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Minister Fleming-Artsen pays courtesy visit to Chairlady of the Dutch First Chamber of Parliament

THE HAGUE, the Netherlands - Recently Minister Plenipotentiary Hon. Josianne Fleming-Artsen paid a courtesy visit to the Dutch First Chamber of Parliament Chairlady Hon. Anke Broekers-Knol at the First Chamber in The Hague.

“We had a very fruitful discussion and the Chairlady shared common and respectful understanding for Sint Maarten in which she also showed great interests,” Minister Plenipotentiary Hon. Josianne Fleming-Artsen said.

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St. Maarten Cable TV Announces the Winner of Facebook Valentine’s Day Contest

MADAME ESTATE - St. Maarten Cable TV announces the winner of the Facebook Valentine’s Day contest. Participants entered for an opportunity to win a seven (7) inch Samsung Wi-Fi Tablet.

To enter, St. Maarten Cable TV subscribers were instructed to register on St. Maarten Cable TV’s Facebook page which is http://www.facebook.com/StMaartenCable, “Like” the St. Maarten Cable TV Facebook page and enter the requested information thereafter to include sending a photograph with their Valentine or loved one. This contest was open to all St. Maarten Cable TV subscribers over the age of eighteen (18) with the exception of St. Maarten Cable TV employees and contractors.

Beulah Jonis, Managing Director stated, “We would like to congratulate our lucky winner Tina Genaro Tackling. We encourage not only our customers but all St. Maarten residents to visit and “Like” our Facebook page for insight on our products and services. There are always opportunities to take part in fun and exciting promotions for a chance to win excellent prizes!” 

Customers are encouraged to visit St. Maarten Cable TV’s website for additional information about CableNet at www.innovativevi.net/sxmcable  and “Like Us” on the Facebook website at www.facebook.com/StMaartenCable.

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Two Chinese supermarkets robbed in the St. Peters area

ST. PETERS - On Tuesday, February 17th, between 03.10 p.m. and 03.20 p.m. an unknown man with his face covered and brandishing a firearm first robbed “Sheik Supermarket” and shortly after robbed the “Sint Peters Corner Supermarket.”

During these robberies the suspect threatened to use his firearm and succeeded in taking an unknown amount of cash. After committing these acts the suspect took off running.

Several patrols were sent to the area to search for the suspect. During this search a suspicious vehicle was located on the Marigot hill road.

n the vehicle several items were found which indicated that this vehicle was possibly used as a “get away vehicle.”

These items along with the vehicle were confiscated for further investigation by the Special Robbery Unit. No suspect in this case has been arrested thus far. (Police Force Sint Maarten)

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Presentation on the Importance of Recycling Given at Christian Hillside School

CAY HILL - In its efforts to continue to bring environmental and conservation awareness into schools the Nature Foundation recently gave a presentation to the cycle one class of the Asha Stevens Christian Hillside School focused on the importance of Recycling.

Nature Foundation Office Manager Marisa Dyer-Brandy explained the young students the importance of recycling and the dangers of especially plastic to the terrestrial and ocean environments of Sint Maarten and what can be done to recycle used products.

The Foundation also assisted the school with establishing a recycle program where plastic, glass and cardboard will be separated by the young students. A follow-up presentation will also be given to the cycle two class. (Nature Foundation)

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PAHO Issues Alert on Measles Outbreaks and Implications for the Americas. Travelers advice issued

GREAT BAY (DCOMM) – Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department of the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, says the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has issued an epidemiological alert regarding a measles outbreak and implications for the Americas, and has called for strengthened surveillance activities by Member States and to take appropriate measures to protect residents against measles and rubella.

PAHO advises that all travelers over the age of six months (with the exceptions noted below) going to areas with documented measles virus circulation, to be fully vaccinated against measles and rubella, preferably with the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine.  Ideally, the vaccine should be administered at least two weeks before departure.

Infants who receive the MMR vaccine before their first birthday must be revaccinated according to their country’s vaccination schedule.

Travelers who are not up to date on their vaccinations are at higher risk of contracting either disease when in close contact with travelers from countries where the viruses still circulate.

Exceptions to this recommendation include persons with medical contraindications to the measles and rubella vaccine.  Additionally, infants under the age of six months should not be vaccinated.

Persons considered immune to measles and rubella, which are those who can present: written documentation of having received measles and rubella vaccination; or laboratory confirmation of rubella and measles immunity (a positive serological test for the measles and rubella-specific IgG antibodies).

The total count across the Americas of imported cases from 2003 to 2014 reached 5,077 cases, most of which have occurred in 2011 and 2014.

In 2015, a total of 147 cases have been reported as of epidemiological week 5 of 2015, ending on February 7, most of which were related to a large multi-state outbreak in the United States.

In Brazil between 2013 and 2015, a total of 971 confirmed measles cases were reported in the Federal District and nine states.  Canada is currently investigating two separate measles outbreaks.

A total of 121 measles cases have been reported in the United States of America from 1 January to 6 February 2015 in 17 states and Washington, DC.

Family physicians were alerted last month by CPS with respect to being observant regarding measles.

The Caribbean sub-region has been successful in maintaining a measles-free status since 1991.  In light of the strong travel ties between the Caribbean and the USA, and given that we are in the midst of the tourism high-season, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) has advised enhanced vigilance for fever-rash syndromes among members of the local and visitor populations.

CPS advises guardians and parents to check their children’s vaccination status to see whether they are up to date.  If persons decide to travel, they should also check their vaccination status and to make use of every opportunity to get vaccinated according to the schedule.  If you need additional information call CPS at 542-3003 or 2078.

The majority of people who get measles are unvaccinated. 

Other individuals who should get their vaccination status checked are, health care workers, pregnant women, pre-and exam class students, as well as groups at risks such as waste/garbage handlers, the Police, hotel and restaurant workers, and others to verify and update their vaccination status, particularly on Hepatitis B and Tetanus.

Immunization averts an estimated two-three million deaths every year, protecting children from diphtheria, measles, pertussis (better known as whooping cough), pneumonia, polio, rotavirus diarrhea, rubella, tetanus and others.

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Lava Girls Continue 6 Game Winning Streak in the Walichi Basketball Association and Motorworld & Jeep Presents Ladies Basketball Championship

SUCKER GARDEN - The Walichi Basketball Association (WBA) & Motorworld and Jeep Presents Ladies Basketball Championship games continued last weekend and started off with a Saturday game between Thunderz and and MGM Lightning.

MGM Lightning started of the game strong and led 10-0 and never lost the led throughout the game. They led 28-16 at the half, their led grew to 17 and ended up winning the game 43-30. MGM Lightning was led by Motorworld Player Of The Game Jamaiah Newton-Herbert who had 25 points, 14 rebounds, 6 steals, 2 blocks and 1 assist. She was supported by Micaela Galva who had 8 points, 4 rebounds and 1 assist. Thunderz was led by Joyette Lloyd who had 15 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists and Yolanda Jeffers with 6 points and 9 rebounds.

Sunday's match-up was between Thunderz and Cash 4 Gold Lava Girls. It was very close game throughout the first half and Cash 4 Gold Lava Girls led 19-17 at halftime. The Cash 4 Gold Lava Girls got a little breathing space in the second half and led 33-25 after the third quarter.

They kept the led in the fourth quarter and won the game 42-33. Cash 4 Gold Lava Girls was led by Motorworld Player Of The Game Claudia Fleming who had 18 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks. She was supported by Selah Fleming who had 13 points, 4 rebounds and 2 steals. The Thunderz was led by Joyette Lloyd who had 13 points, 7 rebounds and 2 steals and Salammbo Guibert - Soutade with 5 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals.

The Leonard Enterprises Player Of The Week goes to Jamaiah Newton-Herbert for standing out above the rest in week 14 of this competition.

Next week Sunday will have the last two regular season games before the playoffs start on Friday February 27 at 7pm. At 3pm the Cash 4 Gold Lava Girls will go up against Learning Unlimited and at 5pm the Bush Tea Remedy play the MGM Lightning team.

Standings after week 14 are Cash 4 Gold Lava Girls at 13-2, Thunderz at 11-5, MGM Lightning at 10-5, Learning Unlimited at 3-12, Bush Tea Remedy at 1-14.

Game Highlights, pictures, game scores and schedule can be viewed on the Facebook page ‘Ladies Basketball Championship’. Highlights and full games can be seen on the Youtube page www.youtube.com/walichibasketball and short highlights can be seen on the instagram page www.instagram.com/ladiesbasketballchampionship

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Police reacts to statement by former retired police officer

PHILIPSBURG - In reaction to the statement made by Mr. Russell Simmons in the Opinion section of the Daily Herald Newspaper on Monday February 16th 2015 entitled “Traffic Rules” as follows; First of all the Police Department wants to commend and thank Mr. Simmons, who is a retired police officer with many years of experience, for expressing his views and his opinion about this topic, and also for giving an explanation of these infractions. Mr. Simmons is definitely correct in his statements. 

Article 73 of the Traffic Ordinance gives among other regulations a complete explanation of the amount, the type and color lights which are allowed at the front and rear of your motor vehicle.

 Article 78 of the Traffic Ordinance gives among other regulations a complete explanation of what is called “blinding lights” (bright lights) on motor vehicles driving through urban areas, standing still or when there is oncoming traffic.

The police department has also been receiving complaints of this sort and is aware of the situation. The Police Department will definitely be looking into the matter and deal with the situation

The police department is taking this opportunity to inform all motor vehicle owners that when operating their vehicle at night, to make sure the vehicle is equipped with lights that are in accordance with the local “Traffic Ordinance”. This information is to avoid having any vehicle operators suffer any delays or inconvenience. (Police force Sint Maarten)

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Three SZV departments to close at noon Wednesday

PHILIPSBURG—The Social & Health Insurances, SZV would like to inform the general public that several departments will be closed at 12pm on Wednesday, February 18.

The closure will affect the Registration, Customer Care and Medical Departments. The departments will be closed in connection with staff sessions being held for members of their staff.

Regular business hours will resume on Thursday, February 19. SZV apologizes for any inconvenience their closure may cause. (SZV)

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Establish the Van Hugh Law to Create Employment for the Unemployed and Nation’s Youth

DUTCH QUARTER – “Every year we have hundreds of young people completing our secondary schools and cannot find employment. Put an ad in the newspapers seeking an administrative clerk and you would be surprised how many young people would apply for that job,” One St. Maarten People’s Party (OSPP) Leader Lenny Priest said on Sunday in a press release.

“It is unbelievable and yet those in office would want you to believe that the unemployment amongst young people is not at an all-time high. If we should start an unemployment campaign registration at any given time in each district you would be surprised of the amount of young people that would register.

“This was done before but most of the young people are disenchanted because they were never placed and neither did they even have the luxury of an interview to say the least. But as a nation we can’t give up. We must develop some type of plans or ideas to be able to put our young people to work. Dr. Rhoda Arrindell during her tenure as Minister of Education had introduced a program “Get off the block, get on the bus” to assist our youngsters who were unemployed.

“Unfortunately, it died a natural death and I believe it did because there was no money in this program to be divided amongst the members of the UP inner circle. This brings me to a very important law that was passed many years ago in the parliament of the former Netherlands Antilles.

“In the late nineteen eighties a law was passed commonly referred to as the “Lei de Bion”. This law was established to promote the employment of young people seeking employment. The employers who employed these young people would be exempted from paying some of the payroll taxes. And of course there were many other conditions attached to the law for the employers as well as the potential employees.  If my memory serves me right, the law was never enforced but remains on the books.

“As a young nation we don’t have to re-invent the wheel. Let us pick up this law, dust it off and see how it can fit within our frame work of putting our young people to work. The OSPP is proposing that we establish the van Hugh Law, to be named after our former Minister of Labour, now Member of Parliament Mr. van Hugh Cornelius de Weever. The law will differ somewhat from the Lei di Bion in as much it would not exempt the employers from paying the payroll taxes for a period of time.

“The employer in essence would be granted a tax credit in the amount of Nafls 9000.00 (50% of Nafls 1500 x 12) per year; the employee must be employed uninterrupted for minimum one year on a full time basis; the employee must have been registered at the Labour Department for minimum six months as seeking employment; the job opportunity at the employer cannot be part of the core function to be carried out at the business; the van Hugh law will only be applicable to legal citizens of this country who have been residing on the island for one year or more and last but not the least, this tax credit is applicable for a maximum period of three years with the employee remaining employed.

“The OSPP is of the belief and conviction that such a program would put many of our young people in jobs right away. Our government would have sufficient time to introduce the loan guarantee program; the conversion program from cruise passengers to stay over passengers; tap heavily into other markets such as South America and Europe and truly introduce agriculture to the nation, grow what you eat, eat what you grow. These programs would result in more tourists coming to St. Maarten that would create more real jobs for our people in the long run. On account of this our unemployment numbers will drop as well as the crime rate amongst our young people.

“Our members of parliament should be open to ideas that are coming from the general public. We are in this together. Every young person that ends up in prison is one person to many. The OSPP has therefore forwarded a copy of the law that was enacted on December 14, 1989 to the Minister of Social Affairs, Health and Labour, Mrs. Rita Bourne-Gumbs and to all the members of parliaments, the SHTA, the Chamber of Commerce, the WICLU and the community councils. Let’s roll up our sleeves and put this nation back to work in particular our youth,” the OSPP press released pointed out. (OSPP Party)     

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Two Chinese Groceries Robbed at Gun Point

COLE BAY - On Friday February 13th two Chinese supermarkets located in the Cole Bay area were robbed in the space 40 minutes.

Police patrols were sent to the scene to investigate and learnt that at both establishments a man dressed completely in dark clothing and armed with a handgun came into the establishments threatening to use his weapon if no cooperation was given.

He then went on to take the money from the cash register. After committing these acts the suspect fled the scenes possibly in an awaiting get-away vehicle.

Both cases are being investigated by the Special Robbery Unit. (Police Force Sint Maarten)

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