catering to all age groups and a diverse St. Maarten community.

TelEm Group has been working diligently for the past year to first select, purchase, develop and test its new IPTV system in order to “revolutionize” television viewing in St. Maarten homes following the devastation of the island’s cable TV infrastructure in 2017.

Following an intensive testing phase, company technicians and customer care representative have spent the past two weeks migrating current Duo-Play, Triple-Play and other TelTV subscribers to the new TelTV+ network free of charge, so that they can experience the vast improvement in service including:

  • Up to 150 channels of high-quality viewing including HD quality movies and shows.
  • Customized packages for Sports, Entertainment or Movie lovers.
  • Personal live recording of shows and events.
  • Option to view programs on cell phones, PC and TV, anywhere and at any time.

TelEm Group Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) Mr. Michiel Parent, says the new TelTV+ service is a vast improvement on the company’s old IPTV system which he expects to be fully phased out by the end of the month, as all subscribers are migrated to the new service with all the channels they can possibly want and super-clear high-definition (HD) viewing of over 60 selected channels.

With the new IPTV service, customers can stream video content directly from the internet and will soon be able to have the option of viewing their favorite sit-coms and shows on the go using special Android and iOS apps.

Plans are also in place to migrate CableTV customers to the new faster, sharper IPTV system at a later date.

“We have created some amazing packages so that subscribers can sign up for what they want from their IPTV service, by offering a basic package and add-on packages for sports, entertainment and movies. Stingray music channels are also included in the package choices,” says the Commercial Director.

Mr. Parent says TelEm Group has added a lot of Caribbean and local content to the TelTV+ channel mix, including content from neighboring St. Kitts, further afield, Barbados, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Curacao, Aruba, Bonaire, Trinidad & Tobago. Local Channel TV15 will continue to have a presence along with CANITV and TVCarib.

During a press conference at the TelEm Group main building on Pond Island, Monday, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr. Kendall Dupersoy, congratulated TelEm Group staff for bringing the new TelTV+ IPTV service to market from start to finish.

“Until the purchase of St. Marten Cable TV by TelEm Group in 2017, our core business had been telecommunication services, not television, so we have had to learn fast,” said Mr. Dupersoy.

He said both TelEm and St. Maarten Cable TV were dealt crippling blows from Hurricane Irma in 2017, when it was clear full restoration of the old Cable TV network would not be viable venture.

“We thought we could build out our fledgling IPTV service that we were providing with TelTV, however the product was not good enough, with an insufficient number of channels which were also poor in viewing quality,” continued the CEO.

He said he made it his mission to find a suitable replacement that is affordable and also appealing to the local community. Best of all he wanted a system that could enhance the company’s rollout of an island-wide fiber optic network, that would ensure a more reliable and higher quality IPTV system for the island.

“I am very proud to be announcing today the launch of our new TelTV+ for which I thank everyone for the patience and assure that they will not be disappointed once they see for themselves and experience TelTV,” said Mr. Dupersoy.

The CEO says he is also most proud of the manner in which several TelEm Group departments collaborated to make today’s new service launch possible.

“From the selection of a system that would be a perfect fit for St. Maarten, to the installation and integration into all the telecommunication, administrative and financial systems in the company has been an in-house affair, which has taken time, but has been an important learning process for how we become more self-sufficient and resilient with the technologies that we deploy,” said Mr. Dupersoy.

Picture3 TEL TV

 

 

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SCDF presents Carnival COVID safety plan to Minister Ottley

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - The St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) on Monday presented the foundation’s COVID19 Safety Plan for Carnival 2022 to Minister of Public Health Omar Ottley.

The plan builds on the SCDF’s existing safety plan which would have been put in place if Carnival 2021 was held earlier this year. The foundation has expanded the Coronavirus protocols keeping in mind government’s initiatives and the availability of a vaccine.

The plan covers every aspect of Carnival and will be divulged to the public in short time once the Minister and his team have had time to peruse the plan. President of the SCDF Alston Lourens said that the foundation and the Minister are already on the same page with many aspects of the plan.

“Now we need to continue to work together to ensure we have a safe festival and maybe make some Caribbean history in the process. The plan includes a promotion aspect that kicks off soon. It is important for us to use the months leading up to Carnival to not just promote the festival but also accomplish certain goals.  We have been very thorough,” Lourens said.

He went on to thank the Minister for meeting with the foundation and exchanging ideas for Carnival 2022. The SCDF is in the middle of its registration process for Carnival 2022 and have already closed off registration for booth holders and international shows. All booths are filled and all shows assigned.    

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Unit Security Completes Two-week Aviation Security Training

SINT EUSTATIUS (ORANJESTAD) - The Unit Security of the Public Entity St. Eustatius followed a two-week Aviation Security Training. The training enables them to carry out their duties more efficiently and effectively in compliance with the Local and International Aviation Regulations.  

The Unit Security recently appointed new security officers. This group had to go through the training to be well prepared for the daily activities within their function. It was also necessary to recertify the other employees in order for them to be up to date with the new developments within their profession.  

Leadership 

The supervisors have been trained in leadership to enhance their skills in operational leadership. It was organized by PO of the Public Entity and facilitated by Isidro Sint Jago and Elvida Gumbs who work at the Security Department of the Princess Juliana Airport in St. Maarten.  

Certificates for the training will be distributed at a function on September 23rd, 2021. The purpose of the event is also to honor all security guards of the Public Entity as part of the International Security Appreciation Week. (Statia GIS)   

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Jeep overturned on the Long wall road

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On Wednesday morning, September 8, 2021 at about 10:40 a.m. Central Dispatch received a report of a jeep that overturned on Long Wall Road.

At the scene it later emerged that the driver of a beige Suzuki Vitara for some unknown reason lost control of the vehicle, struck a lamp post and subsequently overturned.

The driver of the Vitara had not suffered any injuries . The investigation into this cause of the traffic accident is ongoing. (KPSM)

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New team Kadaster Statia presents itself to Government Commissioners

SINT EUSTATIUS (ORANJESTAD) - The new team of Kadaster St. Eustatius was introduced to the Government Commissioners Alida Francis and Claudia Toet yesterday, Monday, September 6th, 2021. The introduction took place during a meeting with the Kadaster, the Land Registry and the Government Commissioners. Arline Alexander has been appointed as the mandated registrar and Erroll Brice as the Surveyor Specialist. Riency Holder will hand over his duties and return as Director of Kadaster Bonaire in October 2021.

Alida Francis said during the meeting that the Government Commissioners have full confidence in the new team of Kadaster in Statia. “They are highly qualified and experienced. I would like to thank Riency Holder for his support and work the past year. Great progress has been made under his supervision in the modernization and quality of the cadastral services.”

Mr. Frank Tierolff, chair of the Board in charge of Kadaster and Land Registry, commented that they are very lucky to have such a highly qualified team in place. “We are committed to provide cadastral services on a professional level. We are dedicated to further improve our services for all the people of Statia, and this new team is an essential factor for this ambition.”

Furthermore, several agreements have been signed between the Public Entity and Kadaster. One important agreement is the “Vervreemdingsverklaring” in which the Public Entity hands over the cadastral archives in order for Kadaster to perform its tasks. The other two agreements are service agreements between both entities. One agreement entails the hiring of staff from the Public Entity for financial administrative work. The other agreement refers to renting the office space of the Public Entity for Kadaster. The latter one includes the use of the vehicle for fieldwork, office supplies, network and telephone, IT support, etc.

Furthermore, the new tariffs for 2022 were discussed, as well as the state of affairs regarding housing of the office of Kadaster. For more information, please visit the website https://kadastersinteustatius.org/

(Statia GIS)

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Salary Budget Government Commissioners not exceeded

SINT EUSTATIUS (ORANJESTAD) - Government Commissioners Alida Francis and Claudia Toet find it important to clarify questions about the second periodical reporting raised in reports in the newspaper and on radio last weekend.

The first question referred to a cost overrun on salary costs of former Government Commissioner Marnix van Rij and former Deputy Government Commissioner Alida Francis. The article further indicated that there was an overrun of 2 million USD on allowances allocated to the Public Entity St. Eustatius.

These two points taken up in the second implementation report were misinterpreted in the news article.

Previously the Central Government financed the salaries of the Government Commissioners. This has changed at the end of the year 2020 which effected the regular budget in 2021. Due to the change, it might seem that the budget was exceeded but in reality, it has not. The next step is that a budget amendment needs to take place.

The Unit Finance of the Public Entity St. Eustatius confirms that there were no extra salary costs for previous Government Commissioners van Rij and Francis. One of the changes in the change management plan for Finance is to work accordingly to the Decree Budget and Reporting (Besluit Begroting en Verantwoording).

The salaries of the Government Commissioners are a budget neutral item in the budget. Effective 2021 the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations has decided to exclude the addition to the free allowance of the salary costs for Government Commissioners, to be provided to the Public Entity by other means. From 2021, a special allowance will be provided by the Ministry to the Public Entity to cover the budgeted salary costs of the Government Commissioners.

In the article it was also indicated that there would be an overrun of 2 million USD in the second periodical reporting. The Public Entity St. Eustatius states that this is also not correct. There is no overspending of 2 million USD. The projects are not closed administratively, which means that additional costs are yet to be transferred. 

Phases to return to democracy

Under the Provisions Recovery Act St. Eustatius (Wet Herstel Voorzieningen Sint Eustatius) adopted by the First and Second Chamber in July 2020, the Government Commissioners have other authorities compared to the normal democratic situation.

This Law refers to 4 different phases and are linked to 12 criteria which must be met to be able to return to full democracy. During the phases, the Government Commissioners have different authorities than in a normal situation where full democracy is applicable. During the phases the members of the Island Council have limited authorities. We are currently in the phase where the Island Council has the authority to approve ordinances, but not yet ordinances or decisions of a financial nature.

Close cooperation

The Government Commissioners believe in good governance and fostering close cooperation on the way to the restoration of democracy, in an open and transparent manner while closely working with the Island Council on the financials aspects.

Although the Wet Herstel Voorzieningen St. Eustatius is in effect granting the Government Commissioners certain powers and authorities, there are two authorities being the College Financieel Toezicht (CFT) and the Ministry of Interior and Kingdom Relations that have a supervisory role. The CFT has resumed its supervisory task since July 16th, 2020.

Information

Informative videos to inform the public on the status of the phases and the criteria are expected to be launched in September 2021. Phase 1 (including the criteria) was explained by Government Commissioners during the information campaign leading up to the 2021 elections of the Island Council. (Statia GIS)

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Dutch Neanderthal dubbed Krijn has been given jolly grin

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The first Dutch Neanderthal, part of whose skull was found on a Zeeland beach 20 years ago, has finally been given a face.

The piece of bone, a fossilised brow ridge, had been sucked from the seabed by a shell collecting machine and deposited on the beach where it was discovered by amateur paleantologist Luc Anthonis in 2009.

The Leiden Museum of antiquities was given the skull and had a reconstruction made by Dutch ‘paleo artists’ Alfons and Adrie Kennis based on scientific research. This determined the bone had belonged to a stocky young man who had lump over one eye caused by a small tumour.

The fossil is between 50,000 and 70,000 years old. Krijn, as the Neanderthal man has been dubbed, lived in an area called Doggerland, the prehistoric land link which once connected the low countries and Britain.

A million people are thought to have lived in Doggerland until climate changes flooded the last of the dry land for good around 5800 BC, creating a paleontological treasure trove beneath the waves.

The reconstruction and the fossil are part of the museum’s current exhibition about Doggerland (until October 31).

(DutchNews)

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Cities campaign to cut cost of changing slavery-related names

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Utrecht city council is willing to pick up the bill for people who wish to change their surname because of its association with slavery, website Nu.nl said on Tuesday.

Together with Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague, the city is campaigning to make changing a slavery-related name easier, and Utrecht is prepared to pay the cost itself, if necessary, Nu.nl said.

Changing your name in the Netherlands requires a great deal of paperwork and costs at least €835. However, people who want to change their name because of its colonial roots have to undergo a psychological examination, which can also cost thousands of euros, Nu.nl said.

The money is not refunded if the request is refused.

Slavery-related names include those derived from Dutch names, such as Vriesde from De Vries or from Dutch and European cities. Some people are named after the plantation their ancestors were enslaved on such as Eendragt.

Last year, 2,863 applied to change their name, but just one request has been made in relation to slavery in the previous 12 months, Nu.nl said. Utrecht said it expects to know in December how many people wish to change the name because of its origins.

(DutchNews)

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Don’t send home entire class after positive Covid test, experts say

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Government health advisors are recommending that primary schools do not send home entire classes if one pupil tests positive for coronavirus, Trouw reported on Monday.

Hundreds of schools have been affected by the measure since the end of the summer holidays, causing problems for teachers and parents alike.

However, Trouw says, the Outbreak Management Team which advises the government on dealing with the pandemic, is recommending that only pupils who have ‘close contact’ with the affected child be sent home.

Health minister Hugo de Jonge is due to publish new guidelines on September 20. The current rule is ‘extremely unfortunate’, paediatrician and OMT member Karoly Illy told the paper.

‘In addition, by September 20 we will not be dealing with people returning from holiday in risky countries,’ he said. ‘So it is a relatively safe time to ditch the quarantine rule.’ A spokesman for the primary school council PO-raad said the organisation had been planning to request changes to the quarantine rules because of the difficulties they were creating.

At secondary schools, only pupils who are in close contact with children who test positive have to go into quarantine. The Netherlands offers vaccinations against coronavirus to everyone over the age of 11.

(DutchNews)

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