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Soualiga (8153)

Sint Maarten attends INTERPOL General Assembly to address contemporary crime threats

MONTE CARLO, Monaco/SINT MAARTEN – The INTERPOL General Assembly opened on Monday with a gathering of Justice, Home Affairs and Security Ministers from some 100 countries which will examine the evolution of international police cooperation and chart the course for facing the crime challenges of the future.

The Ministerial meeting, which marks the beginning of the five-day (3 – 7 November) 83rd INTERPOL General Assembly in Monaco with the theme ‘Turn Back Crime: 100 years of international police cooperation’, serves as a forum for more than 1,000 delegates from 166 countries to discuss key issues including building strong law enforcement institutions, and increasing collaboration between police and the public and private sectors.

Representing Sint Maarten is Minister of Justice Hon. Dennis Richardson and Chief Police Commissioner Peter de Witte. Country Sint Maarten is a member of INTERPOL and has its own National Central Bureau. 

The ministers will review the history of global police cooperation and how law enforcement has evolved throughout the past 100 years to collectively combat transnational organized crime. Critical questions for the future of international policing will also be addressed, including how countries can best prepare for contemporary crime challenges by expanding partnerships beyond the law enforcement realm.

Opening the conference, HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco said the evolution of crime and criminal organizations since his great-great-grandfather Prince Albert I brought together police and judicial leaders for the first International Criminal Police Congress in 1914 means INTERPOL’s role in coordinating the world’s police has become more important than ever before.

“The growth in economic trade and the free movement of people requires a strong reaction from the police, extending beyond the borders of states, so as not to be surpassed by the actions of malicious individuals who exploit the advantages of our globalized world,” said Prince Albert.

“Today, INTERPOL is the most effective structure for fighting transnational organized crime. Your exchanges and discussions will permit you to assess the measures carried out during the past years, notably for improving the capacity of police to adapt their methods to new types of crimes connected to advances in technology,” he concluded.

INTERPOL President Mireille Ballestrazzi said this historical gathering underlines the vision of the global leaders who created INTERPOL out of the first International Criminal Police Congress in bringing the world’s police together as a unified force against the ever-changing criminal threat.

“The terrorist threat has never been stronger, while cybercrime is spreading throughout the virtual world. Our environment, the health of our populations are also threatened by greedy traffickers seeking to profit.

“Faced with these new threats, law enforcement agencies have mobilized. They have become better organized, better equipped, better trained, more professional. In short, they have adapted, making the best use of technical and scientific advances such as centralized files, exploitation of evidence, communication systems, monitoring devices, protective equipment,” concluded Ms Ballestrazzi.

The Ministerial gathering heard that, despite the progress made, crime and terrorism continue to pose a significant threat to society, underlining the need for continued efforts to build and strengthen police institutions and share policies, practices and procedures to ensure efficient law enforcement cooperation.

“The world has changed and police have adapted to new forms of crime which threaten the security of our society,” said Régis Asso, Monaco’s Director of Public Security.

“Today we have the pleasure of reuniting to continue the visionary initiative launched in 1914 and reflect on the results of one hundred years of international police cooperation for a safer world,” added Mr Asso.

A joint Ministerial declaration will be issued at the conclusion of the meeting to encourage all member countries to take the necessary steps to strengthen international police cooperation against  all forms of transnational crime, with an emphasis on terrorism. In particular, the declaration will call on countries to develop new police technologies, eliminate legal barriers and generate strategies to support the global law enforcement community’s efforts to fight crime. (INTERPOL)

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Update: WEATHER WATCH: A HEAVY RAINFALL ADVISORY AND FLOOD WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR ST. MAARTEN FROM TONIGHT (FRIDAY) THROUGH SUNDAY. HEAVY RAINFALL AND FLOODING

SIMPSON BAY, Meteorological Department of Sint Maarten - A Heavy Rainfall Advisory is in effect from tonight (Friday, November 7) through Sunday (November 9) for St. Maarten. 

Heavy showers leading to localized flooding are expected across the island, as a result of an upper level feature to the west of the Leeward Islands. 

Due to the potential for heavy rainfall and isolated thunderstorms, a flood warning will be in effect for the period of tonight through Sunday. 

Residents are urged to avoid driving on flooded streets until the heavy rain has tapered off or ended and the flood waters have subsided. 

In case there are lightning strikes very close to your location (loud thunder, less than three seconds between lightning discharge and thunder), switch off and disconnect any sensitive electronic equipment. Also disconnect any phone line from your computer. 

ARCHIVED: Tuesday, November 4th - A large area of disturbed weather over the north eastern Caribbean Sea and extends across Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, and for several hundred miles over the Atlantic Ocean, has a 20 per cent chance for development according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).  This system on Tuesday, November 4th, 2014 brought heavy showers throughout the day and evening to Sint Maarten causing flooding in low lying areas.

According to the NHC on Tuesday evening November 4th, 2014, surface pressures are gradually falling across the region and a low pressure system could form on Wednesday or Thursday.  The system could acquire subtropical characteristics as it moves west to north-westward towards the Bahamas.   

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New Cayman Approach for a Floating Cruise Pier that would Rival Port St. Maarten

CAYMAN ISLANDS-SINT MAARTEN – A floating cruise pier is now being considered by Cayman Island stakeholders that would rival Port St. Maarten by being able to accommodate six cruise ships at one time.  If the private sector stakeholders are able to muster Government support around the project, it could be operational in 2017.  Port St. Maarten’s current two cruise piers accommodate simultaneously six cruise ships.

Executives from Carnival Cruise Lines, one of the world’s major cruise ship operators, back in January 2014 dismissed a floating pier concept for Grand Cayman as a “pie in the sky” idea and urged the Cayman Government to look at a long-term solution by building two permanent cruise piers in George Town harbour.

The Carnival Corporation is one of the largest vacation companies in the world attracting over 10 million guests annually.  The portfolio of leading cruise brands includes Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and Seabourn in North America; P&O Cruises (UK), and Cunard in the United Kingdom; AIDA Cruises in Germany; Costa Cruises in Southern Europe; Iberocruceros in Spain; and P&O Cruises (Australia) in Australia.

The Cayman Islands at the moment does not have a cruise pier and all cruise passengers have to be tendered to shore.  The island received 1.375,872 million cruise passengers in 2013 and in comparison Port St. Maarten received 1.785,670 cruise passengers in the same year.

Cayman Island authorities both public and private have been exploring and toiling with the idea of a cruise facility for a number of years and to date nothing has materialized. 

The envisioned floating cruise pier would be hurricane proof and could costs approximately US$200 million.  Environmental factors have been one of the main considerations playing a role whether to build a cruise facility outside George Town harbour.

Funding of the project would be raised from private capital under the current scenario that has been recently presented to the Cayman business community by several investors.

Dutch engineering firm Witteveen & Bos according to reports has been giving advice with respect to the floating pier concept, and has also drafted the design for the project.    

The Cayman stakeholders who are supporting the floating cruise pier concept prefer to raise local funding to finance the project rather than partnering with one or more cruise lines who would put up all or part of the funding and in return receive guaranteed berthing rights for a certain period of time.  The local investors feel that this would create an odd relationship with other cruise lines.

Port St. Maarten partnered with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and Carnival Cruise Lines with respect to the construction of its second cruise pier.  The strategic decision was made years ago by the supervisory board and port management in order to meet the demands of the cruise sector which launched the mammoth vessels such as the Oasis of the Seas and Carnival Dream considered as the ships of the 21st century.  (SOUALIGA NEWSDAY REPORT)

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EBOLA: Guinea, Good Progress being made at Ground ZERO. Disease still very much a crisis

SINT MAARTEN-INTERNATIONAL – Visiting Guéckédou, Guinea, where the unprecedented outbreak of Ebola in West Africa is believed to have started, the United Nations envoy coordinating the massive global crisis response said that while there are now “basically zero” cases in the town, the challenge will be to replicate the strategy to defeat the disease throughout the country and the wider region.

In the middle of his third trip to Guinea for October, Anthony Banbury, head of the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), told reporters that he had visited Guéckédou, in an area in the southern part of the country, close to the Sierra Leone and Liberia borders, at the heart of where the crisis originally began.

“The first case of Ebola, in December 2013, was just down the road from here, so I was very interested and coming and seeing the situation on the ground for myself,” he said, noting that “happily, the number of cases in Guéckédou has gone down a lot.”

Indeed, he said, the transmissions are declining and the number of cases in the town is almost basically zero. While there are still cases outside the town, “there's been good progress made over these past months.”

Asked if the strategy to halt the spread of the virus in the area was sound, the UNMEER chief said he did not believe there were any major gaps in Guéckédou. “All the elements of the proper response plan are in place,” he continued, explaining that in the area there is an Ebola treatment unit; there are safe burials; there is contact identification and tracing; as well as community mobilization – “and we see the results of it”.

This was reminiscent of what UNMEER had seen in Foya in neighbouring Liberia, where all those elements were in place, and what had been an area with very high infection rates – and significantly accelerated infection rates – now was seeing significantly decreasing infection rates.

“So we know the strategy we have works – the challenge now to is to spread it everywhere…the disease is,” said Mr. Banbury, noting that there are other places close to Guéckédou where the situation was quite different and the virus was still spreading.

“We're going to go look at Macenta …where there are significantly accelerating cases and we need to [put] more of an effort there into getting all the elements of the response together,” he said.

As for his meeting earlier in the day with Guéckédou's prefect, mayor, other local officials, partners and representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), Mr. Banbury said that while the prefect was very pleased with the progress that had been achieved in reducing the number of cases, he emphasized that the Ebola outbreak is impacting every segment of society, every facet of life.

“People weren't going to the market anymore, people were afraid to come from outside of Guéckédou to sell at the market because they thought that Guéckédou was a centre of Ebola. So clearly the disease has had a dramatic impact on society here,” said Mr. Banbury, adding however, that “the good news is the numbers are really coming down in Guéckédou.”

Yet, there is more work to be done, he continued, noting that unfortunately, in neighbouring districts – Macenta, N'Zérékoré, Kaoune – “there are very significant numbers, increases in cases.”

Commenting on his stop in the Guinean capital, Conakry, where he met President Alpha Condé, Mr. Banbury said he had been pleased to learn of the adoption by the President and the Government of a national plan to defeat Ebola – that was very much based on the plan that came out of the planning conference held two weeks ago in Accra, Ghana, where UNMEER is headquartered, with the key UN officials and leaders of the most-affected countries, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Now, he continued, the Guinea's national coordination structure is co-chaired by Dr. Sakoba and Dr. Marcel Rudasingwa, the Ebola Crisis Manager for UNMEER, “so things are really looking in good shape here. The disease is still very much a crisis, but the elements to defeat are being put in place – I'm very pleased to see it.”

Mr. Banbury went on to say that his first stop after Conakry this morning was in Kissidougou, where the UN World Food Programme (WFP) is in the process of building a Forward Logistics Base (FLB).

Praising WFP for working so fast to put in place “this critical logistics capability”, he said the Base would have storage facilities, as well as a helicopter landing pad, “including jet A-1 for the planes and helicopters to give good reach for the helicopters to move around and deliver supplies, as well as a number of 4X4 trucks”.

Asked about his takeaway from field missions, Mr. Banbury said “you learn so much more than you can in a meeting room in the capital.” Indeed, while official meetings provided vital opportunities to hear the concerns of Heads of State and partners had to say, “you learn much more here on the ground, whether it's talking to a local official, an NGO worker, a UN worker, some kid on the street – this is where you can really get the sense of what's happening.”

According to UN World Health Organization (WHO)statisticson the Ebola outbreak, 13,567 cases and 4,951 deaths have been reported in the six affected countries of Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Spain, and the United States, along with two previously affected countries, Nigeria and Senegal. The cases reported are fewer than those last reported due mainly to suspected cases in Guinea being discarded, WHO said.

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'Leaders must act', urges Ban, as new UN report warns man's impact on climate may soon be 'irreversible'

SINT MAARTEN-INTERNATIONAL – Citing “clear and growing” human influence on the climate system, a United Nations report issued on Sunday, November 2, 2014, has warned that if left unchecked, climate change will increase the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This message is also very relevant for country Sint Maarten.  Sint Maarten and the entire Caribbean are facing climate change challenges.  Action is being taken by some and they are also accessing international funding that has been made available to mitigate the change that has already started to take place throughout different parts of the world which are more predominant there than here.  Climate change is a reality!  Sint Maarten cannot maintain a business as usual attitude as the clock is ticking down.  Time is not on our side.  The creation of a sustainable Sint Maarten is needed more now than ever.  Inaction will cost much more.) 

Echoing that dire warning, UNSecretary-GeneralBan Ki-moonsaidthat if the world maintains its “business as usual” attitude about climate change, the opportunity to keep temperature rise below the internationally target of 2 degrees Celsius, “will slip away within the next decade.”

“With this latest report, science has spoken yet again and with much more clarity. Time is not on our side…leaders must act,” declared the UN chief, in Copenhagen, Denmark on an official visit that included a press conference to launch the final installmentFifth Assessment Reportof the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

According to apress releasefrom the panel, the so-called “Synthesis Report” confirms that climate change is being registered around the world and warming of the climate system is unequivocal. Since the 1950s many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia.

“Our assessment finds that the atmosphere and oceans have warmed, the amount of snow and ice has diminished, sea level has risen and the concentration of carbon dioxide has increased to a level unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years,” said Thomas Stocker, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group I, which participated in the compilation of the final report along with two other expert working groups.

Calling the report the “most comprehensive assessment of climate change” ever carried out, the Secretary-General urged worldwide action in light of its stark findings, saying that “even if emissions stopped tomorrow, we will be living with climate change for some time to come.”

He went on to say that the report found that the world is largely very ill-prepared for the risks of a changing climate, especially the poor and most vulnerable who have contributed least to this problem.

“I have seen for myself those rapidly melting glaciers, most recently in Greenland together with the Prime Minister of Denmark,” he said emphasizing that though he is not a scientist, he has travelled the world over, “to see the impact for myself and…add to the voices of scientists in a political way, as a common man.”

Yet, the “good news is that if we act now, we have the means to build a more sustainable world,” he said, explaining that quick and decisive action that draws on many readily available tools and technologies can put the world on the right track. Renewable energy sources are increasingly economically competitive. Energy efficiency has long proven its value. It was a myth that climate action would be costly, he said, stressing that in fact, inaction “will cost much, much more,” he added. 

R. K. Pachauri, Chair of the IPCC, underscored that the means to limit climate change are at hand. “The solutions are many and allow for continued economic and human development. All we need is the will to change, which we trust will be motivated by knowledge and an understanding of the science of climate change.”

Speaking later at the Copenhagen Energy Security Dialogues, the Secretary-Generalcommendedthe global vision of European Union leaders who had taken decisive action to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent from by 2030.

“This is one of the major achievements immediately after theClimate Change Summitwhich I convened,” in late September, said the UN chief, adding that while he has made the issue one of the Organization's top priorities, he wanted to broaden the scope of measures aimed at tackling it.

Indeed as climate change “is not just a matter for environmentalists and/or scientists. It is a major development challenge that can also lead to serious security threats”, Mr. Ban said, noting that mobilizing for climate change is also mobilizing for sustainable development.

As such, the United Nations would focus on three linked priorities for next year: accelerating continued efforts to meet the targets of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); shaping a “bold and ambitious” post-2015 development agenda by the end of next year; and agreeing a meaningful climate change agreement by next December next year in Paris.

“A transformative approach to energy can drive all these priorities to a successful realization,” of those aims, said the Secretary-General, noting that theSustainable Energy for Allinitiative he had launched in 2011is mobilizing governments, businesses, finance and civil society to transform the world's energy systems.

“The United Nations is bringing the world together on energy because energy is central to our future well-being as a human family,” he said.

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Signs of Ebola decline in Liberia offer ‘glimmer of hope’ – UN. Over 13,000 persons infected and close to 5,000 dead

SINT MAARTEN-INTERNATIONAL – The spread of Ebola in Liberia may be slowing, as demonstrated in the decline in burials and sickbed occupancy rates, as well as a plateau in lab-reported new cases in the West African country hardest hit by the virus, the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) has reported, while cautioning against drawing premature conclusions.

“It appears the trend is real in Liberia,” Dr. Bruce Aylward, WHO Assistant Director-General in charge of operational response, told a press conference from the agency’s Geneva headquarters. “There may be a slowing ofEbolathere.”

But, Dr. Aylward urged caution in interpreting the recent data saying that conclusions should not be drawn that Ebola is under control in Liberia, underscoring that while officials are “seeing glimmers of hope”, they need to study what’s behind the trend.

He stressed that “a slight decline in cases on a day to day basis versus getting this thing closed out is a completely different ball game.”

“Am I hopeful?” Dr. Aylward said. “I am terrified that the information will be misinterpreted. It’s like saying your pet tiger is under control,” he told reporters. “This is a very, very dangerous disease.”

While he reported the freeing up of hospital beds, the plateauing of laboratory-confirmed cases and a decline in burials in Liberia, he noted that Ebola is “burning hot” in parts of Sierra Leone, another country at the frontlines of the outbreak, along with Guinea.

The WHO doctor said there was evidence that Ebola-affected countries can control the epidemic with safe burial, education, engagement, treatment work at a large scale, “but they need help.”

WHO, in its latest update on Ebola issued Wednesday, said 13,703 cases and 4,922 deaths had been reported as of 27 October in the six affected countries of Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Spain, and the United States, along with two previously affected countries, Nigeria and Senegal. A total of 521 health-care workers are known to have been infected with Ebola, 272 of whom have died, according to the update.

Fifteen countries that neighbour States with widespread and intense transmission, or that otherwise have strong trade and travel ties with hard-hit countries, will be prioritized for technical assistance on preparedness from specialist WHO teams and partners. WHO identified these countries as: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Cote D’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria, Senegal, South Sudan, and Togo.

Meanwhile today, the Head of the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), Tony Banbury, held a joint press conference in Accra, Ghana, with United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power.

Mr. Banbury said that there's been a very significant mobilization of international personnel, resources and capabilities to work side-by-side with the governments, and that those efforts are starting to pay off.

However, he stressed that the crisis remains very serious, with continuous needs to build more beds, get more foreign medical teams in place, build more community care centres, and have more safe burial teams and more community mobilization.

“For UNMEER, from an operational perspective, the most difficult thing is that we have to put in place every part of the response, we have to put it in place everywhere and we have to do it super-fast, he said, adding: “If there's a gap anywhere in the operational response, it leaves a place for this virus to continue to spread…that's a big responsibility.”

With that vital imperative, Mr. Banbury said the Mission is working very hard together with partners such as the United States, all the wider UN family, non-governmental organizations and national governments “to make sure we put that response capability in place everywhere to that there are no gaps in the response.”

“At UNMEER, we are doing everything possible” to achieve the results that have been set forth, the objectives that have been set of 70 per cent of new cases under treatment and 70 per cent of burials being done safely, he continued.

“If we can do that, we can turn this crisis around,” he said. “That's our objective – we're working very hard to achieve it and I'm confident that with all of the international community working with the national governments, we'll make it.”

Ms. Power told reporters she was very encouraged by the steps taken in dealing with the Ebola crisis and that her main message was for the world to fill the gaps so “we can bend and end the curve.”

Meanwhile, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) warned today that Guinea is facing growing food insecurity due to the current Ebola crisis. Forest Guinea – the area of Guinea hardest hit by the virus – is experiencing the worst rates of food insecurity in the country.

WHO also noted today that as the Ebola outbreak grows and spreads in Sierra Leone, a small but significant group of people is also growing: the Ebola survivors, and psychological and social services for survivors are gradually emerging in that country.

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Debris from downed plane indicates catastrophic crash

CUPECOY – Plane crash debris continued to wash ashore on Thursday while the search for the pilot of the cargo plane that crashed Wednesday evening, October 29 off Caravanserai just shy of Sint Maarten Airport continues.  Sint Maarten law enforcement officials could be seen combing the beaches on the South side of the country for debris.

One law enforcement official stated that the search is continuing for the second person who piloted the aircraft.  The official stated that on Wednesday evening, prior to retrieving the body of the co-pilot, security guards working at several condominium properties that are located between Mullet Bay Beach and Cupecoy Beach heard somebody crying out for help, adding that it couldn’t have been the co-pilot due to the condition of his body when it was retrieved.

The official added that the pilot is said to be a very good swimmer and diver.  The focus of the search for the missing pilot were in French St. Martin territorial waters and out to sea on Thursday, October 30. (SOUALIGA NEWS REPORT) 

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SCDF, promoter cancels African concert due to Ebola concerns

POND ISLAND, FESTIVAL VILLAGE - The St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) announced on Monday that it has cancelled the African themed concert on the Carnival 2015 schedule. The SCDF said the move is a precautionary one in light of the current Ebola outbreak the world is dealing with.

SCDF said the promoter of the night is in agreement and will now stage a concert with a different genre of music. The concert would have been the first African themed concert in Carnival and would have featured artists from Ebola affected regions.

“Though Carnival is in April 2015 and we do not know what the situation will be then, we decided to err on the side of caution. Or, in laymans terms, better safe than sorry. We rather over react than to be faced with a situation we could have prevented. We are pleased that the promoter was of the same frame of mind and did not hesitate to cooperate and agree with this decision,” the SCDF said.

“Per usual, Carnival lovers can expect a terrific show in its place. St. Maarten’s Carnival is known for quality International shows and the replacement concert will maintain that same quality,” the SCDF concluded. 

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WEATHER WATCH: LP to the East Moving Away from the Leeward Islands. Potential for development downgraded

CARIBBEAN – The Tropical Wave (TW) system has become a Low Pressure (LP) system east of the Leeward Islands (Sint Maarten), and continues on a west-north-westward track keeping the majority of disorganized showers and thunderstorms away from the islands.  The system at 8.00AM on Wednesday morning October 29, 2014 continues to move away from the northern Leeward Islands.  Potential for development by the National Hurricane Center has been decreased from 40 per cent on Tuesday to 30 per cent on Wednesday morning.

ARCHIVED: The Tropical Wave (TW) east of the islands on Tuesday afternoon October 28 continues to produce a large area of cloudiness and disorganized thunderstorms from the Lesser Antilles eastward over the Atlantic Ocean.  The National Hurricane Center has increased the wave’s potential for development from 30 to 40 percent when compared to Tuesday morning.

The TW continues to moves west-north-westward to north-westward.  The system is moving 10 to 15 miles per hour and is expected to produce brief periods of gusty winds and heavy rainfall across portions of the Leeward Islands on Tuesday. 

ARCHIVED: The Tropical Wave (TW) east of the islands on Tuesday morning October 28 continues to produce a large area of cloudiness and disorganized thunderstorms from the Lesser Antilles eastward over the Atlantic Ocean.  The National Hurricane Center says some gradual development of this disturbance is possible while it moves north-westward to west-north-westward.  The NHC has increased its potential for development from 20 to 30 per cent.  The system is moving 10 to 15 miles per hour and is expected to produce brief periods of gusty winds and heavy rainfall across portions of the Leeward Islands on Tuesday. 

ARCHIVED: The eighth tropical storm of the Atlantic hurricane season formed off the coast of Nicaragua in the Western Caribbean Sea.  At 8.00PM on Monday evening, October 27th, 2014, the National Hurricane Center downgraded Tropical Storm (TS) Hanna to a tropical depression. 

A Tropical Wave (TW) is located east of the Caribbean island chain.  There is a 20 per cent chance of development.  As of 8.00PM Monday night, October 27, the system is producing a large area of cloudiness and disorganized thunderstorms from the Lesser Antilles eastward over the Atlantic Ocean.

Any development will be slow to occur.  The TW is moving northwestward to west northwestward at 10 to 15 miles per hour.  The system is expected to produce brief periods of gusty winds and  locally heavy rainfall across portions of the Lesser Antilles through Tuesday.

TS Hanna is the remnants of Tropical Depression #9 that formed in the Bay of Campeche (Gulf of Mexico) last week.

TS Hanna at 5.00PM on Monday was located 55 miles from Cabo Gracias A Dios on the Nicaraguan/Honduran border.  Wind speeds are 40 miles per hour with higher gusts, and the storm is moving west inland at seven miles per hour.  TS force winds extend outward up to 80 miles to the north of the center.

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EBOLA: Sint Maarten Institutes Travel Ban

NATIONAL STATEMENT

BY

THE SINT MAARTEN

MINISTER OF PUBLIC HEALTH, SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT & LABOUR

HON. CORNELIUS DE WEEVER

 My Fellow Sint Maarteners:

The Ebola virus disease (EVD) is a severe, often fatal illness in humans. The current outbreak it is believed originated in Guinea in December 2013.  The outbreak has reached community transmission and impacts two additional countries, namely, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

In August 2014, the Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa constitutes an extraordinary event and a public health risk to other countries; that the possible consequences of further international spread are particularly serious; Ebola is considered a public health emergency of international concern.

The Government of Sint Maarten has been working to put the necessary plans and protocols in place along with our stakeholders and partners, in order to protect the public health of the Sint Maarten community.  These plans are in line with our international obligations to the World Health Organization with respect to International Health Regulations.

On October 23, the West African country of Mali reported its first confirmed case of Ebola.  Senegal and Nigeria have officially been declared by the WHO as Ebola free.  This is a reminder that this disease can be contained and defeated.

The situation surrounding Ebola is fluent and one must be prepared to take the necessary measures deemed necessary to keep Sint Maarten safe.

 “Per advice of the health officials of the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, Sint Maarten hereby issues a travel ban (entry and transit) to all persons that have travelled in the past 21 days to, from and through the following countries where the outbreak is not contained, namely: Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“This travel ban will also apply to persons who have been in contact with a suspected or confirmed Ebola case from affected Ebola countries.

“The travel ban will remain in effect until the areas and countries are declared Ebola free by the World Health Organization.

“In addition: for boats and cruise ships coming in: no boat or ship that has a person or persons on board that fit the profile will be allowed to come to shore;

“No passenger on the boat or ship will be allowed to come off the ship;

“Incoming flights with suspect cases will be allowed to land, refuel and return to the country of origin.

“A person or persons returning from Ebola affected countries that are registered on Sint Maarten will be allowed to enter Sint Maarten under the condition that they are quarantined for at least 21 days upon arrival.”

In conclusion, you cannot get Ebola easily.  Ebola is not an airborne disease spread by breathing air. You can’t get it through casual contact with someone. The only way you can get this disease is by coming into direct contact with the bodily fluids (eg. blood, bodily secretions) of someone with symptoms.  The incubation period from time of infection to symptoms is two to 21 days. 

This measure taken is to ensure that the people of Sint Maarten are protected and that the economy of the country is not impacted negatively in any form or fashion with respect to the Ebola virus disease.

Thank You

God Bless the Sint Maarten nation.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Sint Maarten, West Indies

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