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Soualiga Newsday Focus (1937)

WEATHER WATCH SABA/ST. EUSTATIUS: KNMI Issues Warning for thunderstorms, severe wind gusts and small craft advisory

SABA/ST. EUSTATIUS – The Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) from the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment on Tuesday issued a thunderstorm warning, also for severe wind gusts and a small craft advisory.

The aforementioned is related to the weather system that will be passing to the south across the Lesser Antilles between Martinique and Barbados into the Caribbean Sea between Wednesday and Thursday.

Warning thunderstorms

From Wednesday afternoon until and including Thursday evening there is a risk of thunderstorms, which may be accompanied by heavy rain.

Severe wind gusts (>=75 km/h)

From Wednesday afternoon there's a risk of severe gusts around 75 km/h. Especially during (thundery) showers these gusts may exceed 75 km/h up to 100 km/h. After Wednesday 22:00 local time wind speeds decrease a little, but during showers gusts of around 75 km/h will still be possible.

Small Craft Advisory

Wind >= 6 Bft, waves >= 8 ft and/or swell >10 s

On Wednesday occasional strong to near gale easterly winds, force 6-7, with occasional gusts around 40 kt are expected. In showers risk gusts up to 50 kt. Also rough seas with waves 8-11 ft are expected from Wednesday afternoon on. Small craft should exercise caution.

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Accessible tourism will benefit everyone, say senior UN officials on World Day

SINT MAARTEN/INTERNATIONAL, 27 September 2016 – Noting the obstacles that persons with disabilities or those with other access requirements face in taking advantage of fundamental aspects of travel, senior United Nations officials today urged policy-makers, travel planners and companies that work with persons with disabilities to work together to make travel more accessible.

“Everyone has the right to access leisure and tourism services on an equal basis,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his message on World Tourism Day. He added, however: “Even with modern technologies, those with visual, hearing, mobility or cognitive impairments are being left behind in many tourism destinations.”

According to the message, while almost 1.2 billion people are travelling aboard each year, close to one billion persons with disability, along with young children, older persons and persons with other access requirements, still face obstacles in accessing the most basic travel needs such as clear and reliable information, efficient transportation and public services, and a physical environment that is easy to navigate.

“Tourism has become a powerful economic sector, a passport to prosperity and peace, and a transformative force improving millions of lives,” noted Mr. Ban, underlining that benefits of accessible tourism will not only provide an important market opportunity, it will help ensure that all people are able to participate in tourism and enjoy unforgettable travel experiences.

The theme for this year’s World Tourism Day is Tourism for All – Promoting Universal Accessibility.

In a separate message, Taleb Rifai, the Secretary-General of the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the specialized UN agency that works for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism, highlighted that travelling has become a major part in many lives and said that with the world’s population ageing, everyone sooner or later will benefit from universal accessibility in tourism.

“As we celebrate World Tourism Day, let us recall that all of the world’s citizens have the right to experience the incredible diversity this planet has to offer,” he said, urging all countries and destinations, as well as the tourism industry, to promote accessibility for all.

In September 2015, the UNWTO’s general assembly designated Thailand as host country for the 2016 World Tourism Day. As the host, the South-east Asian country will partner with the UN agency to celebrate the occasion.

In her own message, Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Minister of Tourism and Sports of Thailand, said that in addition to understanding the needs of everyone, considering the environment impact of tourism is equally important.

“As the world of travel and tourism is an expanding industry and the number of travellers increases every year, we have to ensure that travelling the world has to be safe and seamless at its utmost,” she said.

In 1979, the UNWTO General Assembly decided to institute the World Tourism Day to be commemorated every year on 27 September, the anniversary of the adoption of the UNWTO Statutes, to foster awareness among the international community of the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic value.

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VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne publishes online Trademark Guides

PHILIPSBURG - VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne launches four online Trademark Guides this week, in which all relevant information has been collected on legislation regarding registration and use of (trade) marks in Aruba, Curaçao, St. Maarten, and the BES Islands.

The guides are conveniently arranged reference works for both the local and the international market, and contain step-by-step plans for entrepreneurs who want to have their trademarks registered on one (or more) of the Dutch Caribbean islands. 

Attorney at law Steffen Hagen, head of the intra-insular team IP, Communication & Technology, explains the added value of the guides: “The Trademark Guides provide tangible tools, for instance regarding the registration or renewal of a trademark.

Furthermore, they explain what a trademark holder should do when he loses his registration. The guides also discuss what rights a trademark holder has in case of infringement of his exclusive rights and what legal action and claims the trademark holder can then institute.”  

The Trademark Guides are the most recent addition to the Guides to Doing Business in the Dutch Caribbean and Suriname (www.doingbusinessdutchcaribbean.com) of VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne.

A website with all relevant primary information about the legal aspects of doing business in the Dutch Caribbean region. New topics are added regularly to these Guides to Doing Business.

For example, a Q&A document on investment funds in Curaçao was added this year and as recently as last year the website was extended with a complete new guide covering the most important topics for Suriname. After a jurisdiction has been selected on the homepage, the Trademark Guides can be found under Intellectual Property.

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Minister of Tourism Arrindell pleased with St. Maarten being awarded ‘Best Eastern Caribbean Destination’ by Cruise Critic

PHILIPSBURG - St Maarten has been named the ‘Best Eastern Caribbean Island’ in the first ever Cruise Critic ‘Cruisers Choice Destination Awards’. Other islands vying for the number 1 spot were Grand Turk that placed 2nd, St. Thomas that placed 3rd, St. Kitts that placed 4th and Kings Wharf, Bermuda that placed 5th.

Cruise Critic, the world's largest online cruise community features more than 160,000 cruise reviews, covering approximately 500 cruise ships and over 300 ports worldwide. They were the first consumer cruise site on the Internet, launched in October 1995 by The Independent Traveler, Inc., a subsidiary of TripAdvisor, Inc.

The top-rated destinations were specifically chosen based on first-hand feedback from cruisers themselves. In order to be able to ensure that the awards offer the best reflection of customer satisfaction, all rankings were based entirely on ratings of ports from sailings taken on August 1, 2015 to July 31, 2016 that were submitted with reviews published on CruiseCritic.com. “Cruising offers the unique opportunity to sample a number of destinations at once. Because of that, it’s important to carefully select your itinerary so that you’re able to make the most of your time in port. With so many available options, this list of destinations personally recommended by cruisers themselves provides invaluable insight into the cruise destinations across the world to help cruisers choose the best options.” stated Colleen McDaniel, Senior Executive Editor of CruiseCritic.com

In addition, Port St. Maarten was voted the #1 Cruise Port in the Caribbean for the second year in a row by readers of CruiseFever.net who were asked to vote on the best cruise ports in the Caribbean for the 2015 Cruise Fever Fan Awards which was previously announced early this year. With these accolades, St Maarten remains a top destination in the Caribbean by cruise lovers.

“It is essential that we continue to focus on the overall cruise visitors’ experience and satisfaction. There is no room for complacency if we want to remain in the top position, as cruise lines and visitors alike strive to look for unique experiences. Thus, it is imperative that we continuously deliver an optimum level of customer service as well as develop and diversify our tourism product in order to remain competitive with other emerging Caribbean destinations. ” stated Minister of Tourism, Hon. Ingrid Arrindell

The minister further stated, “To be able to remain competitive as well as to keep pace with global travel trends within the cruising industry, new projects and strategic partnerships are being developed to boost cruise arrivals to the Island. One in particular is the home porting of the Zenith ship from the Pullmantur Group, which is scheduled to commence service in the latter part of 2016.”

Pullmantur home porting is expected to have a positive economic impact for the Island in terms of generating more airlift in and out of St. Maarten, as well as providing business for those that offer ancillary services in the tourism sector. Additionally, this service will also serve part of the diversification of the type of visitors to the Island as these cruise passengers will be from Latin America and Europe. These passengers will be short-term stayover visitors as they will spend approximately 2-3 days on the Island prior to, as well as after, their cruise trip.

The Caribbean continues to be the most preferred cruise destination, accounting for more than a third (35.5%) of the global deployment capacity market share according to Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) – State of the Cruise Industry report of 2015. A total of 1,901,617 cruise passengers visited St. Maarten in 2015, with 683 port calls made by cruise vessels. Cruise passengers are hereby able to experience St. Maarten, alongside a number of other destinations at once, enticing visitors to return as stayover visitors on their preferred Island.

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Law Enforcement Council: circumstances at Point Blanche prison still worrisome

POINT BLANCHE – Recent deteriorating developments in the Sint Maarten’s only prison seem more worrisome than before, this according to the Law Enforcement Council.

In the aftermath of the escape of a prisoner in February 2016 and the most recent incident of August 2016 during which a prisoner inmate was murdered by a fellow-inmate with a firearm, is reason for additional serious concerns. Questions about the safety and security not only of the personnel and the prisoners, but as well as society as a whole have been raised publicly, notes the Council. 

In October 2016 the Law Enforcement Council will initiate the first of three inspections of the Point Blanche detention facility, all to be conducted through May 2017. In 2015 the consultative platform for the respective Ministers of Justice within the Dutch Kingdom (“JVO”) jointly requested the Council to monitor the follow-up of the recommendations made by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT).

In the timeframe between the preceding inspections that were conducted in 2013 and 2014, and its preparations towards the upcoming inspections, the Council has already noted several bottlenecks.

The Council inspected the safety within the prison facility in 2014. During that inspection it also investigated a violent incident whereby a firearm was used but malfunctioned, followed by sharp objects being used to severely injure one of the inmates. 

Immediately thereafter, the then Minister of Justice requested the council to include that incident in the 2014 inspection report on safety within the facility.

Findings, conclusions and recommendations can be found in said report as posted on the Law Enforcement Council’s website, www.raadrechtshandhaving.com.

At the time, the Council already expressed its concerns and pessimism regarding the precarious situation at the prison. Many findings in this study were consistent with what had been previously discovered and included in numerous reports dating to as far back as 2005. The Council noted that previous reports on findings and recommendations had often not led to an actual addressing of the shortcomings.

In its own study, the Council reiterated its impression of the great dedication of those who keep the institutions running, under very difficult circumstances.

The Council found that three main factors affect the security and safety within the prison: understaffing as well as the quality and integrity of personnel. The Council concluded that there is a lack of attention for many serious challenges, notwithstanding that the integral support and commitment of the government is mandatory.

The Council presented no less than 15 recommendations to contribute to improvements. It emphasizes that real effect, however, is only achieved when this multifaceted issue is approached integrally. The scope and dimension of the problem and the extent to which it has been consequently lagging behind in following up on findings and recommendations, were (are) not a reason to be optimistic in any way. The Council referred to its doubts whether the situation could be substantially improved without the assistance from the Kingdom partners.

A year before (in 2013), an inspection report was published on the capacity of the facility, which indicated the shortcomings in that respect. The calculation made by the Council resulted in an indication that on Sint Maarten (in 2013) there was a need for a minimum of 251 cell locations. Presently the capacity reaches no more than 143 (43% under the minimum).

The Council endorsed what other research had already confirmed on various occasions: creating of detention places is not the greatest problem, but the maintenance of a proper level of treatment is. This is so because not only do extra cells have to be provided for, but well trained personnel and adequate treatment of detainees is also required. The Council concluded its report with 4 recommendations for improvement, including one to comply with (inter-)national legal provisions and standards. 

In the meantime, the Council has encountered discussion on the same issues and problems on several occasions, the last time in April 2016 during the Justice conference on the Plans of Approach (dating back from 2010) for the Pointe Blanche detention facility. The conclusions of said conference have been presented to government at the time. 

Pursuant to the Kingdom Act on the Law Enforcement Council, all reports, including an executive summary, can be found on the website of the Council: www.raadrechtshandhaving.com

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Be Prepared for 2016 Elections with the Y2X Crew: THIS WEEK IS ALL ABOUT GIRL POWER

CONCORDIA, St. Martin - Recent guests on Fresh with the Y2X Crew, The Honourable MP, Cornelius De Weever, Renee Violenus of the National Alliance (NA), Joslyn Richardson of One Sint Maarten People’s Party (OSPP), Benjamin Ortega, leader of the St. Maarten Development Movement (SDM), and Lyndon Lewis of the United Sint Maarten Party debated issues from their analysis of St. Maarten’s current socio-economic situation to the solutions that they plan to bring to address these challenges when elected.

They were ably interviewed by Y2X members Shanique Hodge and John Royer during a gentleman-like debate. Youth 2 Xtreme (Y2X), the youth wing of Victorious Living Foundation, continues with another interesting and exciting episode of Fresh this Saturday from 6-7 p.m. on Youth Radio 92.5FM or www.yr925fm.com

This Saturday’s program will feature an all female panel comprising, Jennifer Richardson da Silva of  NA, May- Ling Chun of UP, Marinka Gumbs of  DP, Angelina Williams of  PPA, Anna Rabess-Richardson of  USP, Mulrose Toulon of the St. Maarten Christian Party, Mercedes Van Der Waal-Wyatt of Hope and Rosie Richardson of  the St. Maarten Development Movement (SDM).

Fresh with the Y2X Crew promises to be another informative, exciting, and empowering episode.  Therefore the Y2X crew invites both the young in age and young at heart to tune in on Saturday 17th 2016, for an empowering and exciting episode of FRESH with the Y2X Crew on Youth Radio 92.5 FM, www.yr925fm.com or www.tunein.com (type in youth radio) at 6:00pm local time. You do not want to miss this!

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Prime Minister Marlin addresses PTA meeting of Charlotte Brookson Academy. Students to move into Old Administration Building

PHILIPSBURG - Prime Minister Marlin was given the opportunity to address attendees which included parents, students and CBA’s faculty and staff informing all in attendance of his plans to assist the school.

With the plight of the academy having to relinquish their occupancy at the University of St. Martin by October’s end, Ms. Claudette Labega of CBA’s board approached Prime Minister Marlin seeking his assistance for a possible solution.

Prime Minister Marlin stated that with the Council of Ministers and their staff being moved to the new Government Administration Building within the coming weeks, a decision was made to allow the temporary use of the upper level of the Government Building to be temporarily used by the Charlotte Brookson Academy to conduct their daily classes.

With regular classes being executed at this new location it ensures students of the Charlotte Brookson Academy continue their classes without interruptions. Prime Minister William Marlin stated alterations would be made to the various offices allowing them to be most fitting for a class room setting. Prime Minister Marlin also stated all other fixtures on the building needing attention will be resolved before the student’s transfer to the building.

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WEATHER WATCH: Tropical depression 12 heading west towards Lesser Antilles

SINT MAARTEN/CARIBBEAN - Tropical Depression #12 on Thursday according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC) from Miami, the structure of the system has not improved and therefore has not reached tropical storm status.  Once it does, it will be named Karl.

The NHC says that wind shear and a dry air mass will inhibit any further development over the next few days.  There is also a question whether the depression will be able to survive.

A high pressure system will steer the depression on a westerly track towards the Lesser Antilles for the coming days. The five-day track shows the system bouncing up and down as it heads towards the Caribbean between 16.5 degrees North and 17.5 degrees North.

Depression #12 will be a system to monitor for the next five days to see exactly what its intentions are.

SOUALIGA NEWSDAY WEATHER WATCH

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Tourist killed and others injured in tour boat explosion

SINT MAARTEN/BALI - A tourist has been killed and 19 others injured in an explosion on a tour boat off the Indonesian island of Bali. 

According to local reports, the boat was carrying 35 tourists, all foreigners, and four crew. 

The deceased, a German national, died of head injuries. 

Agence France-Presse said other passengers were from Britain, Ireland, France, Italy, Portugal and Spain. 

The explosion happened just 200m after the boat had left Padang Bai port in eastern Bali, on its way to the island of Gili Trawangan. Police said the blast seems to have come from the fuel tank. Officials said it was not a bomb. (TravelMole)

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One dead, two in hospital after Harmony of the Seas lifeboat accident

SINT MAARTEN/FRANCE - Harmony of the Seas has been held in Marseille in France after one person died and another four were seriously injured when a lifeboat fell from the fifth deck of the cruise ship yesterday morning.

The four injured were taken to hospital and the local fire service claimed two were in a critical condition, but this morning a spokeswoman for the cruise line said their injuries were not life-threatening. The two less seriously hurt have been released from hospital.

Harmony, the world's largest cruise ship, was docked in the port in the south of France when the lifeboat broke free from the ship, plunging 10 feet into the sea.

It had five people onboard, all members of the ship's navigation crew. They were taking part in a safety drill. The crew member who died was from a 42-year-old assistant engineer from the Philippines. Three of the injured are also from the Philippines. The fifth crew member is from India.

The 5,479-passenger ship, launched by Royal Caribbean only four months ago, is currently on an eight-day cruise around the Mediterranean. It has been temporarily halted in Marseille following yesterday's accident.

The cruise line released the following statement: "We are sorry to share the sad news that a crew member aboard Harmony of the Seas has died of injuries sustained during a lifeboat drill conducted while docked at the port of Marseille, France. Our crew member was a 42 year old assistant electrical engineer from the Philippines.

"Four other crew members were injured in the same incident. Two of the four have been released from hospital, while the other two continue to receive the best medical care available in Marseille. Three of the crew members are also from the Philippines, while the fourth is from India.

"We are keeping our colleagues and their families in our thoughts and prayers."

Three years ago a similar accident happened on Thomson Cruises Thomson Majesty as she was docked in Santa Cruz on La Palma. After that accident, in which five crew members were died and three were injured, there were calls to stop lifeboat drills involving people. (TravelMole)

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