Soualiga News II

Soualiga News II (2722)


SINT MAARTEN/WASHINGTON, DC - The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) warns of the complex situation of dengue in Latin America and the Caribbean, a Region that is currently experiencing a new epidemic cycle of the disease after two years of low incidence.

According to the latest PAHO epidemiological update [3], published on August 9, during the first 7 months of 2019, more than 2 million people contracted the disease and 723 died. The number of cases exceeds the total number of cases reported in 2017 and 2018, although so far, it remains lower than the number recorded in 2015-2016.

"The Region is experiencing a new epidemic cycle of dengue, with a notable increase in cases," said Dr. Marcos Espinal, Director of PAHO's Department of Communicable Diseases and Environmental Determinants of Health. The climate, environmental management and the mosquito's capacity to adapt may have caused the situation to increase in complexity.

Another characteristic of the current epidemic is that children under the age of 15 appear to be among the most affected. In Guatemala, they represent 52% of total cases of severe dengue, while in Honduras, they constitute 66% of all confirmed deaths. According to Dr. Espinal, this may be due to the fact that their age means they have been less exposed to the virus in the past and may therefore lack immunity.

Dengue is caused by a virus that has four different, but closely related, serotypes: DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3 and DEN-4, all of which circulate in the Americas. When a person recovers from the infection, he
acquires lifelong immunity against that particular serotype. However, subsequent infections caused by other serotypes increase the risk of acquiring more severe forms of dengue. Serotype 2 is one of the
deadliest and is the one currently affecting children and adolescents.

The ten countries currently most affected by dengue, in terms of new cases per 100,000 inhabitants, are Nicaragua, Brazil, Honduras, Belize, Colombia, El Salvador, Paraguay, Guatemala, Mexico and Venezuela.
Honduras and Nicaragua have already declared national-level epidemiological alerts this year to expedite the response.


Suspect threatens security guard with knife

PHILIPSBURG - A suspect identified with initials O.S.I.V. was arrested by police on Friday 16th at approximately 2.20 a.m. at Carolina Bar on the Soualiga Boulevard after he threatened the security guard with a knife and attempted to stab him, police said on Friday.

The cause of the incident was due to the refusal of the suspect to pay his bill for drinks he had at the bar. When the security guard spoke to the suspect the situation got out of hand at which time the suspect attacked the security guard with a knife.

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


Rat and mouse plague looms if poison ban goes ahead, experts warn

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – A massive rat and mouse plague will hit the Netherlands in a few years’ time if the government goes ahead with plans to ban the sale of poison to private individuals.

Sightings of rats and mice in Dutch cities are already on the increase and, according to the Dutch Pest & Wildlife Expertise Centre (KAD), there are no good alternatives to the poison on the market.

‘We are very worried,’ spokesman Bastiaan Meerburg told Radio 1 news. ‘Lots of people use poison to kill rats and mice in their homes. If it is banned, there is not much left to do the job.’

The Dutch government agency for crop protection said in 2014 that the sale of the poison for mice and rats should be restricted because of its impact on the environment and on birds of prey.

Consumers will no longer be allowed to buy the poison but will be able to bring in professional companies to deal with the problem. ‘We understand that the poison is bad for the environment and are not against a ban in principal,’ Meerburg said.

‘But there is no good alternative. Traps are an option but are more difficult to use … and not all cats are good mousers.’ Local health board figures from 2017 show a 25% rise in rat sightings in Amsterdam and a doubling in Rotterdam.



U.S. State Department Announces Start of Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative Fellowship Application Process

SINT MAARTEN/CURACAO - The U.S. Department of State is pleased to announce that applications for the 2020 Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Professional Fellows Program will be accepted through September 18, 2019.

See for more information or to join the YLAI Network. Launched in 2015, YLAI is the Department of State’s flagship program to empower emerging entrepreneurs from the Western Hemisphere to enable the full economic potential of the region’s citizens.

Combining a yearly professional fellows’ program, an active online network, and ongoing engagement from U.S. embassies, YLAI fosters prosperity, inclusive development, and democratic values. YLAI also promotes U.S. business models, increased trade, and job creation.

To date, the YLAI Professional Fellows Program has helped over 750 business and social entrepreneurs to build new leadership skills, collaborate with American counterparts, and expand their ventures. Each year, approximately 70 U.S. hosts visit their Fellows to work on joint action plans and develop their own business ties.

The YLAI Network is an open, online community of 40,000 entrepreneurship-minded young leaders from across the Americas. Network members engage with curated leadership and business development resources that highlight innovative U.S. models, policy focused campaigns, and networking opportunities.

U.S. embassies and consulates connect fellows and Network members and support mentoring networks with diverse populations to advance social and economic development in their communities.

The yearly YLAI Professional Fellows Program is funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and implemented for 2020 by IREX. This year, the Fellows Program has been expanded to 280 participants and will include fellows from Canada for the first time.


Individuals attempting to use flares to cause major fire at landfill

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) – The Police Force of Sint Maarten (KPSM) recently received a report from the Department of VROMI which states that the department received three separate complaints regarding three separate incidents of unknown persons shooting flares in the direction of the landfill dumpsite, police said on Wednesday.

These flares came from the direction of Arch road in Sucker garden and are intended to ignite the garbage at the dumpsite and cause a large fire. These incidents took place on Saturday July 20th, Tuesday July 30th and Wednesday July 31st, 2019.

KPSM is sending a warning to the community that is shooting flares at the dumpsite with the intention to ignite the dumpsite and cause fire is a criminal act called “arson” (Article 2:98 of the Criminal Code).

Arson can cause destruction, severe damage to one’s property, one’s health and it can even lead to death. This type of behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Anyone caught committing this act will be arrested and punished to the fullest extent of the law. (Sint Maarten Police Force)


CPS reminds parents and guardians to prepare healthy school snacks for kids throughout 2019-2020 new school year

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – Health-related behaviors may play a role in the ability to learn. Critical stages of brain maturation occur early in life, and with the new school year just about to kick-off, the Collective Prevention Services (CPS), executing agency of the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, would like to share some information related to the aforementioned.

The St. Maarten Health Study of 2015, “How Healthy is St. Maarten?” indicated that on a daily basis 31 per cent of the participants don’t consume breakfast; 63 per cent don’t consume vegetables and 66 per cent don’t consume fruits.  Based on these results it is likely that this lifestyle is also practice by their descendants.

CPS recommends to parents and guardians to prepare healthy snacks for their children, encourage drinking of water and promote physical activity throughout the new school year 2019-2020.  Healthy choices equal healthy children and healthy smiles!

According to information available to the World Health Organization (WHO), “because diet affects specific outcomes that are important for children’s educational attainment, some authors tested the association of diet with school grades or standardized test scores.

“A positive association between good diet and academic performance was found in adolescents from Canada, Chile, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom.”

Improving the nutritional status of school-age children is an effective investment for improving educational outcomes of school children and ensuring a healthy population.

Establishing healthy dietary and physical activity patterns among young people promotes health and nutritional well-being helps prevent obesity and various non-communicable diseases.

In making healthy foods and beverages available at home and for school, and in providing, supporting and encouraging opportunities for physical activity, parents can influence their children’s behavior.

Parents, guardians and adults in general are also advised to live and promote a healthy lifestyle because children’s behavior is often shaped by observation and adaptation.

Here are some tips for children and adolescents: provide healthy breakfast before each school day; don’t leave home without breakfast; serve healthy school snacks to children (whole-grain, vegetables, fruits); promote and encourage the intake of fruits and vegetables. Introduce the children to local fruits e.g. sour sap, guava, passion fruit, mango, etc.

Restrict intake of energy-dense, micronutrient-poor foods (e.g. packaged snacks); restrict intake of sugars-sweetened soft drinks; ensure an opportunity for family meals; provide information and skills to make healthy food choices.

Promote regular intake of water and physical exercise and get your child involved in sport activities. CPS says let us continue to work towards a healthy and enriched community, make a healthy decision each second.

For more information, contact CPS at 542-1122, 542-1222 or 542-3003.


Armed robbery at Restaurant

PHILIPSBURG - Detectives at the Special Unit Robbery are presently investigating an armed robbery which took place at Big Family Restaurant located on the L.B. Scot road on Monday August 12th at approximately 9.40 p.m., police said on Tuesday.

According to reports two men armed with handguns stormed into the establishment and under threat of these weapons stole an undisclosed amount of cash from the register.

After committing this act both suspects fled on foot in the direction of Reward. (Sint Maarten Police Force)


St. Maarten students capture top prizes in the annual FCCA Poster competition

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - Aquila Pemberton (15) from the St. Maarten Academy and Tefari Prevoo Francisco (12) of the St Dominic Primary School are St. Maarten's latest winners of the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association's FCCA Children's Environmental Poster Competition.

It is the second year that St. Maarten contestants have become finalists in the competition in sixteen years. This year's theme for the was "Solutions for Ocean Pollution." A release issued by the Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Traffic & Telecommunication TEATT, lauded the two winners as "examples of the extreme talent that we have on the island."

Minister of TEATT, the Honorable Stuart Johnson, said he is delighted to see St. Maarten's students taking a keen interest in understanding the environment.

"The environmental challenges we face affect our ability to maintain economic growth as it forms part of our tourism product. To sustainably redevelop changes must be made to protect our coastal waters and the air we breathe," said Johnson.

The release states that the participants of the FCCA Poster Competition will receive cash prizes as well as their school. Aquila Pemberton of the St. Maarten Academy, won Second Prize in the Senior Division of the competition. Tefari Prevoo Francisco of the St Dominic High Primary School placed second in the Junior Division of the Competition.

As the second-place winner in her category, Aquilla will receive a cash scholarship of $1500, and her school will also receive US$1500. Second place winner Tefari will also receive a cash Scholarship of $1500 with her school receiving the same.

The winners were selected from amongst candidates from 15 Caribbean nations. The Judges had the difficult task of determining this year's winners as there were many exceptionally creative and artistic pieces from which to select a winner. Each poster entry received "exemplified Caribbean excellence" recognition for their depiction of ways in which to preserve the environment.

The FCCA Poster Competition is organized annually by the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau as part of its Tourism awareness activities.

The competition seeks to promote and stimulate environmental awareness among students. Its primary goal is to educate the younger generation about the importance of environmental protection. Another benefit of the event is that it shows the correlation between Tourism and the Environment.

Johnson said the FCCA' s Poster Competition gives students and residents, in general, a greater appreciation of the economic and environmental benefits that come from keeping St. Maarten clean.

He said, "As we continue to build an environmentally and economically sustainable St. Maarten, it must be clear that everyone has a role to play." Johnson extended congratulations to the winners on behalf of the Government of St. Maarten to the participants and especially the winners for making their country proud.

He said, "I trust that Aquila and Tefari's achievement encourages them to continue pursuing excellence and inspires others to follow their lead. "

The St. Maarten Tourist Bureau extends congratulations to the winners and the art teachers of the St. Maarten Academy and the St. Dominic High school.

Aquilla Pemberton

Aquila Pemberton (15) from the St. Maarten Academy 



Happy end? Haarlemermeer closes its massage parlours

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – All six massage salons in the local authority area of Haarlemmermeer have been closed down after they were found to be offering clients sex, the council said on its website.

One of the massage parlours may also have been involved in human trafficking and the police have been called in, the website said. Mayor Marianne Schuurmans has closed the salons for a three-month period.

‘It is illegal to offer sexual services for money without a permit,’ the mayor said in a statement. ‘In addition, not all the masseuses were doing the work out of free will. This is reason enough to tackle this form of illegal prostitution.

The council had used a plain clothes inspector to book appointments lasting an hour, during which he tried to find out more about the women, including their names, nationality and working hours.

He did not ask directly for sexual services but workers at all the salons offered them to him – either directly or indirectly – at which point he terminated the appointment and left, the council said.

Amsterdam has been using undercover inspectors for three years to check for illegal prostitution. Officials closed eight massage salons at the end of 2015 where they suspected prostitution was taking place.



Suspect arrested in ongoing armed robbery investigation

SINT PETERS - On Saturday August 10th, 2019 at approximately 3.40 a.m. detectives from the Special Unit Robbery arrested a male suspect identified with initials K.D.I. in connection with an ongoing armed robbery investigation which took place on Monday May 6th on Apricot Road Sint Peters, police said on Monday in a statement.

The suspect remains in custody for questioning and further investigation. (Sint Maarten Police Force)

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