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WIB delivers first week of goods collected for Dominica -Time to Help…Week # 2

PHILIPSBURG - The Windward Islands Bank staff team were very pleased to deliver to the Dominica Disaster Relief Committee of St. Maarten our first week’s collection of items gathered during our Food and Clothing drive.

We thank those of our clients who went out of their way to bring goods during our food and clothing drive.  WIB will continue with week # 2 in order to fully support those in need in Dominica. 

Items which can be dropped off are; non-perishable foods, water, bed sheets, bath towels, clothing and toiletries, in the marked boxes at WIB’s Main Office branch and  now also at WIB  Simpson Bay branch.

WIB would hereby like to thank the community and its’ staff for assisting.

“The Windward Island Bank Ltd., your partners in progress cares for the people of Dominica”

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Pan-American Life Shares FATCA Best Practices with Local Insurance Association Members

WILLEMSTAD, Curacao - Pan-American Life Insurance Company of Curaçao and Sint Maarten, a member of Pan-American Life Insurance Group (PALIG), facilitated a discussion yesterday with other members of the local insurance association about the practical implications of the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) which was introduced in July 2014.

“Although FATCA is a federal law of the United States, it impacts financial service providers, such as insurance companies, on an international scale,” explained Valery Sinot, Pan-American Life’s General Manager for the Dutch Caribbean. “Pan-American Life operates in 21 markets outside of the United States so there was a need for us to develop a comprehensive strategy for incorporating FATCA’s requirements into our daily business activities.”

In the case of the insurance industry, FATCA requires that insurance companies report, to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), general information about certain cash value polices or annuities held by U.S. taxpayers. Most policy owners in the Dutch Caribbean who are foreign nationals will not be overly impacted by this legistation although they will be required to provide documentation supporting their status as a non U.S. citizen or resident.

As a result, local insurers will be assessing the need for changes to their operations and underwriting processes in order to faciliate compliance with FATCA. “We wanted to share the experience that we had adapting our business to be compliant with this legislation,” explained Martine van Oorsouw-Hofhuis, Pan-American Life’s Curaçao based Regional Counsel and Compliance Officer. “It is part of our wider commitment to compliance, and to being an active and responsible corporate citizen in all the markets where we do business.”

For more information about FATCA and how it impacts policy owners, you can visit Pan-American Life’s website at palig.com/curacao and click on the FATCA link.

About Pan-American Life

The Pan-American Life Insurance Group is a leading provider of insurance and financial services throughout the Americas. New Orleans-based Pan-American Life Insurance Company, the Group's flagship member, has been delivering trusted financial services since 1911, employing more than 1,500 worldwide, providing top-rated life, accident and health insurance, employee benefits and financial services in 47 states, the District of Columbia (DC), Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Group’s member companies offer individual and/or group life, accident and health insurance throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. The Group has branches and affiliates in Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, and 13 Caribbean markets, including Barbados, Cayman Islands, Curacao and Trinidad and Tobago. For more information, visit the Pan-American Life Web site at palig.com, follow us on Twitter @PanAmericanLife, and connect with us on LinkedIn at Pan-American Life Insurance Group.

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Immigration Border Protection Service making strides in the fight against Human Trafficking

PHILIPSBURG - Tuesday August 25, 2015, the Immigration and Border Protection (IBP) Service more specifically the National Reporting Bureau on Human Trafficking (NRB) is making strides in the fight against human trafficking by proactively informing and educating every sector of the community about their bureau’s core tasks and the role we all play in combating Human Trafficking. In addition, the bureau takes pride in publishing the results received from the Department of State in the TIP Report.

 

 

The National Reporting Bureau on Human Trafficking (NRB) is the executing agency for prevention and protection of victims of Human Trafficking. After approving the policy on “Temporary residency”, by the Minister of Justice; victims are empowered and are being encouraged to assist in the investigation and prosecution of the offenders of human trafficking. Presently, the National Reporting Bureau on Human Trafficking (NRB) is focused on launching the “Human trafficking and smuggling” awareness campaign.

 

 

The goal is to inform civil society and other stakeholders about the serious issue of human trafficking and smuggling. Periodically the NRB strategically organizes information sessions for the representatives of the immigrants, with the business community and the tourism sector. It provides information about indicators of Human Trafficking and also about it’s’ core tasks, to the incoming immigrant and domestic workers, and those working in the adult entertainment industry, who collect their residence permits at the IBP office.

 

 

In addition, the NRB makes it a priority to consciously inform immigrant workers of their legal rights and how to report a possible case of human trafficking, it also develops special folders for “Prostitution & Exploitation” and Labor & Exploitation” with information regarding combating exploitation to distribute to these workers.

 

Not to mention, the quarterly visits the NRB pays to all the local brothels and dance clubs, to cautiously inform them about the core tasks of the NRB and how to contact them to report a possible human trafficking case. The NRB is working diligently to facilitate the flow of communication during these visits by ensuring that there are NRB personnel who speak multiple languages, this is to ensure that the quality of the message remains intact even when being translated. And by specifically organizing a separate info session, the NRB assures that information is certainly provided to the club owners, to ensure their awareness of the core tasks of the NRB and also strictly remind them about the rules and regulations they are required to comply with.

 

 

The NRB remains extremely focused on achieving its’ main goal which is bring global awareness to the community at large, this also includes those on the frontlines who may be at one point or another  direct contact with potential victim of Human Trafficking.

 

 

These personnel in the following sectors; Immigration Officers at the different Border points, the Mobile Control Unit and also to the first responders entities like; ambulance, community police, the family doctors and the SMMC personnel.   It also works closely with the non-governmental organizations like Anti-Trafficking in Persons (ATIP) and Safe Haven where victims can be housed and sheltered. Since the establishment of the NRB in September 2013, this bureau has received several reports of possible cases of Human Trafficking. Those reports were all alleged cases of labor exploitation.


Each TIP Report narrative contains specific recommendations for a government to consider implementing over the coming year.  In addition to the country-specific recommendations within the TIP Report narrative, the Department of State is providing our government with a short suggested action plan that reflects these recommendations.

 

Both the action plan and accompanying recommendations are aimed at providing countries with guidance related to the minimum standards outlined in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act; these standards are generally consistent with the standards set forth in the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (the “Palermo Protocol”).

 

 In closing, the report confirmed that the Government of Sint Maarten by means of the NRB is certainly complying with  the minimum required standards, by identifying that “Total Awareness” is “The Key” to beginning to combat this  global problem of “Human Trafficking”. The Department of State commended Sint Maarten on the positive results it  has attained and encourages it to maintain this standard by continuing to advance and work in a focused, strategic,  and very proactive manner.

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State Secretary Dijksma presents Silver Quality Coast Award flag on Saba

WINDWARDSIDE, Saba - Monday afternoon State Secretary of Economic Affairs, Sharon Dijksma, presented the Silver Quality Coast Award flag in front of the Saba Tourist office in Windwardside. She was accompanied by Island Governor Jonathan Johnson, Kingdom Representative Gilbert Isabella, and Director of the tourist office, Glenn Holm and the staff of the tourist office. 

"Saban may be proud with this recognition because it is the evidence of hard work that is carried out by several organizations and individuals on the field of nature protection, tourism and culture," says Dijksma. This week the State Secretary is on a working visit in the Caribbean Netherlands. 

The Silver Quality Coast Award is an award developed by the Coastal and Marine Union (EUCC). This is a part of the so-called Green Deal for sustainable tourism that is executed from November 2014 till December 2016. 

The aim of this initiative is to promote the sustainability of destinations. This must be achieved by developing a joint vision on the way in which the sustainability of destinations and developing processes and resources are considered. 

The development of processes and funds is also taken into consideration, in order to measure the sustainability of the destinations and to make it demonstrable. Saba is one of the destinations of these pilot Green Deal. 

Green Deal is a collaboration between The Netherlands and the United Kingdom to reinforce each other on individual efforts, especially in priority areas as sustainable energy, nature management, sustainable tourism and waste policy. On these policy areas a number of concrete cooperation projects is stated and these will be further concretized this fall in London. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)

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Nation to observe Caribbean Wellness Day under the regional theme: Healthy Lifestyle, Healthy Ageing

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – Preparations are well underway by the Department of Collective Prevention Service (CPS), a department in the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, to observe Caribbean Wellness Day (CWD) which will be observed on September 12 throughout the Caribbean Basin and on Sint Maarten.

The local theme that CWD 2015 will be held under is: Age Active…U 2 Can Move!”

The activities for CWD 2015 are being organized as a collaboration between the While and Yellow Cross Foundation (WYCF), the Windward Islands Physical Therapy Association (WIPTA) and CPS.

CWD takes places on the second Saturday in the month of September.  It is an annual event geared at increasing awareness and promoting activities to address the epidemic of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which continues to severely impact the health, economy and development the Region.

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries recognized the threat posed by NCDs, in The Declaration of Port of Spain.  It outlined key strategies to prevent, control and reduce NCDs through the life course.  This includes the need to increase physical activity in the entire population, especially in the workplace.

The Caribbean region has one of the highest rates of obesity in children and adults in the world.  This can be attributed in part, to poor diets and a lack of physical activity, driven by profound changes in the way we live and play, with massive marketing of foods high in sugar, fats and salt; as well as several hours per day spent watching TV and playing video games. 

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Parliament not fully utilizing the forum of its committees to debate matters

GREAT BAY – Leader of the Democratic Party (DP) of the parliamentary faction headed by Member of Parliament (MP) Hon. Sarah Wescot-Williams, says: “It was a progressive step when the parliament of St. Maarten in its wisdom decided to keep meetings of the parliamentary committees open.

“However, by not calling meetings of these committees as often as is possible and desirable, the purpose of these committees is defeated. The work of these committees is to a large extent determined by the members of parliament who chair these committees.

“Members can ask for topics to be tabled, but there are no regulations that these meetings must be held. Something I believe needs to change.  I am still awaiting a meeting of the Finance Committee of Parliament, I requested in June, to be called, to discuss the 2013 annual reports of the government companies.

“MP Frans Richardson chairs this committee. The past week I have asked the Chairperson of the Health Committee of Parliament  (MP Cornelius de Weever) to convene a meeting of this committee to discuss: SMMC and the status of its upgrades and the financing thereof; Changes to the medical insurance laws and expanded coverage for vulnerable groups, such as the elderly; Changes to the Civil Code with respect to labor contracts and maternity leave; “Ley de Bion”; and Pension age increase;” DP Leader MP Sarah Wescot-Williams said in a press release disseminated to the media on Sunday.

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UPDATED: TROPICAL STORM ERIKA RELATED NOTICES

PHILIPSBURG - The Philipsburg Jubilee Library would like to request a radio announcement to say that it is closedtomorrowThursday August 27th. The library will re-open on Friday, August 28th, at 9:00 am.

Postal Services St. Maarten (PSS) closure for passage of Tropical Storm Erika 

PHILIPSBURG - Postal Services St. Maarten (PSS) hereby reminds the general public in keeping with the rule of business closure by the Honourable Prime Minister Marcel Gumbs that closure of operations will only be on Thursday, 27th August, 2015. 

Management of PSS hopes to resume normally on Friday with operations and working hours resuming at 7:30am to 4:30pm. 

The Supervisory Board and the Management team wishes the general public a safe passage of Tropical Storm Erika. 

 

INFORMATION SESSION:

Breaking the Silence: Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect” Session Postponed

The information session entitled, “Breaking the Silence: Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect” that was scheduled for today Wednesday, August 26th, 2015 at the Belvedere Community Center has been postponed until further notice due to the imminent arrival of tropical storm Erika.

 

 

COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE:

The Court of First Instance station St. Maarten hereby would like to inform the public of the following: The Courthouse will be closed on Thursday, August 27th, 2015.

All court session scheduled for Thursday, August 27th, 2015 is postponed until further notice. If you may have any questions please contact Ms. Shulaika Gustina at The Courthouse (tel. 54-66114 - fax 54-25451). 

Mrs. Leona Patrick-Gibbs, Registrar

August 26th, 2015

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VO 65 Team Brunel to race during the 2016 St. Maarten Heineken Regatta

SIMPSON BAY/AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands - This past week hundreds of thousands of residents and visitors flocked in droves to the shores of IJhaven in Amsterdam to see over 600 ships come into port as part of SAIL Amsterdam, an event takes place once every five years.

One of the boats on the water was none other than Team Brunel, 2nd place winner of the 2014-2015 Volvo Ocean Race. It was here that campaign director of Team Brunel-Sailing Holland announced the Caribbean tour for the VO 65 Team Brunel. Skipper Bouwe Bekking was also on-hand for the celebrations, together with his team, and is looking towards the future.

"We hope that all of you will join us in the next race 2017-18. In the mean time we will keep on sailing this boat here in Europe and this winter in the Caribbean" Bekking stated.

The VO 65 will be based out of St. Maarten, where the Sint Maarten Yacht Club will host several activities. This stunning piece of technology will be able to be seen by all when it is on its mooring in the Simpson Bay Lagoon, and will be on display at the Yacht Club dock on the Wednesday leading up to the 36th St. Maarten Heineken Regatta. Team Brunel will race in the Gill Commodores Cup as well as the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta. The regatta organization has added a special Former Volvo-Whitbread class in which Team Brunel will be entered. 

First on the agenda is to sail the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) which will take them from Gran Canaria to St. Lucia, some 2700 nautical miles. From there they will head to St. Maarten to set up base and will take part in several other Caribbean races. In between racing the boat is available for charter, giving sailors a chance to feel what it is like to sail aboard this racing machine that took 2nd place in this past Volvo Ocean Race. Skipper Bouwe Bekking was very excited to visit St. Maarten once again, "I have very good experiences with the Friendly Island and I am looking forward to sail in the warm waters again."

During the announcement at SAIL, Bekking and bowman & co-skipper Gerd-Jan Poortman received a Sint Maarten Yacht Club Burgee and a St. Maarten Heineken Regatta 1st Place flag.  Poortman, regarding the flag, stated "This might be somewhat premature for us but we will try and win the new and exciting class of course". Sailors Jens Dolmer, Louis Balcean and Stefan Coppers were also in attendance. They will sail on the boat in the Caribbean whenever they are able to combine it into their busy schedules.

Regatta director Michelle van der Werff is pleased with this announcement, she mentioned "We are of course thrilled to welcome Team Brunel to race during the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta and we are very pleased that they have chosen St. Maarten as their home base for the winter season. It goes to show that these boats are comfortable here in the Caribbean and we look forward to welcoming more of the Volvo Ocean boats to our event and the region."

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Saba/Statia: Labour Inspectorate to meet with construction sector in November

BONAIRE (Caribbean Netherlands) - In the autumn of 2015, the Labour Inspectorate will check extensively in construction. On Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015, the Labour Inspectorate organizes a briefing on safety and health in construction work, at Kooyman on Kaya Korona. This meeting is primarily intended to talk with employers about how and when the Labour Inspectorate will check, when it comes to working safely and healthily. 

For whom?

Not only employers but also employees are invited to attend this meeting; After all, to work in a safe and healthy manner is in everyone's interest. This could include the foremen and other executives.

What can you expect?

First, the Labour Inspectorate will explain what is checked. It concerns issues such as the organization of safe and healthy work, safe working at heights, personal protective equipment and various health risks. Besides the contribution of the Labour Inspectorate, companies from the construction and aviation area will give information about how different things are already organized. Furthermore, various suppliers and consultants in the field of health and safety at work, will display their latest products and services.

The entry in Kooyman, at Kaya Korona, on Tuesday, September 22nd, is at 4.00 PM with a snack and a drink, followed by the official ceremony starting at 4.30 PM after which there is the opportunity to talk informally with your fellow companies and to network over drinks from 7.30 PM.  

Given the organization and catering, registration is necessary.

You can register via the following link: www.bouw2015.questionpro.com

In November 2015 similar meetings will take place on Saba and St. Eustatius. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)

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Rebroadcast of funeral service for Sergeant Gamali Benjamin set for August 22

PHILIPSBUG - The Department of Communication (DCOMM) will rebroadcast the funeral services of Sergeant Gamali Benjamin, who was laid to rest on Thursday, August 13th in the presence of thousands of mourners including his family, friends and colleagues from the Ministry of Justice and in general from the Government Civil Service Core of Sint Maarten.

For those persons who could not attend or who did not see the entire service, DCOMM has made arrangements to rebroadcast the Funeral services on the two local TV Networks as follows: TV Carib (WTN Cable channel 10) from 2.00 pm to 5.30 pm and on SXM Cable TV, channel 120 at 7 pm to 10:30 pm.

Both of these events will be aired on Saturday, August 22nd.

The TV special of the funeral service will also be available online via YouTube/Government of Sint Maarten.

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