Soualiga Newsday Focus

Soualiga Newsday Focus (1941)

Stop 15-year-olds delivering meals, labour inspectors say

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Social affairs ministry inspectors have urged the government to ban the under-16s from delivering meals for snack bars and restaurants because the rules are being widely flouted.

Delivery firms are switching from mopeds to electric bikes which don’t need a licence, and this is one reason why restaurants and snack bars are using younger delivery boys, the inspectors say.

They are also cheaper to employ. The minimum wage for a 15-year-old is €3.19 for a 36-hour week. Inspectors visited 178 restaurants which had their own delivery workers and found 107 were breaking the rules.

Workers were either too young, working too-long hours or were being underpaid. Fifteen-year olds are not allowed to work for more than two hours a day or 12 hours a week and can only work between 7am and 7pm.

Meal delivery services like Deliveroo and Uber Eats already have a minimum age of 16.



Slightly more Dutch women are working full-time, men are working a little less

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – There has been a marginal increase in the number of women in the Netherlands working full time, national statistics agency CBS said on Thursday.

In 2016, 25% of women worked at least 35 hours a week, and this has now risen to 27%, the CBS said. By contrast, the percentage of men with a full-time job has gone down from 74% to 72%.

Nevertheless, last year, just over half the Dutch working population had what is considered a full-time job of at least 35 hours. Ten years ago, 54% of the population worked full time.

The self-employed are far more likely than people in regular jobs to work long hours. Nearly one third say they work at least 40 hours a month, compared with just 8% of the regular working population.



More foreign firms move to the Netherlands to beat Brexit

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – A record 397 foreign companies set up shop in the Netherlands last year, of which 78 made the move because of Brexit, according to new figures from the Dutch foreign investment agency NFIA.

In total, 140 companies have now started some form of operation in the Netherlands because of Brexit, and they are expected to create some 4,000 jobs between them, the NFIA said.

Not all the firms are moving from Britain and some have opted to set up new European operations in the Netherlands rather than the UK because of the uncertainty caused by Brexit.

The agency says it is currently in talks with 425 companies which are considering either moving to the Netherlands or expanding their current operations because of Brexit. ‘Much will depend on the specifics of an economic partnership between the UK and the EU,’ said agency chief Jeroen Nijland.

‘The impact of this will vary from sector to sector and the pressure to reach agreements will be high this year. We see that a lot of companies and investments are waiting for the impact of these new agreements before making a decision.’

Together the new arrivals are expected to create 14,000 direct jobs and invest €4.3bn in their Dutch operations over the next three years, the NFIA said. ‘Foreign companies make an important contribution to our economy and account for 30% of the total private spending on research and development,’ economic affairs minister Erik Wiebes said.

‘This contributes to solving challenges that we face as a country and to our future earning potential.’ Most new arrivals came from North America and Asia (94 and 93), followed by Europe with 55.



Dutch get tough on ‘virginity repair ops’ and child marriage

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Dutch doctors have pledged to stop carrying out operations to ‘restore’ women’s hymens, as one of a packages of measures to tackle what ministers call ‘damaging practices’ affecting mainly women and girls.

There were 120 hymen repair operations at Dutch clinics in 2018, broadcaster NOS reported, most of which took place in a commercial clinic and cost up to €1,100.

The operation, which involves a few stitches under local anasthetic, is undergone by girls whose culture expects them to bleed the first time they have sex on their wedding night.

Doctors are particularly opposed to the operation because there is technically nothing to ‘repair’. ‘Family pressure on girls should not be a way to make money,’ health minister Hugo de Jonge said.

If the practice is not stopped on a voluntary basis, the Netherlands will bring in legislation to make it illegal, De Jonge said in a briefing to MPs.

Child marriages

In addition, the Netherlands will no longer recognise child marriages which have been performed abroad, even if both partners are now adults. ‘If your parents marry you off at a young age, perhaps to someone you don’t even know, then your childhood ends abruptly,’ justice minister Sander Dekker said.

‘Children should be allowed to be children and marriage is not part of that.’ The measures, announced by the two ministers on Wednesday, are part of a major programme by the health and justice ministries to combat domestic violence and child abuse.



CDA, D66 revive plans for 25,000 home Almere Pampus project

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – A plan to build 25,000 affordable homes with a fast metro connection on reclaimed land near Almere will go some way to solving the Netherlands’ acute shortage of housing, according to the plan’s Liberal democrat and Christian Democrat backers.

The Almere Pampus project was first mooted years ago but shelved in 2013 until at least 2025. Now D66 and the CDA say it should be revived as part of effort to build some 300,000 new homes.

‘It is a great space on the IJmeer lake, with a view towards Amsterdam,’ D66 leader Rob Jetten said. ‘There are few places in the Netherlands where we can think big. And this area is ready to be developed.’

A fast metro link, preferably in a tunnel, is key to the project, Jetten said.

New city

The relatively new city of Almere has been the fastest growing part of the Netherlands over the past 20 years in terms of its economy, jobs and population. Almere, created on reclaimed land in the 1960s, is a planned city and got its first houses in 1976.

It became an independent local authority area in 1984. In 2018, the national statistics agency CBS said Almere’s economy grew 144% between 1996 and 2016, compared with average national growth of 50%.

Its population has gone up by 75% and the number of jobs by 90% over the same period.



At least 60 people are victims of IND Brexit letter blunder

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – At least 60 British nationals in the Netherlands have been sent a letter by the IND immigration service which should have been sent to someone else, according to an analysis of reports made to DutchNews.

In one case all four members of the same family had been sent someone else’s letter. In another, a man contacted on behalf of his elderly mother-in-law who, he said, is worried about what has happened to the letter destined for her.

One man said he had been coincidently sent a letter addressed to his best friend who lived in a different city, and in another case, the recipient and addressee have now been in touch on social media.

DutchNews reported on Monday that the IND had mistakenly sent a number of letters apologising for a previous data breach to the wrong people and appealed for other victims to come forward.

The problems centre on a letter sent by the IND to all British citizens registered in the Netherlands at the end of January about their post-Brexit rights. In around 7,000 cases, the agency failed to include letters or numerals denoting the recipient’s exact house number.

But in a second, more serious data breach, the letter apologising for the earlier mistake has been sent to dozens of wrong addresses. The IND is investigating how the letters got switched and has also reported this second leak to the data protection authority.



IND privacy blunder: British nationals get letters meant for someone else

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The Dutch immigration service IND is looking into reports that it twice compromised the privacy of British nationals by sending letters about their immigration status to the wrong address.

At the end of January, the IND wrote to all British citizens registered in the Netherlands about their residency rights in the wake of Brexit. But in around 7,000 cases, the agency failed to include letters or numerals denoting the recipient’s exact house number.

When the IND wrote to those 7,000 people informing them of the data breach, they enclosed a copy of the original letter. But DutchNews has learned of dozens of cases in which the letter about the privacy problem was addressed to the wrong person – constituting another, more serious, data breach.

DutchNews is aware of at least 30 cases so far in which people have been sent a letter about the privacy breach which was meant for someone else. One reader said he had phoned the IND helpline and been told that they had been ‘inundated’ with calls all day.

Amsterdam resident Steven received a seemingly random letter for someone in Wassenaar. ‘There is no similarity in surnames or house numbers,’ he told DutchNews.

‘It is extraordinary to have a data breach on top of a data breach,’ he said. ‘The first one was fairly minor, but this attempt to correct it is more serious. I now know their name, their address and their immigration status.’

David Zetland, also of Amsterdam said he didn’t know there had been a mistake until he got the letter saying there had been a problem. ‘It was addressed to another Brit. Pretty good way to help me see the mistake,’ he told DutchNews. DutchNews journalist Deborah Nicholls-Lee was the only one in her family of four to get a wrongly-addressed letter.

‘I hadn’t noticed the first breach, so I was surprised to receive this letter,’ she said. ‘Ironically, this letter represented a far greater breach of privacy than the previous one as my second letter had clearly gone to someone else and I had received a letter addressed to a British citizen in Utrecht in its place.

‘I am not angry or worried about the letter mix-up, but I do think that the data breach suggests that the IND is struggling to cope with the workload created by Brexit.’ A spokesman for the IND told DutchNews officials are now trying to find out what has happened.

‘We are currently looking into the claims, the cause of them and the scale on which this has happened,’ he said. On Twitter, the agency is suggesting people who have had a wrongly-addressed letter return it.

A spokeswoman for the Dutch privacy watchdog said they did not comment about individual complaints and could not say if a second data breach had been reported. Note: This article has been updated to reflect the number of reports of wrong deliveries.



Local politicians call for ban on teenagers carrying knives

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Two local mayors have called for under-18s to be banned from carrying knives following a spate of stabbings involving teenagers. The mayors of Nissewaard and Ridderkerk, both in Zuid-Holland province, said the law should be changed to make it clear knife crime is socially unacceptable.

‘We think this is the right time to send out a signal to national politicians,’ said Nissewaard mayor Foort van Oosten. Van Oosten said a number of incidents nationwide, such as the fatal stabbing of a 16-year-old boy in Drachten for which two boys aged 14 and 15 were arrested, demonstrate the need for a more hands-on approach.

The mayors say changing the law would allow police to carry out preventive searches in areas where knife crime is common. Some types of knife are already banned, while others can be carried as long as they are contained in protective packaging.

A majority of MPs have expressed support for tightening the law on bladed weapons, but justice minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus said the solution lay in better preventive measures.

‘You can go out into the streets with a vegetable knife and act in a completely unacceptable way and stab somebody,’ he said. ‘We also need to look at how dangerous situations can be prevented in certain areas.’



Members of Parliament participate in Orientation week

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – During the week of February 10-14, 2020 Members of Parliament participated in an Orientation week organized by the secretariat of Parliament.

After the oath taking ceremony on Monday, February 10, 2020 Members of Parliament delved immediately on Tuesday in an Orientation week organized by the secretariat of Parliament.

This Orientation week started with a brief presentation by the Secretary General and the Section Head of Administration and Facility services of Parliament on some practical matters concerning Parliament followed by a training on the role of Parliament in the constitutional framework as well as the competencies and responsibilities of Parliament by Mrs. dr. R. Arduin.

In the afternoon representatives of the Council of Advice gave a presentation on the role of the Council of Advice and enlightened the Members of Parliament on how this body executes its task as the main advisory body to the Government and Parliament where it pertains legislation.

On Wednesday the training resumed after which representatives of the General Audit Chamber gave a presentation on the role of the General Audit Chamber in our parliamentary democracy as well as the relationship between the High Council of State and Parliament.

On Thursday afternoon the 2nd acting Secretary General of Parliament gave a presentation on the Legislative assistance of the Secretariat of Parliament.

The Orientation week continued with the Ombudsman who provided the Members with insight in her role as the protector of the people and the guardian of the Constitution on Thursday afternoon.

All the High Councils of State emphasized in their presentations that their reason for existence is to assist Parliament in its supervisory role over Government.

On Friday morning the Orientation week kicked off with a presentation from the trainer. All Members were presented with a certificate for their participation by Mrs. dr. R. Arduin.

In the afternoon the 2nd acting Secretary General of Parliament gave a presentation on the Kingdom Law procedure which was followed by a presentation by the Social Economic Council (SER) who informed Members of Parliament of their functioning, membership and several rendered advices on social economic matters over the past years.

The goal of this Orientation week was to equip all Members of Parliament but especially the first time Members with the necessary tools in order for them to execute their role as a Parliamentarian during the Parliamentary term 2020-2024 that just commenced on February 10, 2020.


Police meets with stakeholders concerning the Police Mobile Command Center

SINT MAARTEN (POINT BLANCHE) - Members of the Sint Maarten Police Force (KPSM) held a meeting with the management of the Harbor, Ministry TEATT (Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications) and the Department of Economic Licenses in connection with the future operations of the Police Mobile Center which is now placed at the Harbor and cruise Facilities.

The points that were covered by the participants were:

  1. Personnel who will be manning the Mobile Center.
  2. Operation strategies of the personnel working out of the Command Center
  3. Gypsies and other illegal transport that operate in the area of the Harbor
  4. Coordination of the Taxi, Tour, and Groups.
  5. New Licenses for public transportation (Moratorium)

These departments vowed to work together towards achieving closer cooperation between the KPSM the Ministry of TEATT and Department of Economic Licenses and, to operate more effectively and efficiently in carrying out their parallel tasks in the area of the Cruise Facilities.

The next coordination meeting will be held in the next few weeks again with all the stakeholders. At that meeting the implementation and operational face will be discussed with all the partners. (KPSM)

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