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EU nationals account for almost half of new immigrants to the Netherlands

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The number of people moving to the Netherlands outstripped the number of people leaving by 81,000 last year, according to new figures from national statistics agency CBS.

In total, 235,000 people, almost half of whom came from another EU country, moved to the Netherlands in 2017, while 154,000 people left. Refugees who had been given residency permits accounted for some 27,000 of the total number of new arrivals.

The CBS says there has been a structural rise in the number of both immigrants and emigrants since World War II but that many migrants do not stay long in the Netherlands.

‘Since 2012, 70% of the people leaving the Netherlands were immigrants while the rest were born in the Netherlands,’ the CBS said. ‘The Dutch economy is booming, and this is attracting people,’ migration history professor Leo Lucassen told the Volkskrant.

‘The higher education sector is also attracting a lot of foreign students.’ (DutchNews)

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InselAir Moves Toward the Future with New Distribution Capabilities from JR Technologies

SINT MAARTEN/CURACAO - Curacao-based InselAir has become one of the first airlines in the world to actively begin the process of moving into the future of the airline industry by transitioning to the next generation of airline systems provided by Dublin-based JR Technologies.

The New Distribution Capabilities (NDC) initiative from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) began in 2012 when IATA member airlines unanimously approved Resolution 787, setting forth the process of modernizing the airline industry by replacing the technical standards of core airline systems that have been in place since the 1960’s.

“What we achieve in being able to move toward the IATA NDC business models through JR Technologies’ complete NDC solution will greatly impact not only our airline, but the entire industry, by using modern technology to simplify business processes that have been required by airlines for 50 years and by being able to see our customers as customers, not simply as a passenger on an airplane,” says Lars de Brabander, President of InselAir.

“Not only has technology been completely reinvented several times in the half-century since the current airline standards come into being, but today’s customer is not the same as yesterday’s customer. Our customers today expect and deserve to be treated as individuals throughout the entire travel experience, from sale to flight, from door to door, which just is not possible with the required processes of the legacy systems.”

IATA has set an industry goal of having twenty percent of all global airline sales through NDC by 2020. George Khairallah, CEO of JR Technologies, agrees. “In 2010, when IATA and the entire airline industry moved to electronic tickets and removed all paper ticketing from the process, it was a move in the right direction.

“However, the industry still maintained all the business processes, and the limitations of paper, as if the paper tickets were still there. Resolution 787 was a statement by the industry in one unified voice that recognized change was needed. NDC has a positive effect on the customer. It allows an airline to offer a completely customized travel experience.

“By simplifying the business processes needed to serve the customer, NDC airlines can become more efficient and automated, which significantly reduces overall costs.” Both InselAir and JR Technologies have been deeply involved in the creation of the new airline standards though participation in IATA.

“Our participation within the IATA standards creation has allowed us to use the InselAir-sponsored pilot over the past three years to verify that the industry was on the right track and to make suggestions for changes and improvement to the benefit of everyone,” says Khairallah.

De Brabander, who has been involved in the company since 2017 and was recently appointed to lead InselAir, has been impressed with the role that the small Caribbean airline has had in the global initiative.

“Within the IATA organization, all airlines have an equal vote, so the size of the airline does not matter, just the participation. InselAir’s position within the top levels of IATA, such being elected to the Passenger Services Conference Steering Committee as the Area 1 delegate since 2015, representing all IATA airlines in the western hemisphere with the exception of the US and Canada, as well as participating in and chairing several groups and committees, means that InselAir’s opinion is heard on behalf of all smaller airlines to create industry solutions and practices that benefit everyone, not just the major carriers. This ability to influence our regulated industry is one of the many reasons we became an IATA member airline.”

JR Technologies’ NDC platform has been powering InselAir’s internet bookings since September 2018 and has proven that the technology of tomorrow works. Over the coming weeks, more advanced functionality will be added to both the core NDC system, as well as the internet portal.

De Brabander explains, “NDC offers the possibility of a major product transformation for our passengers, not only through our website, but also through any sales point that connects to the NDC system, including travel agencies and other travel services providers.

“The biggest benefit of NDC is that it allows customers to have the exact same level of options and customization that will be available on our website (fly-inselair.com) through any channel that they prefer to book through, including their travel agent once the agent is also connected to NDC.

“This is the future of air travel and we are excited that InselAir is one of the first to be capable of this! The JR Technologies solutions allow us to be flexible and responsive to our customers’ needs and wants for their travel experience, including products and services not directly related to their air travel, which will come through our recently announced ‘Customer Choice’ initiative.”

Insel Air International B.V. (InselAir) is an IATA-member scheduled passenger airline based in Willemstad, Curacao. Founded in 2006, InselAir offers flights throughout the Caribbean.

JR Technologies Ireland (JR Technologies) was founded in 2015 and is an IATA Strategic Partner headquartered in Dublin, Ireland with offices in Athens and Chania, Greece. JR Technologies’ focus is in providing NDC solutions and business consultation for airlines, travel agents, and corporate travel offices throughout the world as the industry transitions to the next generation. 

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Two suspects arrested for fighting in public

PHILIPSBURG - Detectives are presently investigating a case involving two men identified with initials R.N.R. (29) and J.A.A. (24) who were involved in a very serious fist fight on the public in street in front Quiznos restaurant located on the N. Debrot Street, police said in a report on Thursday.

A police bike patrol was sent to the scene to investigate the situation after receiving several calls of the ongoing incident.

On the arrival of the investigating officers they encountered both men who were bleeding from wounds they received during this fight. Both men were separated by the investigating officers who took control of the situation, according to the police report.

The reason for the fight could not be established at the moment however, both suspects were arrested and taken to the police station in Philipsburg and turned over to the detective department for further investigation.

Both suspects were treated at the Philipsburg Police Station by the paramedics and were detained for questioning. (Sint Maarten Police Force)

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Cft: About time that Curaçao addresses sustainable public finances

SINT MAARTEN/CURACAO - Considerable effort has been made to balance the 2018 budget, however the multi-year budgetary problem of Curaçao still is reason for concern. The country does not yet have its financial management in order. Cft has therefore agreed with the government on how to achieve sustainable public finances.

Based on documents provided by Curaçao (budget amendment and execution report), the Cft stated earlier that the 2018 budget no longer met the standards laid down in the Kingdom Act on financial supervision. In the process during which both sides are heard (hoor en wederhoor), the Minister of Finance presented additional measures and submitted new information.

The Cft concluded nevertheless that there are still uncertainties about the claim on state-owned UTS, the risks surrounding Sehos and HNO and the fact that - more generally - ad hoc measures cannot solve the structural financial problems of the country.

An important prerequisite is that the financial management is brought up to standard and kept that way. Without proper financial management, an orderly budget process is not attainable.

The (ultimate) proof is the timely adoption of the financial statements with an unqualified auditors' report. It has been agreed that the government of Curaçao will ensure that this will be the case with the 2021 financial statements. A roadmap will be developed and adopted for the next two years.

The implementation of said roadmap will be made possible by rapidly and drastically strengthening the financial column of the government apparatus. Furthermore, agreements have been made about better levying and collecting taxes, and about tax reform.

Raymond Gradus, chairman of the Cft: “Strengthening the economy of Curaçao mainly requires private investments. Private investors want to reduce their risks and be able to rely on the stability and quality of the civil service and government administration. A necessary condition for this is solid management of public finances.”

About the agreements made he states: “It is now up to the government to implement these decisively and energetically. As Cft we will follow this meticulously.” The Cft will inform the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom about the measures taken by the government and the agreements made with the Cft.

During its visit to Curaçao, Cft met with the Governor, the Council of Ministers, the Minister of Finance, the financial committee of the States, the ministerial director and supervisor (Ministeriële Regisseur en Toezichthouder) for the new hospital, the management of the central bank and the management of the refinery.

It was the first visit of the new Cft members Henk Kamp (on behalf of the Netherlands) and Russell Voges (on behalf of Sint Maarten). The other members to form part of the Board are chairman Raymond Gradus and Gregory Damoen (on behalf of Curaçao).

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SCDF reminds public that Registration closes November 1

PHILIPSBURG - The St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) on Wednesday reminded the general public that registration for all aspects of Carnival is closing on November 1.

The foundation opened registration in May of this year for Carnival 2019, the 50th anniversary of St. Maarten Carnival, giving the public six months to register.

The foundation explained that all registration takes place online via the Carnival website at www.sxm-carnival.com. Registration is open for bands, troupes, calypsonians, roadmarch contenders and season passes.

“We urge everyone to register to participate in Carnival 2019 and to avoid any misunderstandings. Registration is the first step in participating. Once the registration process is closed, there will be no extensions,” the SCDF said.  

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CC1 St. Maarten contributes beverages for several Breast Cancer Awareness activities

SINT MAARTEN (CAY HILL) - Once again CC1 St. Maarten has collaborated with the Elektralyets and Positive Foundation to bring several activities alive for the Breast Cancer Awareness month, such as the opening Parade that took place October 5th, and the upcoming events Motorworld Car Care, Paint it Pink at Kooyman, Celebrity Waiter at Emilio’s, Moonlight Meditation and finally the Pink Phit Phabulous Walkathon on October 28th.

CC1 St. Maarten is the major sponsor of beverages for events this Pink Month with the Elektralyets and Positive Foundations. There will be Cosmos and strawberry Mojito station together with Tequila Rose sampling and Dasani Sparkling water tastings to ensure that the attendees have a great time while being part of this community awareness initiative.

Breast Cancer does not only affect the diagnosed patient but their husbands, the coworkers and their family members and our community. This is the reason why it is important for the business sector to continue their support towards bringing and spreading awareness via the right channels. 

The Elektralyets and Positive Foundation is highly appreciative for the continued dedication and support that CC1 has extended to the cause and the foundations over the last decade. We look forward to their continued support in aiding the foundations with their Feelit, Find it, Fight it Breast Awareness Campaigns for the future.

Staying hydrated at the various events, activities and workshops is extremely important and we are happy that CC1 supports us in every way to help all participants quench their thirst and enjoy a nice cocktail.

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Minister Johnson endorses Nature Foundation call to use Coral Reef Safe Sunscreen

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) – Sunscreens used to protect yourself when sunbathing, that contain UV-filter oxybenzone, are bad for the destination’s coral, according to information released by the St. Maarten Nature Foundation.

The Nature Foundation therefore, is asking all tour operators, residents and water sports users to use and promote reef safe sunscreens.

The Nature Foundation says that a number of studies have shown that sunscreen and certain individual components of sunscreen can have negative effects on corals and other marine organisms.

The foundation adds that the chemical UV filter oxybenzone has been studied most intensively and negative effects have been described such as bleaching of corals, damage and deformation of coral larvae and damage to the DNA of corals and their reproductive success.

Some local businesses are already moving to reef safe sunscreens.

“Our coral reefs are part of the national economy. The dive sector contributes significantly to the Gross Domestic Product of the country on an annual basis, and therefore, we must take measures to protect our reefs from any negative impacts.

“Our visitors come to enjoy our natural environment, our beaches, below and above the water, and much more. I endorse the call made by the Nature Foundation about using coral safe sunscreen.

“We are custodians of our natural environment for future generations and must contribute to the protection and not destruction of our environment.

“I also appeal to water-oriented tourism businesses as well as the populace to use and promote the use of coral reef safe sunscreens.

“This practice must start at home and become a daily chore. At the same time, I commend those businesses who have taken the lead to sell reef safe sunscreens.

“We need innovative business thinking to drive our economy forward in an environmentally and sustainable manner during the phase of building back better,” Minister of Tourism & Economic Affairs Stuart Johnson said on Tuesday.

The St. Maarten Nature Foundation recommends tour operators and residents to follow several steps in order to reduce the impacts of sunscreens on our reefs: please avoid sunscreens with oxybenzone, use sunscreens with a combination of zinc and titanium, use lotions not sprays, apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before entering the water and avoid sunscreen factors above 50.

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Communities reminded to prevent mosquito breeding sites after weekend of heavy rainfall

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY, DCOMM) – The Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a government department under the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, is advising communities after this past weekend’s heavy rainfall to be proactive and regularly check their yards and be on alert for potential mosquito breeding sites and eliminate them.

The Aedes Aegypti mosquito is distinguished by its markings such as alternate black and white horizontal stripes. However, it is only the female vector Aedes Aegypti mosquito that spreads mosquito borne diseases.

Vectors are small organisms that carry serious diseases. Just one bite from an infected mosquito can be a threat to our way of living.

The Aedes Aegypti mosquito lays her eggs in clear (clean) stagnant water. Within eight days the mosquito can complete its life cycle from egg, to larvae to pupae and to adult mosquito.

Actively and properly dispose of 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.

Empty and turn over containers that hold water; remove debris from rain gutters and downspouts regularly; drain or fill low places on your property where water collects and stands for more than five to seven days; make sure permanent water containers in your yard are tightly covered and insect-proof; screen off the cistern’s outlets properly with mesh wire.

Cover trash containers/garbage cans to keep rainwater from accumulating; drain old tires by recycling them; keep boats and canoes/kayaks drained, covered or overturned, empty or covered unused swimming pools.

It is very important to check around your yard at home or around your business to make sure there is no clear/clean standing water after a rain event in order to prevent mosquito breeding sites. All residents are advised to remove all potential mosquito breeding sites in order to reduce the mosquito population.

Keep Sint Maarten mosquito-free and avoid mosquito bites.

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CPS: Monday is Global Handwashing Day. Clean hands – a recipe for health

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY, DCOMM) – 15 October marks Global Handwashing Day.  The theme is “Clean hands – a recipe for health!”

In 2017, more than 500 million people promoted the simple, life-saving act of handwashing with soap on Global Handwashing Day.

The day was founded by the Global Handwashing Partnership (GHP) in 2008 to help communities, advocates, and leaders spread the word about handwashing with soap, according to GHP.

The day has been dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding about the importance of handwashing with soap as an effective and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives.

To reach this goal, handwashing must be practiced at key times, such as before preparing food or eating, after using the toilet or sneezing.  Behavior change is essential for making handwashing a habit.

The Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department from the Sint Maarten Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, says that handwashing with soap is one of the most important public health interventions in the world.

GHP says the 2018 theme emphasizes the linkages between handwashing and food. “Handwashing is an important part of keeping food safe, preventing diseases, and helping children grow strong.

“Yet, handwashing is not practiced as consistently or as thoroughly as it should be. Diarrheal disease limits the body’s ability to absorb nutrition from food and is a major cause of death in low resource settings. Handwashing with soap is an effective way to prevent these losses.

“Critical food-related times for handwashing with soap include: before cooking or preparing food, before eating, and before feeding someone (including breastfeeding).

“The contamination of food can lead to a wide range of illnesses and outbreaks, many of which are particularly dangerous for young children and people with compromised immune systems,” according to GHP.

Handwashing with soap is among the most effective and inexpensive ways to prevent these diseases. This simple behavior can save lives, cutting diarrhea by almost one-half and acute respiratory infections by nearly one-quarter.

Handwashing with soap impacts not just health and nutrition, but also education, economics, and equity.

The observations and creating awareness of the annual theme is part of CPSs annual calendar of health observances.

Many infections start when hands are contaminated with disease-causing bacteria and viruses. This can happen after using the toilet, changing a child’s diaper, coughing, sneezing, touching other people’s hands, and touching other contaminated surfaces.

Handwashing with soap works by removing bacteria and viruses from hands before they get a chance to cause infections or spread to other people. This is why cleaning hands with soap, particularly after contact with fecal material from using the toilet or cleaning a child’s bottom, is so important.

For more information, you can call CPS 542-1322, 1122, 1222 or 542-1570.

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New Activities for All Ages at Migratory Bird Festival

SINT MAARTEN/ST. MARTIN (FRENCH QUARTER) - Despite the rain, over 150 guests of all ages found fun new ways to learn about birds at the Migratory Bird Festival on Saturday. Created by an all-volunteer team from the Les Fruits de Mer association, this year’s festival took place at Amuseum Naturalis at The Old House in French Quarter.

“This was our sixth Migratory Bird Festival, so we created a lot of new activities to keep it fresh,” explained Les Fruits de Mer President Jenn Yerkes. “You could listen to bird sounds and measure yourself compared to local birds. People loved decorating their own bird tote bags and playing Bird Bingo in the gardens.”

The Migratory Bird Festival celebrates the birds that travel thousands of miles each year to live in St. Martin. They connect this tiny island to the rest of the Americas. The festival also highlights the things these birds need to survive.

At the Portable Pond, guests could see aquatic insects and other creatures that many migratory birds eat. The Habitat Scavenger Hunt sent kids looking for food, shelter and other things that birds depend on.

“This was our first Migratory Bird Festival at Amuseum Naturalis at The Old House,” commented Les Fruits de Mer co-founder Mark Yokoyama. “It was the perfect place, with lots of indoor and outdoor space to explore. Many people from French Quarter came to the festival, and we want to keep building the connection between the town and the Amuseum.”

The 2018 Migratory Bird Festival was made possible by a team of 20 wonderful volunteers. The festival was free thanks to the support of its sponsors: L’Auberge Gourmand, BZSE, Coalys, Delta Petroleum, ECOFIP, Frigodom, IZI LIGHT, Lagoonies, Pelikaan Brewery, St. Martin’s Sweetness and SXM Logistics.

To see highlights from the festival, visit http://lesfruitsdemer.com or find Les Fruits de Mer on Facebook.

Coppers

Kids find aquatic creatures in historic boiling coppers.

Microscope

Everyone got an up-close look at aquatic creatures at the Portable Pond.

Volunteers 3

The Migratory Bird Festival team is all volunteers.

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