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Louise Rombley passes on at 70, lovingly missed by her family

SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) - Julia Louise Rombley died on January 13, 2022, at St. Maarten Medical Center. She was 70.

Louise, as she was better known, leaves her children, Angelo Rombley (USA) and Andrew Rombley (St. Martin); daughter-in-law Morgan Rombley; and granddaughter Isabella Rombley.

Louise is survived by 11 of her 13 brothers and sisters, and a host of nieces and nephews; extended family, and friends. 

Born in Charleston, Nevis, on August 30, 1951, Louise was the 12th child of 11 daughters and three sons of the late Reynold and Francis Halbert, both farmers. Louise was related to the Halbert, Rombley, Hodge, Hanley, Thompson, Walwyn, and Webbe families. Her earliest education was at the Charlestown Secondary School.

In 1971, Louise and her younger sister, Iris, moved to the neighboring Caribbean island of St. Martin. She soon found employment at Food Center as a cashier. In 1972, Louise began working at Bank of Nova Scotia and was “an excellent employee as recognized by the numerous employee awards” that she received before retiring in 2000, said Angelo.

Not long after migrating to St. Martin Louise met Cole Bay native and fireman Pedro Rombley “and on September 29, 1973, Mom and Dad got married,” said Angelo. The photography enthusiast was also an active volunteer member of the Methodist Church.

Family, friends, and her Scotiabank family fondly remember that Louise relished cooking for her loved ones. Her “traditional Caribbean cooking and baking; … especially her johnny cake and souse” always made you come back for more, said her children and family friends gathered at the home of the deceased last weekend. Upon hearing of her passing, a weeping granddaughter said to her father, Angelo, “I just wanted see her one more time and cook with Grandma.”

The private family viewing of the deceased will be held at Emerald Funeral Home, Welgelegen Road, Cay Hill, on Friday, January 21, 2022, 8 am – 8:30 am, said Andrew.

The memorial service for Julia Louise Rombley will be held at the Methodist Church, Frontstreet, Philipsburg, on Friday, January 21, 2022. The public viewing at the church, 9 am – 9:45 am, will be followed by the funeral service at 10 am to 11 am. Interment will follow at Great Bay cemetery. Memorial donations may be made in the name of Julia Louise Rombley to Andrew or Angelo Rombley.

Farewell, Julia Louise Rombley.

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Three fishermen rescued from sinking boat by coast guard on Sunday

SINT MAARTEN (POINT BLANCHE) – Personnel of the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard (DCCG) Metal Shark vessel rescued persons from a sinking boat near Point Blanche on Sunday, January 16, the DCCG said on Wednesday in a press report.

Three fishermen were pulling their fishing nets out of the water, when they were surprised by a wave that slammed into their boat. Almost immediately the vessel began to sink, so the three passengers needed help immediately, according to the DCCG report.

The Coast Guard was notified and dispatched a Metal Shark that sailed to give assistance to the boat which was floating near Back Bay. The vessel was taken on tow and moored safely in the Simpson Bay lagoon. (DCCG)

dccg ins1 wed1901

 

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USP: Ferrier is the kettle and pot having a conversation

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The United St. Maarten Party (USP) on Tuesday reacted to Michael Ferrier’s criticism of the party as “the proverbial kettle having a conversation with the pot, with both knowing each other well.” The party board asked the public to “consider the source of the criticism” and dismissed Ferrier as a condemned crook who for some reason is still seeking to be relevant on the political landscape of St. Maarten.

Ferrier, the board noted, with his history of shady business right up to dodging from paying almost NAf 1.3 million in owed land fees to the government of St. Maarten, should be the last person to be critical. “This money was owed while he was Minister of Finance. Talk about immorality,” the board said.

Lest we forget, the board continued, Ferrier and his Shipyard N.V. were not only condemned by the court to go pay the outstanding money, but he was also condemned by the Parliament of St. Maarten for the same issue, via a motion in August 2019. Parliament also established in the same motion that Ferrier provided information under false pretenses that could be considered forgery.

“The money he and his business partners refused to pay to the coffers of St. Maarten could have gone to schools, the police, infrastructure repair, needed subsidies and the like. Instead, to further enrich themselves, they willfully skirted their legal obligation to pay,” the USP board said.

“This is a person who stood on his high horse as a Minister of Finance and insulted the people of St. Maarten by calling them tax dodgers, while he and his company milked this country. Today, he is trying to rehab his image by trying to disparage the USP and painting a holier-than-thou picture of himself. But the people have not forgotten that he is a condemned, failed, irrelevant former public servant who used his title to hide his shady affairs,” the board concluded.

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New safety protocols in place for Police Detective Department

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Police Force of Sint Maarten KPSM has reimplemented its strict Covid-19 safety protocol to protect its officers and visitors to the police (sub)station(s).

The public, therefore, encourages to email the Detective Department in the event of a simple complaint.

An appointment to file a report can be scheduled with the Detective Department.

If the situation regards an urgent matter that must be reported, you may visit the Philipsburg Police Station to file an official complaint.

The Detectives Department can be reached via email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by telephone: (+1 721) 542 2222 ext. 208, 223 or 214. (KPSM)

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Stories in our newspaper of Jan 17, 2022 that make me go ‘Hmmm’…..

  1. Police warn motorcyclists against dangerous behavior! 

When will the WARNINGS stop and the ZERO tolerance of shenanigans on motorbikes kick in?

  1. Judge orders Air Traffic Controllers back to work. 

While the 30 or so ATControllers are part of the 200plus SXM-Airport employees, the Controllers’ job performance, or lack thereof on days like this past January 2nd, can cause accidents and incidents with catastrophic and deadly consequences. Very few other SXM-Airport jobs (if any) carry such a burden. Airport Management might consider carving them out of the rest and deal with their issues separately.

  1. Parliament to examine Brownbill’s credentials. 

REALLY?? How about the ‘Honorable’ replacement showing some integrity by offering to remove himself from consideration for the seat in Parliament that now is vacant, seeing his own experience with the justice system. What is the message here?

  1. USParty questions hospital agreement.

Maybe the USParty would be better served questioning themselves and evaluating their campaign promise of “Integrity and proper representation”.

  1. Buncamper says serious choices to be made; Reset button cannot be pushed again.

While he says that the Reset Button cannot be pushed again (for the country), the lengthy Press-Release on page 4 of the newspaper is either a political ‘magic trick’, or proof that his own personal Reset Button WAS in fact pushed, so “Business as usual” would kick-in. Convicted by our Court of Law, unceremoniously removed from Parliament (while remaining on its payroll as MP # 16), the MP appears to take a page out of an Ex-USA-President’s playbook: Deny, deflect and assign “problems” to others, all the while hoping that posts on Social Media and in the mainstream press, will cause the average citizen to soon forget all transgressions!

Michael J. Ferrier

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Alpha Team reflects on 2021 operations

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Alpha Team has compiled an analysis of its operations in 2021 to compare with those of previous years in particular the number of packages of narcotics intercepted by the team, the Sint Maarten Police Force (KPSM) said on Sunday in a statement.

The amount of narcotics intercepted and confiscated at Princess Juliana International Airport and Port St. Maarten cargo section is much high compared to previous years.

The reason for the increase is not completely clear as yet. The Alpha Team will continue to monitor this situation.

The Alpha Team is a jointly multidisciplinary team comprising the Police Force of St. Maarten KPSM, Customs, Immigration, the Koninklijke Marechaussee, and the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard. (KPSM)

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USP questions the security of the hospital contractual agreement signed with INSO

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The board of the United St. Maarten Party (USP) on Sunday said it is astounded by government’s lackadaisical approach towards what is happening at the hospital project and questioned the status and security of the contract signed for the hospital project with INSO, now FINSO. “The many financial setbacks reported at the project should be raising alarms within government,” President of the USP Cecil Nicholas said.

The now confirmed reports about contractors and sub-contractors not being paid as well as the report of the recent resignation (forced or otherwise) of a financial executive attached to the project, “is very concerning to our party in particular after the people of St. Maarten was assured a project with air-tight financial management and control,” Nicholas said.

Nicholas pointed out that Minister of Public Health Omar Ottley’s “simplified response” to the ongoing saga at SMMC does not speak to previously mentioned assurances made by the former Director of the SMMC Kleen Klarenbeek in 2019, which assured SZV, the pension fund and the people of St. Maarten of a secured investment.

“Difficulties in opening a bank account cannot and should not be the order of the day, but beyond that promises made on the floor of Parliament with regards to safe guarding the people’s patrimony has to be accounted for. This project, like PJIA reconstruction, is simply taking too long and has too many questions hovering over it which government continuously dismisses as trivial,” Nicholas said.

In 2019 during the period when concerns were raised about INSO financial stability and ability to guarantee the completion of SMMC vision of expansion, Klarenbeek expressed willingness to work with INSO under “strict, strict conditions”.

The USP board further questioned the strength of the signed contract. “Why have the strict conditions not been enforced? Did the specific clause allowing SMMC to pay contractors directly make it to the final draft of the contract? If not, why not? If it was included why hasn’t it been executed?” Nicholas questioned.

On June 1st 2021 INSO was acquired by Fincantieri Infrastructure, (FINSO). The original contract signed at the time for the construction/expansion of SMMC with embattled INSO was supposed to include securities to prevent the kind of scenarios taking place right now. In addition to an on demand performance bond and payment bond, SMMC supposedly to enter into direct agreements with “critical” subcontractors in case INSO was structurally unable to pay outstanding subcontractors.

“INSO has been a topic of negative discussion from the inception of construction talks at SMMC, the people were assured that all the warning signs and red flags associated with this company could be negated through strong contractual agreements. The government should at the least conduct an inquiry to determine that the country isn’t getting a six for a nine once again,” Nicholas concluded.

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UPDATED: NV GEBE Simpson Bay Office Closed. Philipsburg Office Hours Scaled Back

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – LATEST - NV GEBE announced on Monday that its Simpson Bay Office is closed until further notice.  The utility company apologizes for any inconvenience that this may cause.  The Philipsburg Office remains open until 1.00pm. 

ARCHIVED-SUNDAY - NV GEBE has announced that as of Monday, January 17, the Main Office in Philipsburg, and Branch Office in Simpson Bay will be scaling back its operating hours until further notice.

Both operations will be opened from 7.45am to 1.00pm Monday to Friday.

Clients can contact NV GEBE Helpdesk at Land Lines: 721 546-1100 / 546-1160 / 542-2213; WhatsApp 1 721 588-3117; Customer Care: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Billing Dept.: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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CBCS, local banks and Worldline join forces to facilitate Instant Payments

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Centrale Bank van Curaçao en Sint Maarten (CBCS), in close collaboration with Worldline and the local commercial banks, has implemented the basic infrastructure for Instant Payments (IP).

As a result, as of 15 January 2022, all interbank payments in and between Curaçao and Sint Maarten will now be processed within a few seconds, 24 hours a day and 365 days per year. This will also be the case for interbank payments between banks in Bonaire.

With the exception of two local commercial banks, which will join later in 2022, all banks in Curaçao, Sint Maarten and Bonaire are participating in the IP CSM. The IP CSM, developed by Worldline, fully complies with international standards and ISO 20022.

With the introduction of the Instant Payments CSM, the CBCS is one of the first financial institutions to make use of a dual currency system for Instant Payments. This means that now interbank transactions made with both Netherlands Antillean guilders and US-dollars are processed within just a few seconds, 24 hours a day, 365 days per year.

Looking to the future, partnership with all local banks

Implementing the basic infrastructure for IP CSM is only the first step for the CBCS. In collaboration with the local commercial banks and Worldline, additional technological possibilities are being developed.

After Instant Payments are available to all bank customers on the islands, the CBCS will expand the payment options to more efficient mobile and on-line P2P (person-toperson), P2B (person-to-business), P2G (person-to-government) and in-store payments.

The involvement of other stakeholders in the financial sector will be considered in this context. Later the infrastructure will be connected to IP payment ecosystems in other currencies, such as Aruba and the Netherlands.

Leila Matroos, executive director of the Centrale Bank van Curaçao en Sint Maarten: "The introduction of Instant Payments is the result of our ambition to modernise the technological infrastructure, and to stimulate economic development in Curaçao and Sint Maarten. This way, we are better prepared for the future, and for the countless developments in the world of payments. By working together with an experienced IP processor from the Eurozone, we can easily connect to other countries at a later stage.”

“The implementation by the Centrale Bank van Curaçao en Sint Maarten is a logical next step after the earlier introduction of Instant Payments by the Central Bank of Aruba. Instant Payments is on its way to becoming the new global payment standard. In this global context, the processing of Instant Payments for different currencies at the same time proves Worldline´s strong ability and ambition to be one of the leading global service providers for payments processing”, says Michael Steinbach, Managing Director Financial Services at Worldline.

“That is why we continue to support the CBCS with their essential route towards 24/7/365 payments. Being the largest IP processor in the Eurozone, we are therefore very proud to work with the CBCS on this implementation and further expansion.”

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New Book Explores the Impact of Hurricane Irma on St. Martin Wildlife

SAINT-MARTIN (FRENCH QUARTER) - The Les Fruits de Mer association has published a new book, Animals After Irma. In the book, eight short essays reveal different ways that the hurricane impacted animals on St. Martin. It also explores how different species survived or even thrived in the aftermath. The book is full of vivid color photos of animals and their habitats after the storm.

“Hurricane Irma had a huge impact on St. Martin,” said author Mark Yokoyama. “The effects it had on nature are important. We live on an island with few wild spaces remaining. We also have unique species found nowhere else in the world that depend on those spaces.”

Animals After Irma has been published in English and French. It is one of several books being produced by the Les Fruits de Mer association that explore the impacts of climate change on St. Martin. These impacts include drought, increased hurricane activity and sargassum beachings.

Free copies of Animals After Irma will be given away at Amuseum Naturalis on Saturday, January 15th from 9am to noon thanks to sponsor Delta Petroleum. Amuseum Naturalis is a free museum of nature and heritage located in French Quarter, St. Martin. It is open every day from sunrise to sunset.

The book is also available as a free download from http://lesfruitsdemer.com and for purchase worldwide at amazon.com. Teachers and youth group leaders interested in copies are encouraged to contact Les Fruits de Mer at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Companies or individuals interested in sponsoring copies for schools are also encouraged to contact the association.

The Les Fruits de Mer association has published twelve books about St. Martin nature and heritage. All are available in both English and French. The association is currently working to develop new books on local topics for all different ages. Their long-term goal is to give a free book about St. Martin to every student on the island, every year they are in school.

Animals After Irma was produced with support from the Collectivité de Saint-Martin, the Agence nationale de la cohésion des territoires, and Delta Petroleum.

Animaux Apres Irma

Animals After Irma is available in a French-language edition, Les Animaux Aprés Irma.
 
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