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Continuation Central Committee meeting of Parliament with the shareholder representative of P.J.I.A.

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The House of Parliament will sit in a Central Committee meeting on March 5, 2021.

The Central Committee meeting which was adjourned on February 24, 2021 will be reconvened on Friday at 10.00 hrs. at the House of Parliament. The Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication will be in attendance.

The agenda points are:

  1. Update on the reconstruction project at the airport terminal and the operational projections for 2021
  2. Structural composition of the company’s hierarchy and the reasons for the various supervisory boards, and the protection of assets of the country by removing the assets presently at PJIAE and place them correctly at PJIAH (IS/230/2020-2021 dated December 7, 2020)

This meeting was requested by MP C.A. Buncamper, MP G.S. Heyliger-Marten, MP R. Brison, MP A.E. Arrindell, MP C.T. Emmanuel.

Due to measures taken to mitigate the coronavirus (COVID-19), the House of Parliament is only allowing persons with an appointment to enter the Parliament building.

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

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Women face jail for dating website con, victims handed over €412,000

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Two women from Utrecht should be given jail terms for conning four vulnerable men out of a total of €418,000 after pretending to be their love interest, the public prosecution department told a court on Tuesday.

The 32-year-old woman approached the men – usually older and divorced – via dating websites and once contact had been established, began to spin tales about her financial difficulties.

The other woman, in reality her mother-in-law, played other parts in the story, including that of the friend and debt relief councillor. Once the victims transferred money to ‘keep their girlfriend out of prison’, the older woman withdrew the cash, and all contact was broken.

The public prosecutor said the younger woman, who has earlier convictions for fraud, should be jailed for 30 months. The older woman faces 25 months, 12 suspended. The court will rule in two weeks.

(DutchNews)

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Justice Committee of Parliament to meet with the Minister of Justice regarding Immigration on Wednesday

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Justice Committee of Parliament will meet on March 3, 2021. The Committee meeting is scheduled for Wednesday at 9.00 hrs. at the House of Parliament. The Minister of Justice will be in attendance.

The agenda point is:

Discussion with the Minister of Justice regarding Immigration:
- Immigration Border and Protection
- Border Protection Project
- Protocol
- Residence Permit Guidelines (IS/448/2020-2021 dated February 25, 2021)

Due to measures taken to mitigate the coronavirus (COVID-19), the House of Parliament is only allowing persons with an appointment to enter the Parliament building.

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

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Urgent Central Committee meeting of Parliament about discussion on the Country Reform Packages Priorities and Objective Measures 2021

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The House of Parliament will sit in a Central Committee meeting on Monday, March 1, 2021.

The Committee meeting is scheduled for 14.00 hrs. at the House of Parliament. The Minister of General Affairs will be in attendance.

The agenda point is:

Discussion on the Country Reform Packages Priorities and Objective Measures 2021 (IS/437/2020-2021 dated February 24, 2021)

Due to measures taken to mitigate the coronavirus (COVID-19), the House of Parliament is only allowing persons with an appointment to enter the Parliament building.

The parliamentary sessions will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 115, via SXM GOV radio FM 107.9, via Pearl Radio FM 98.1, the audio via the internet www.sxmparliament.org,

www.pearlfmradio.sx and Parliament’s Facebook page: Parliament of Sint Maarten

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VMT is aware of “Snowbird/Vaccination Tourists” issue. Working on solution to filter them out

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – The Vaccination Management Team (VMT) took notice of the issue which is circulating on social media since last Friday of persons, who presumably are not residing on the island, trying to register to receive the COVID-19 vaccine on Sint Maarten.

The registration process is currently aimed at making the vaccination available for all residents of Sint Maarten including those that reside in the country undocumented.

This group is estimated to be around a third of the population on the Dutch side. So, without including this group, it will be impossible to reach herd immunity and stop the spread of the virus. Therefore, any form of Identification (ID) is currently required when registering, not specifically a Sint Maarten ID.

However, the VMT has taken note of instances where tourists or so-called “snowbirds’’, specifically plan to come to Sint Maarten to receive the vaccine.

The Ministry of Public Health, Social Development & Labour (Ministry VSA) wants to be clear that the COVID-19 vaccines are not intended for these groups, but are reserved for persons who reside on Sint Maarten for at least six months or have a Sint Maarten ID.

The VMT is currently working on a solution to filter these ''vaccination tourists & snowbirds'' out of the registration database and will update the public on possible changes in the registration procedures shortly.

Lastly, the VMT wants to encourage everyone who's residing on Sint Maarten to register for the vaccine. Almost 5.000 have registered already, but we will need approximately 40.000 residents to be vaccinated to realize herd immunity. We are incredibly privileged to have the opportunity to get this vaccine, as they are extremely scarce all over the world. The fact that people from other countries are trying to get it here is a good example of that.

The VMT encourages you to protect yourself and play your part in protecting the most vulnerable in our communities. Vaccination is at this point is one of the best preventive options to return to normalcy. To once more allow tourists to return to our island will ultimately lead to economic recovery.

If you haven't done so already, please register using the online registration link which can be found on the Government of Sint Maarten website vaccination information page, or via a paper-based registration form, which can be picked up at various locations and dropped off at the Collective Prevention Service (CPS) offices or one of the assigned Vaccination Administration Locations.

If you have not done so already, please register for the vaccine (also if you are under 60 years) by using the online link: https://forms.sintmaartengov.org/form.aspx?v=OGtn05kNmb which is now also available in Spanish and Creole.

You can also use the paper-based “COVID Vaccine Registration Form” which can be picked up at several locations, including CPS at the Vineyard Office Park Building, the Division of Labor Affairs at the Simpson Bay Public Service Center in Simpson Bay, Doctors’ offices, the Government Administration Building, and select pharmacies.

St. Maarten protected together.

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Further expansion of support for entrepreneurs

SABA/SINT EUSTATIUS - Entrepreneurs in the Caribbean Netherlands will soon be able to submit a new application for a contribution towards their fixed costs from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate (EZK). The amount of this fourth EZK Compensation can vary between $ 425 and $ 400,000. In addition, the most affected entrepreneurs can submit a request for a flexibilization in the use of the Emergency Regulation for wage costs of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment (SZW).

Fourth EZK Compensation

The EZK Compensation is for entrepreneurs who have difficulties bearing their fixed costs due to the corona crisis. For the fourth compensation, the turnover figures for October, November and December 2020 are compared with the turnover figures for the same months in 2019. The reimbursement factor will be higher than it was for the previous compensation from EZK; it was 0.75 and now becomes 0.85. This means that entrepreneurs can now claim a higher compensation amount than in the previous period for an equal percentage of decrease in turnover.

As soon as the regulation is published in the Government Gazette, expected at the beginning of March, applications can be submitted via an application form. The conditions and working method remain the same as for the third EZK Compensation.

Flexibilization of the Emergency Regulation

The support for wage costs from SZW will continue mostly unchanged until the 13th of July 2021. An exception applies from the 1st of March for companies that are most affected by the corona crisis. They are allowed to deploy 25 percent of the working hours of their employees, while they continue to receive the wage cost subsidy for these hours. The flexibilization is intended to allow for a faster start-up when the tourist flow gets back on track and helps to keep employees fit for work.

115 companies are eligible

In order to determine which companies are most affected, a link is made with the EZK Compensation. Only companies that already make use of the Emergency Regulation of SZW and whose application for the third EZK Compensation (period July to September 2020) shows that they are dealing with a loss of turnover of at least 50 percent, can request the flexibilization. It concerns 115 companies on Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius. Agreements with regard to this exception have been made in consultation with employers' organizations.

Submit a request

To apply for the flexibilization, companies must submit a request to the SZW-unit of RCN. After written agreement the employer may determine, in consultation with the employees, how and which 25 percent of the working hours will be deployed. This may be changed during the term of the flexibilization. Only employees for whom wage cost subsidy is already provided can be accommodated within the 25 percent.

All conditions and additional information about the support regulations can be found on http://www.rijksdienstcn.com/covid-19 (under Government Emergency Package). Here you will also find the necessary application forms. For urgent questions, you can contact the SZW-unit of RCN via 781-5554 (Bonaire), 790-0052 (St. Eustatius) and 416-3804 (Saba). For your application for the EZK Compensation, you can also contact the support desk of the Chamber of Commerce via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

(RCN Caribbean Netherlands)

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Continuation Central Committee meeting of Parliament concerning National ordinance to amend the National ordinance public health incorporating the Regulation 2019-nCoV

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The House of Parliament will sit in a Central Committee meeting on February 26, 2021. The Central Committee meeting which was adjourned on February 16, 2021 will be reconvened on Friday at 10.00 hrs. The Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor will be in attendance.

The agenda point is:

Ontwerp Landsverordening houdende wijziging van de Landsverordening publieke gezondheid tot incorporatie van de Regeling 2019-nCoV (Zittingsjaar 2020-2021-143) (IS/387/2020-2021 d.d. 8 februari 2021)

National ordinance to amend the National ordinance public health incorporating the Regulation 2019-nCoV (Parliamentary year 2020-2021-143)

Due to measures taken to mitigate the coronavirus (COVID-19), the House of Parliament is only allowing persons with an appointment to enter the Parliament building.

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

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Minister Samuel signs School Repair Program Agreement

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - On Monday, February 22nd, the Director of the National Recovery Bureau (NRPB) Claret Connor, the Honorable Minister in charge of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport (ECYS), drs. Rodolphe Samuel and the Director of Windward Roads Infrastructure (WWRI), Pierre Montesant, signed the school repair program agreement.

The document, which now paves the way for repairs to commence at three of the island’s schools damaged during the passage of hurricane Irma on Wednesday, September 6th, 2017, took place Monday afternoon at the Government Building on Pond Island. The three schools are Leonald Conner School, Sr. Regina School and St. Joseph School. Under the World Bank Trust Fund, nineteen schools have been identified for repair works.

The repairs agreement document outlines the obligations and responsibilities of the works that is to be executed by Windward Roads.

Representatives of Ministry- ECYS together with Ministry of VROMI and the project team at NRPB were present on Monday to witness the signing.

“I would like to say thank you to both the team of NRBP and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport for this part of the journey,” the Minister of ECYS, drs. Samuel said, adding that I know it is not easy and while I am signing this document, I am definitely thinking about the other schools that also need to be repaired.

Minister Samuel also signed as a witness, the works contract between NRPB and the main contractor, Windward Roads for the rehabilitation of the schools. This document was officially inked by the Director of the National Programme Bureau (NRPB), Claret Connor and the Director of Windward Roads Infrastructure (WWRI), Pierre Montesant.

“This brings us to the first step of steps to come. This is for the first three schools, as we work towards progressing to the list of schools that is to be repaired,” the Director of NRPB Connor noted. He further added that they are looking forward to quality work to be executed in a timely manner and those children that use the schools will have a facility that they will be all proud of.  

“The School Repairs activity, as part of the Emergency Recovery Project 1, focuses on ensuring that schools are watertight, more hurricane resilient and safe to use under regular conditions. The scope of works will include mold and asbestos assessment and removal/ remediation, roof repairs, fencing, electrical work, plumbing, replacing of broken windows and doors, and the installation of hurricane shutters. Should any structural issues be found during inspections or works, these will also be included to ensure a safe school environment,” NRPB said in a released statement on February 8th.

Leonald Conner School management team will continue to communicate with parents/guardians on the school relocation plans. In addition, an engagement session will be organized by NRPB to connect virtually with the teachers, parents and guardians to share information of the repairs works at the school and allow questions and concerns from parents to be addressed.

Finally,” I want to say Thank you to the Management, support staff, teachers, parents/guardians and students l for their patience and understanding during the long process of finally reaching this goal.”

We look forward for the repair works to start and that doors to be opened once again, welcoming all students, teachers and management back to the property in the very near future.

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Continuation Central Committee meeting of Parliament with the shareholder representative of P.J.I.A.

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The House of Parliament will sit in a Central Committee meeting on February 24, 2021.

The Central Committee meeting which was adjourned on February 15, 2021 will be reconvened on Wednesday at 14.00 hrs. at the House of Parliament. The Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication will be in attendance.

The agenda points are:

  1. Update on the reconstruction project at the airport terminal and the operational projections for 2021
  2. Structural composition of the company’s hierarchy and the reasons for the various supervisory boards, and the protection of assets of the country by removing the assets presently at PJIAE and place them correctly at PJIAH (IS/230/2020-2021 dated December 7, 2020)

This meeting was requested by MP C.A. Buncamper, MP G.S. Heyliger-Marten, MP R. Brison, MP A.E. Arrindell, MP C.T. Emmanuel.

Due to measures taken to mitigate the coronavirus (COVID-19), the House of Parliament is only allowing persons with an appointment to enter the Parliament building.

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

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Dutch fishmongers flout labeling rules, fish origins often unclear

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Some 99% of Dutch fishmongers are flouting the rules on sustainability labelling and information, consumer organisation Consumentenbond has found.

Only one of the 97 fishmongers checked displayed cards with all the regulatory information, including the type of fish, provenance and whether the fish is wild or farmed.

The rest either gave no or partial information, the Consumentenbond said. Information on sustainability given by fishmongers in answer to questions on the spot also turned out to be wrong or incomplete.

This makes it almost impossible for consumers to make an informed choice about which fish to buy, the organisation said. Three quarters of the fishmongers who had no information on display said they preferred to give customers product information themselves.

Half claimed customers don’t read the information on cards and labels anyway and 19% said putting labels was too time consuming and that the information often changed. However, 70% of fishmongers said customers frequently asked them about the origins of the fish on sale.

A survey among customers showed that 44% has no idea whether the fish they are buying is from a sustainable source or not. Some 45% said they would be more inclined to buy more sustainable fish if the information was clear to see and the price remained the same.

Supermarkets make it easier to buy fish from sustainable sources because the products they sell carry labels such as MSC, ASC and EU-biologisch, the consumers lobby said.

(DutchNews)

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