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Plenary Public meeting of Parliament about Question hour related to the sale of UTS

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – The House of Parliament will sit in a Plenary Public session on Monday, January 20, 2020.

The Public session is scheduled for 10.00 - 11.00 hrs. in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelminastraat #1 in Philipsburg. The Minister of Finance will be present.

The agenda point is:

Question hour: Questions from MP S.A. Wescot-Williams directed to the Minister of Finance related to sale of UTS (IS/281/2019-2020 dated November 12, 2019)

Members of the public are invited to the House of Parliament to attend parliamentary deliberations. 

The House of Parliament is located across from the Court House in Philipsburg.

The parliamentary session will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 115, via SXM GOV radio FM 107.9, via Pearl Radio FM 98.1 www.pearlfmradio.sxvia the internet www.sxmparliament.organd Parliament’s Facebook page: Parliament of Sint Maarten

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D-Boat drifts away in Simpson Bay due to bad weather

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - Last Sunday it was reported to JRCC by the police dispatch center that a vessel was approaching dangerously close to an apartment in Beacon Hill, the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard (DCCG) reported in a statement on Thursday.

“The boat later was confirmed to be DBoat that went a-drift due to strong winds and rough seas in the Simpson Bay area. The vessel drifted away from its mooring in Simpson Bay and came to stop aground perched the rocks in Simpson Bay in front of an apartment complex.

“Unfortunately, the towing operation of the vessel could not be executed due to the continuing bad weather with lots of rain. The Coast Guard is in close contact with the shipping authority who continues to monitor the area near the location where the boat lay aground in order to ensure that changing circumstances can be identified.

“At the moment DBoat does not present any danger to marine traffic or the environment. The owners are currently in the process of removing boat. A towing company will be executing as soon as the weather calms down,” the DCCG statement concludes.

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CPS: Prevent mosquito breeding sites due to recent rainfall events. Prevention is the Cure

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – The Collective Preventive Services (CPS), a government department under the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, is calling on the community to check their yards and businesses in search of potential mosquito breeding sites due to the recent rainfall events – standing water.

Breeding sites include anywhere that water can settle. This includes tin cans, old tires, empty paint cans, buckets, old saucers, flowerpots, cemetery urns/vase, old pet dishes, unused plastic swimming pools or other containers that collect and hold water.

In addition, owners of boats whether at home or in boatyards for repair, need to make sure that they are properly covered; tire repair shops and garages also need to take preventive measures to get rid of old tires and vehicles, as these can collect rainwater and become a breeding ground for mosquitoes’. The same applies to contractors and owners of properties being repaired.

Every household and business must do its part to eliminate Aedes Aegypti mosquito breeding sites and keep the country mosquito-free.

Once again it is very important to check around your yard and your business to make sure there is no standing water after rain. Install mosquito screens in windows and doors and store rainwater in well-covered tanks.

The public is also advised to wear light-colored, loose fitting clothing during outdoor activities, as mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors. When practical, wear long-sleeves and pants when going outdoors i.o. to decrease the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes.

To report mosquito breeding sites or to request information about eliminating mosquito breeding sites, contact the Coordinator of the Vector Program by sending an email to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 542-1570, 542-1122 or call the hotline: 520-2874.

Keep Sint Maarten mosquito-free. Prevention is the Cure.

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Alice and Lionel Romney African Diaspora Collection on Display at the Library

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Mrs. Mary Romney-Schaab and Mr. Philip Schaab are longtime friends of the Philipsburg Jubilee Library (PJL), the PJL said in a media statement on Thursday.

“Mrs. Mary Romney-Schaab is born and raised in the United States, but her parents and ancestors are from Sint Maarten. In 2012 the couple started to donate books to the library that can fill in the gap in our collective knowledge about the African diaspora and about African diaspora people.

“Over time, the collection became so extensive that the library decided to call it the ‘Alice and Lionel Romney African diaspora collection’, named after the parents of Mrs. Mary Romney.

“Luckily, the whole collection was saved after the hurricanes Irma and Maria and is on display in the library again.

“This year, she is finalizing her own book about her father’s experiences during World War II. The book is titled: ‘An African Caribbean in the NAZI Era – From Papiamentu to German’.

“The book describes his experiences as a political prisoner of war in Italy and during the last year of the war in Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria. She will present her book during the Black History month this February at the library. Once again, the library applauds its foreign ambassadors.”

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Minister Slob proud of education in Caribbean Netherlands

SABA/ST. EUSTATIUS - Minister Arie Slob (Primary and Secondary Education & Media) visited Saba, St. Eustatius and Bonaire from Monday January 13th to Wednesday January 15th. This visit was mainly about getting acquainted with the education field on the three islands. In addition to speaking to various school managements, the minister has also had conversations with numerous students.

“I am happy with the warm welcome. It is great to see the people involved work with so much passion and effort on the education and development of children on Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius. All education has their basic quality in order, which is a great achievement. It is now important to hold on to this and to continue building on it," according to the Minister.

On Wednesday afternoon, Minister Slob and Commissioner Nina den Heyer signed the second educational accommodation covenant for Bonaire. Under the first covenant, signed in 2012, a number of school buildings have been radically renovated. A new accommodation has also been built for the Liseo Boneriano (mavo, havo and vwo) of the Bonaire Scholengemeenschap (SGB) and for Kolegio Papa Cornes (primary education).

The second covenant that has now been signed establishes, among other things, the agreements for new accommodation to be built for the MBO and VMBO section of the SGB, for De Pelikaan (primary school) and for renovation of the housing of Kolegio Kristu Bon Wardador (primary school). New here is that the activities on Bonaire will be executed by the Fundashon Propiedat Inmobil Bonaire, under the responsibility of the public entity Bonaire. Until recently, the Central Government Real Estate Agency (Rijksvastgoedbedrijf, RVB) was responsible for the management of the various projects on behalf of the public entities and the Ministry.

In the period of 2012 through 2019, various school buildings were renovated on Saba and St. Eustatius as well and a new school was built on St. Eustatius for the Governor de Graaff School (primary education). This was directed by the RVB. New covenants for the remaining education housing projects have also been signed with the public entities of Saba and Statia. On Saba, in addition to extensive renovations and new construction for the Sacred Heart Elementary School and the Saba Comprehensive School, a new complex will be created for pre-school and after-school care. On St. Eustatius, work is currently underway on a new school complex for the Gwendoline van Putten School and an upgrade of the outside area of the recently renovated Seventh Day Adventist School for primary education. 

Minister Slob: “I am proud of the agreements on educational accommodation that we have made with each other. This gives confidence to continue working for the future, in which we will continue our cooperation to further improve education on the islands, in the interest of all children.” (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)

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38 potential clients and nine contractors for Home Repair Program. Deadline to Register is Friday

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – The Ministry of Public Health, Social Development & Labor (VSA), held a series of “Information & Registration” sessions from January 4–9, 2020 at the various Community Help Desks.

Participants at the sessions had the distinct opportunity to engage in discussions with the Honourable Minister of VSA, Mrs. Pamela Gordon-Carty.

In her remarks, the Minister addressed the multi challenges that many families are still facing, as result of the 2017 hurricanes. As such, she made use of this platform, a community-based approach, to gather relevant information and to also engage in discussions with community members, as it pertains to how far they are with the repair of their homes and to inquire about other relevant social challenges that residents are faced with and to what extent they are coping with such.

In addition, the Minister expressed her desire to see a reduction in the unemployment total, as it pertains to particularly skill workers.

A practical approach is envisioned, as local contractors are encouraged, when and where possible, to make use of skilled persons from within their own communities when a fair opportunity is granted to them in participating in the rebuilding process.

A total of 38 potential clients and nine contractors have registered, thus, far to participate in the program. Interested persons are hereby informed to register as soon as possible, at your nearest Community Help Desk, as the registration process will be halted upcoming Friday January 17, 2020.

The social and technical assessment will then resume right after the closing of the registration process and then the actual implementation of the home repair will follow.

Collaboration with other organizations will continue being sought on various level, as is the case now with NRPB and Red Cross, in order to reach a wider cross section of the community in the quest of assisting families and individuals in the ongoing recovery process.

This home repair program is financed by the Government of St. Maarten, namely the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development & Labour (VSA), and executed by the department of Community Development, Family & Humanitarian Affairs.

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SDA School St. Eustatius happy with renewed accommodation

SINT EUSTATIUS - The Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) School on St. Eustatius organized a festive gathering last Sunday around the official opening of the new and renovated school buildings.

The highlight of the gathering was the cutting of the opening ribbon by Gerene Joseph (SDA education director for the North Caribbean region) and group 8 student Syesha Pemberton. They did this in the presence of deputy government commissioner Mervyn Stegers, local education stakeholders and various dignitaries from the regional SDA organization.

Because the school grew out of its shell, a new wing including four new classrooms, was built on the left side of the terrain. The old school buildings were drastically renovated: the constructions are made earthquake and hurricane resistant and roofs, panels, window frames and ceilings have been replaced. Furthermore, plumbing facilities and tile work have been renewed. In front a new fence was placed and both the new and the renovated spaces are equipped with new climate control service (ventilation and air-conditioning with CO2 measurement). 

“This school is an example of what a school should look like according to the SDA church”, Dr. Gandalai Samlalsingh (president of SDA Stewardship for the Northern Caribbean region) stated during his speech. On behalf of the SDA organization he expressed his gratitude to the Dutch and local government for the improvement of the school’s accommodation. 

Deputy Government Commissioner Mervyn Stegers did surprise the attendees during his speech, with the announcement that the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) will also finance an upgrade of the outdoor area. The terrain will be paved, a draining system will be constructed, and a small roof shall be placed. 

The construction of the SDA School was mostly conducted by companies from St. Eustatius.

The project was executed by construction company D&M Enterprises N.V. following a design of Pream architects (St. Martin), supervised by De Jong Construction. The technical installations were designed and realized by respectively CECC N.V. en Howard’s Enterprises N.V.

The new construction and renovation project for the SDA School is part of an educational housing program for Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius which started in 2012. This program is financed by OCW and the Public Entities. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)

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Minister Slob positive about Saba visit

SABA - Minister of Primary and Secondary Education and of Media Arie Slob left Saba on Tuesday morning, January 14, with a positive feeling.

On Monday, January 13, the Minister visited the Sacred Heart School (SHS), the Saba Comprehensive School (SCS), the Expertise Center Education Care EC2, the Queen Wilhelmina Library and the Laura Linzey Day Care Center.

“I am proud that the people in the educational field managed to raise the quality to this level. The system remains vulnerable due to the island’s small scale, but I saw very motivated people who are working really hard and who have education at heart,” he said before leaving to St. Eustatius on Tuesday morning.

The Minister mentioned the recruiting and securing of sufficient personnel, and the maintaining of quality as some of the challenges of the education sector on Saba. He said that his Ministry remained committed to supporting Saba.

Minister Slob referred to the agreement that the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) has with the Public Entity Saba regarding the school buildings. As part of that agreement, the responsibility for the upkeep and the construction of the schools was transferred to the Public Entity Saba. “The construction of a new day care and kindergarten building is being planned and the project should start soon. Saba is working on solving the issue of capacity at the day care and kindergarten,” the Minister said.

“It was good to have been here. It provided me the opportunity to speak with many teachers, students and others who work in education,” he said. This was Slob’s second visit to Saba. He visited Saba some years ago in his former role as party leader of the ChristianUnion in the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament. “It was good to be back and to talk with people in a different capacity.” Climbing the Mt. Scenery on Monday afternoon was a wonderful experience, he said.

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First social rental home from the governmental agreement delivered

BONAIRE – Dutch Minister Raymond Knops of Interior and Kingdom Relations attended the transfer of the first social rental home at Nieuw-Amsterdam today.

This is the start of a solution to the shortage of social rental housing on Bonaire. Minister Knops: "This first home is the visible result of good cooperation on the island, laying the foundation for further socio-economic development."

There is a major shortage of social rental properties on Bonaire. Agreements have therefore been made in the Governmental Agreement and the Housing Covenant regarding the construction of a total of 500 new rental properties. The property that was delivered today is part of a first tranche of 76 homes, which are being built in collaboration with the Public Entity Bonaire (OLB), Fundashon Cas Bonairiano (FCB) and the central government.

The government has made 2.5 million euros available for the required infrastructure around the rental properties. This amount is supplemented with infrastructural funds from the OLB. Minister Knops: “I look forward to the speedy delivery of the remaining 424 houses in the coming years. These homes are a huge step forward for residents with a small wallet. ”

Minister Knops is visiting the ABC islands this week. In addition to the transfer of this first social rental home, the minister had discussions this morning with the Executive Council and the Island Council. Tonight, he travels to Curaçao, for the last part of his journey. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)

Sociale huurwoning 2

 

 

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Parking lot Library to be closed for maintenance

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Philipsburg Jubilee Library (PJL) would like to inform the general public that the parking lot of the old library building will be closed for maintenance and general up-keeping, PJL said in a statement on Tuesday.

After the improvements have been finalized, the parking will become a private parking with restricted access. Any unauthorized vehicle will be towed away. The library apologizes for any inconveniences.

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