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Soualiga News II (3456)

Prime Minister Jacobs to travel for personal family reasons

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - Prime Minister Jacobs is travelling for family related matters today, Tuesday, August 11, 2020. Deputy Prime Minister, Minister Egbert Doran will assume responsibility during her absence.

Prime Minister Jacobs will continue to be in contact with him and her colleagues virtually. All residents of St. Maarten are reminded to continue to exercise caution when interacting with others whether it be their families, loved ones, colleagues or the general public.

Only by doing so, can the number of new cases be minimized as the monitoring of current cases continue. “It is only our behavior that can curb the spread of this virus which can have detrimental effects on the vulnerable in our society,” stated the Prime Minister.

Residents are reminded to continue to follow all protocols and guidelines established by government to avoid contamination. Persons should also establish strict guidelines for the safety of their own homes and familes.

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Minister of TEATT helps Telem settle long-standing dispute with BTP

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - After nearly five years of dispute, the Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Traffic and Telecommunication (TEATT), Ludmila de Weever, mediated a long-standing stalemate between the Telem Group, Bureau Telecommunications and Post Sint Maarten (BTP) and the Government of Sint Maarten.

The Minister achieved an amicable end to the stalemate that resulted in a settlement agreement for amounts owed by Telem to BTP and BTP to the Government of Sint Maarten. What appeared to be unresolvable for almost half a decade, took approximately six weeks to be finalized. The Ministry of TEATT can now grant the concession agreement to Telem Group based on the positive advice received from BTP.

Minister de Weever expressed satisfaction with the outcome of this settlement. It was one of her top priorities. The realization of the fiber network will be a major step for the country’s telecommunication sector and its economic recovery and future growth. Minister de Weever said she looks forward to continuing strengthening the relationship between all parties as the agreement terms are carried out and is grateful to the mandate given to her by the Council of Ministers.

Both Telem Group and BTP have expressed satisfaction with the resolution and outcome of the settlement. “After several discussions, we are pleased to have advised the Minister. Telem Group now has the space to concentrate on providing key services to St. Maarten in these crucial times,” stated BTP Director Anthony Carty.

Without this resolution, the refinancing of the existing bond and additional funds provided by a $44 million USD loan was at risk with potentially dire consequences for the future of Telem and its employees. The much-needed financing provided by Windward Islands Bank will now enable Telem to realize its fiber to home network project.

“We are happy that we have finally gotten our concession settlement agreement finalized so that Telem Group may continue to provide the services to the people of St. Maarten,” stated Chief Executive Officer of Telem Group Kendall Dupersoy.

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GHBU Masters Counselling Students to Host Suicide Prevention Awareness Webinar

SINT MAARTEN (ST. PETERS) - “The mental health effects of the corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic might be profound and there are suggestions that suicide rates will rise, although this is not inevitable,” stated a recent article published in The Lancet Psychiatry, Volume 7, Issue 6.

The authors further state: “Suicide is likely to become a more pressing concern as the pandemic spreads and has longer-term effects on the general population, the economy, and vulnerable groups. Preventing suicide therefore needs urgent consideration.”

To proactively address these trends, the Counselling degree program offered at Grace Hill Bible University, St. Maarten Campus dedicated the spring semester 2020 in equipping its students to address the growing suicidal ideation among our local and international populations.

The Master’s level counselling degree program, designed and developed by counselling veteran Dr. Erna Mae Francis Cotton, the visionary of Victorious Living Foundation, further enhanced its Suicide Assessment and Prevention Course by assigning students the task of surveying a sample of our local population to gain insight as to the current mental health of our local population. The results of the surveys conducted were insightful and revealing.

As a result of the surveys, the students were alerted to the fact that greater awareness and information dissemination are necessary to address growing suicidal ideation and to prevent persons from taking their lives. Consequently, the students were assigned the task to conduct a free Suicide Prevention and Awareness webinar for the local, regional and international public, towards their final grade for this semester.

GHBU student, Minister Rosanna Simone Ageday stated: “Suicide prevention is everybody's business. The more you are enlightened, the more equipped you are to help yourself and others to overcome life’s stressors and find your purpose to live. 

“People don't kill themselves because they are weak but because they lose hope; and when hope is lost purpose dies. Understanding the many different reasons why a person may want to die gives you the ability to help that person to live.”

Minister Rosanna Simone Ageday declares, “It is the will of our Creator for us to live purposeful lives full of joy and peace of mind.  We are to teach ourselves and others how to live that abundant life through Christ.”

She further emphasized: “This semester has been a wonderful experience. I have gained wealth that money can't buy. Suicide Assessment and Prevention is for all of us. Once we have it then we can give it; especially in this time of the pandemic.”

The students have set August 24th, 2020 at 8 p.m. for the Zoom webinar: Suicide Assessment & Prevention. Canadian Bestselling author, elderly caregiver, grief counselor, Mental Health Advocate, and social entrepreneur, Dave Rogers is the invited guest speaker. The general public is invited to register for the webinar to become better aware of the signs to detect if someone’s contemplating suicide; how to better take care of themselves to avoid burn out; and how to be more aware as to how they can protect and save lives.

Enrolment for GHBU’s fall semester has also begun for the counselling program with focus on the fundamentals of grief counselling. Interested persons may inquire at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 1-721-524-8731 to register.   

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Statia Political parties to submit list of candidates on September 7

SINT EUSTATIUS (ORANJESTAD) - Political parties that registered to participate in the elections of the new Island Council of the Public Entity of St. Eustatius on October 21st, 2020, must submit their list of candidates on Monday, September 7th, 2020, between 09.00 am and 5.00 pm.

The political parties have received a letter on Friday, July 31st, from the Deputy Government Commissioner Ms. Alida Francis, with all the details concerning the submission of their list of candidates.

The date of September 7th, 2020 is the deadline. Lists that are presented outside these times, will be declared invalid. A blank list may not be accepted.

Only parties that have submitted a valid list of candidates on the day of the postulation of candidates may participate in the election. The list of candidates must be submitted by a person who is entitled to vote in the elections. The assigned member of the Main Voting Bureau will be at the Unit Klantenloket/Census Office on September 7th, 2020.

Validity of the list

The Main Voting Bureau will decide on the validity of the lists of candidates on Friday, September 11th, 2020. A public meeting will be held in the Ernest van Putten Youth Centre (a.k.a. Lions Den), at 4.00 PM.

Elections

The elections of the new Island Council of the Public Entity of St. Eustatius will take place on Wednesday, October 21, 2020.  On this day, residents in St. Eustatius with the Dutch nationality can cast their vote on members for the Island Council on St. Eustatius.

Non-Dutch nationals who are legally residents of St. Eustatius for an uninterrupted period of at least five years, may also vote. (Statia GIS)

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36-year old caught at the airport with soft drugs

BONAIRE - On Thursday the 6th of August 2020, a 36-year-old Dutch man was arrested at Bonaire International Airport (BIA) on suspicion of possession or smuggling of narcotics, according to a press release from RCN.

This is punishable according to the Opium Act 1960 BES.

The arrest was made by Douane Caribisch Nederland (Customs CN). During a regular check-up they found approximately 1000 grams of soft drugs. The suspect was then arrested and handed over to the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee (KMar). The soft drugs have been confiscated.

At BIA airport, the KMar and Customs CN are working together to identify and stop cross-border crime. The KMar carries out the further investigation as commissioned by the Public Prosecution Service. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)

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Tree planting ceremony held for the late Officer G. Benjamin

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On Saturday morning August 8th, 2020, around 11.00 am, a Flamboyant tree was dedicated to Sergeant Gamali Benjamin in the Emilio Wilson Park on the L.B. Scott road, the police said in a statement on Monday morning.

Officer Benjamin was injured on the 5th August 2015 while responding to a call for service. He succumbed to his injuries three days later on August 8th. He was the first officer to die in the line of duty on Sint Maarten.

Members of police force and the son (Keenan J. Benjamin) and wife (Nicole Benjamin) of the late Officer G. Benjamin were represented at the ceremony on Saturday morning.

The Sint Maarten Police Force KPSM would like to thank the management of GEBE and the Emilio Wilson Park for the opportunity to honor the life, strength, and bravery of Officer Benjamin with the Flamboyant tree planted in his memory. (KPSM)

officer benjamin ins1

 

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Immigration Department is Closed Until Further Notice

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Ministry of Justice hereby informs the general-public that due to circumstances beyond their control, related to COVID-19, the Immigration Department is closed
as of August 10, 2020, until further notice!

As soon as the office reopens, affected applicants will be contacted with an invitation to
schedule a new appointment.
This measure is to protect the health and safety of the employees of this department, their families, and the public at large.

The Immigration Department apologizes for any inconvenience caused by the closure.

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Statia government prepares for repatriation flight arrival on August 11 from the Dominican Republic

SINT EUSTATIUS (ORANJESTAD) - In preparation of the repatriation flight from the Dominican Republic upcoming Tuesday, August 11th, the Public Entity of St. Eustatius hosted a meeting with the relatives and relations of the repatriating Statia residents from the Dominican Republic.

The objective of this meeting was to ensure that both the repatriates and their relatives on Statia strictly adhere to the travel and quarantine protocol of St. Eustatius.

The Dominican Republic is considered a high-risk country due to the very high number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 and the high number of deaths due to COVID-19. The repatriating residents from the Dominican Republic must therefore go into central quarantine on August 11th, for 14 days, in line with the travel and quarantine protocol of the Government.

Home quarantine is not possible, under no circumstances and without exceptions. Due to the small scale of St. Eustatius, the limited medical facilities and the fact that there is no testing capacity yet, the Government urges the repatriates and their relatives and friends to strictly adhere to the mandatory central quarantine, and to the hygiene and physical distancing guidelines. Full cooperation of all persons involved is obliged.

On the 12th day of the obligatory central quarantine, the repatriates will be tested on COVID-19. Persons that are tested negative, can go home after 14 days. Persons that are tested positive, will be put in isolation.

The flight from the Dominican Republic is scheduled to arrive on Tuesday, August 11th. The Government has decided to have maximum 11 persons on this flight, to be able to adhere to social distancing and due to the fact that St. Eustatius is a relatively small island with limited medical facilities and currently no testing capacity.

Another flight from the Dominican Republic with repatriating residents is scheduled in 3 weeks. Only Statian residents will be permitted on these flights, with a valid Dutch passport registered at the Census Office and permit. All other requests will be denied and tourism from the Dominican Republic is not allowed until further notice.

Travel and quarantine protocol

The travel and quarantine protocol of the Public Entity of St. Eustatius dictates that all persons coming to St. Eustatius from high risk countries must go into central quarantine. High risk countries are the United States, the Dominican Republic, most South and Central American countries, the United Kingdom and St. Maarten.

Persons coming from medium risk countries, are also obliged to go into quarantine, but under certain conditions the government allows home quarantine. Under the category medium risk countries fall the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and France.

To be excluded from quarantine obligations, the traveler must have been in a low risk country for 14 consecutive days. These lists are valid until further notice and are continuously monitored by the government.

Persons that wish to enter St. Eustatius from a medium or high risk country, must submit a request via e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. (Statia GIS)

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Protected Lora parrots retrieved during boat control operation

BONAIRE (KRALENDIJK) - On Thursday, August 6th , during a joint boat patrol of Customs, Kmar and the Coast Guard on Bonaire, a check was carried out on a local vessel bound for Curaçao.

During this customs check two parrots were found. It turned out to be two young ‘lora’s’, officially called the yellow-winged amazon or Amazona barbadensis.

These parrots are protected on Bonaire and it is prohibited to export them. The birds were confiscated by Customs and transferred to Echo Bonaire.

The captain has received a report from which a fine may follow for the export of a protected species. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)

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Customs arrests 30-year-old female. Marijuana and Cocaine Confiscated

SINT EUSTATIUS (ORANJESTAD) - On Wednesday, August 5th, Customs Caribbean Netherlands intercepted narcotics in a shipment of sea freight on St. Eustatius.

During the control of the freight shipments, a lady reported to pick up a freight intended for her. After a first global inspection in the cargo shed in the seaport, it was decided, on the basis of the contents of the box and the recipient's behavior, to proceed with a further inspection at the Customs office. Customs found 460 grams of cannabis and 190 grams of cocaine.

The recipient was designated as a suspect and was arrested on the spot. It concerns a woman with initials G.C.M.M., of 30 years of age. The suspect and the narcotics have been handed over to colleagues of KPCN (Corps Police Caribbean Netherlands for further investigation. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)

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