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Several departments from Ministry VSA Closes at Noon on Friday

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – Several departments within the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA), will close at 12 noon on Friday, October 19.

The closure is in connection with an extended staff meeting.

The departments that will close at 12 noon are: Inspectorate; Public Health, Social Development & Labour; Collective Prevention Service; Baby Clinic; Community Development, Family & Humanitarian Affairs Department; Social Services & Labour Department.

Ministry VSA apologizes to the public for any inconvenience that this may cause.

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Cft: Bonaire is not adequately implementing legislation, threat of escalation ensues

BONAIRE - The Board of financial supervision Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (Cft) has called on both the Executive Council and the Island Council to demonstrate more decisiveness.

The Cft has been stating for some time now that on too many levels Bonaire is not complying with the legal standards. In addition, agreements made with the public entity have repeatedly not been fulfilled at all or not in an adequate manner. "If this situation does not improve, an advice for an instruction will become unavoidable", according to the Cft chairman Raymond Gradus.

During its visit on Tuesday, October 16, the Board met with the Lieutenant Governor, the Executive Council, the Island Council and the acting Kingdom Representative.

A working visit was also made to the Belastingdienst Caribisch Nederland (Dutch Caribbean Tax Authorities) where the Board received, amongst others, an explanation of the collection of government taxes on Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba.

An intense conversation was held with the members of the Executive Council. The Cft has once again voiced its concerns about the quality of the financial management, which is strongly lagging behind. In the meeting with the Executive Council, the Board indicated that according to the applicable legislation the agreements regarding the improvement plan for financial management should be further formalized.

The current improvement plan for financial management must be refined and expanded by adequately applying the auditor’s recommendations for the 2017 financial statements.

If the Cft does not see sufficient progress in this process and in the implementation of the adapted plan, then an escalation by means of an advice to the State Secretary of Interior and Kingdom Relations to proceed with an instruction will become inevitable. The Cft has called on the Executive Council to prevent this.

The concerns about the budget and accountability cycle have also been discussed. For example, the 2019 budget and the 2017 annual accounts, for which the Executive Council had requested postponement until the end of September, have still not been submitted to the Cft. As a result, Bonaire does not comply with the deadlines laid down in the Public Finance Act of Bonaire, Sint-Eustatius and Saba (FinBES Act).

This visit was also the first visit of Mr. H.G.J. (Henk) Kamp. As of July 1st Mr., Kamp has succeeded Mrs. S.M. (Sybilla) Dekker as a member of the Cft upon the recommendation of the Netherlands. As of July 1st, 2018 the Cft BES consists of chairman Raymond Gradus, member upon the recommendation of the BES Herbert Domacassé and member upon the recommendation of the Netherlands Henk Kamp.

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2018 Price rise on Bonaire and Saba higher than on Statia

SABA/ST. EUSTATIUS - In Q3 2018, consumer prices on Bonaire were 3.5 percent higher than one year previously. Prices also rose on St Eustatius and Saba, by 1.1 and by 4.4 percent year-on-year respectively. This is reported by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) on the basis of the consumer price index (CPI).

Prices further up on Saba

In Q3, consumer prices on Saba were 4.4 percent up on the previous year; this was still 3.2 percent in the previous quarter. Food products and toiletries became more expensive in particular. In addition, the price of electricity also rose on Saba: by over 10 percent year-on-year. Clothing items, on the other hand, went down in price.

Consumer prices on Statia 1.1 percent up

In Q3, consumer prices on St Eustatius rose by 1.1 percent year-on-year, against 1.2 percent in Q2. The lower prices of food products in particular, e.g. fresh fruit and potatoes, diluted the effect of the consumer price increase. On the other hand, the price development of electricity had an upward effect on St Eustatius as well.

Bonaire consumer prices up by 3.5 percent

On Bonaire, the price increase was 3.5 percent in Q3, versus 3.0 percent in Q2. Consumer prices rose more rapidly mainly due to electricity prices rising by 18 percent on average relative to the previous year. In Q2 2018, this was still 6 percent. The price of petrol went up by nearly 17 percent on an annual basis.

Not all prices rose on Bonaire. For example, fresh fruit and fresh vegetables became cheaper than one year previously.

Provisional figures

Figures referring to Q3 2018 are provisional and will be definite upon publication of the figures over Q4 2018.

Source: StatLine: Caribbean Netherlands

https://opendata.cbs.nl/#/CBS/en/dataset/84046ENG/table?dl=ED27

Adjustment of figures

The index figures for the series 2017=100 have been adjusted for Bonaire and St Eustatius. The figures for Saba remain unchanged. The adjustments follow a correction to the changed base year.

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Caribbean Nationals Victorious in ARIN Elections

SINT MAARTEN/CARIBBEAN - Three Caribbean candidates—Peter Harrison, Alicia Trotman and Kerrie-Ann Richards—have been elected to leadership roles at the American Registry of Internet Numbers (ARIN).

ARIN is one of five Internet registries worldwide that coordinate the distribution and administration of number resources. The registry serves the United States, Canada and several territories in the Caribbean. 

“The Caribbean should be very proud of the achievement of Peter, Alicia and Kerrie-Ann in the ARIN elections. They are all highly qualified to serve, each possessing both the technical knowledge and firm grasp of the unique dynamics of the ARIN community in the Caribbean. I expect they will make a positive impact on ARIN, its diverse community and more broadly on development of the Internet in the region,” said Bevil Wooding, Caribbean Outreach Liaison at ARIN.

“I am grateful to the ARIN community for showing faith in my ability to help guide the organisation in this time of great change. All the candidates were strong and worthy of consideration. I truly look forward to working with the community,” said Jamaican-born Harrison, who was elected to serve on the ARIN board of trustees. 

Harrison is the chief technical officer and co-founder of Silicon Valley-based colocation services provider Colovore. He has more than 20 years of industry experience, including senior roles at Google, Netflix and eBay. 

Jamaican-born Richards and Barbadian-born Trotman were re-elected to serve on the ARIN advisory council. 

“It's an honour to be elected to serve for a three-year term. It validates the appreciation of the work and Caribbean perspective that Kerrie and myself contribute to the advisory council,” Trotman said.

In 2017, Richards and Trotman became the first women from the Caribbean to be appointed to serve on the council. This year, the successful election run of Harrison, Richards and Trotman has again made history. The three are not only the first Caribbean persons, but also the first persons of African-descent elected to seats on the ARIN board or advisory council since the registry was founded on April 18, 1997. 

“I'm honoured that the community chose me to continue to serve in this role. Last year, I said yes with slight nervousness. This year, I said yes with full knowledge of the work at hand. I accept the task with deep gratitude. I do hope that more persons from the Caribbean will see this type of service as possible when they see Peter, Alicia and myself,” Richards said.

Haitian-born Michael Arbrouet and Louie Lee (Google Fibre) vied for one seat on the Number Resource Organisation Number Council (NRO NC), an elected body that serves as the advisory council for the Address Supporting Organisation of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). 

Lee was re-elected to the NRO NC, Paul Andersen (EGATE Networks) was re-elected to the board, while Robert Seastrom (ByteGrid) and Amy Potter were re-elected to the council. Kathleen Hunter (Comcast) was also elected to the council.

All elected candidates will serve a three-year term, starting January 1, 2019.

Voting opened on October 4 after candidates had the opportunity to address ARIN members at ARIN’s public policy meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia. Voting closed on October 12.

“ARIN wishes to congratulate those elected to serve on the ARIN Board of Trustees, ARIN Advisory Council, and the Number Resource Organisation Number Council,” John Curran, President and CEO of ARIN, said in an October 15 post to the ARIN website. BY GERARD BEST

Kerrie Ann Richards ARIN 1

Kerrie-Ann Richards

Peter Harrison ARIN 2

Peter Harrison

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Gasoline and Diesel Prices to be adjusted on Thursday

PHILIPSBURG – On Thursday, October 18, fuel pump prices will be adjusted for gasoline and diesel. 

The current price of unleaded gasoline is Naf.2.088 per liter, will be adjusted to the new price of Naf.2.177 per liter.

The current price of diesel is Naf.1.748 per liter, will be adjusted to the new price of Naf.1.816 per liter.

The Government of Sint Maarten regulates the prices of petroleum products by imposing a maximum price at which wholesalers and retailers can sell these products in the country to motorists.

At the international level, the prices of crude oil have experienced adjustments and local prices follow the international trend, and therefore prices are adjusted to reflect this. 

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Port St. Maarten continues to bolster its Hub Position in North eastern Caribbean

PORT ST. MAARTEN – Port St. Maarten Management attended the Caribbean Shipping Association (CSA) 48th Annual General Meeting Conference & Exhibition (AGM). The CSA is considered the voice of the Caribbean shipping industry.

The AGM was an opportunity to share expertise and ideas and to promote the latest developments and innovations from across the world of shipping.

Port St. Maarten Management officials said on Monday that one of the main topics of discussion at the conference was the continued influence on digitalization of Ports to better adapt and for true efficient cargo handling. This is in line with Port St. Maarten’s Port Community System (PCS).

The PCS involves data-sharing among stakeholders and third parties covering cargo and cruise operations at the country’s sea-port of entry.

PCS is an extension of Port St. Maarten’s Terminal Operating System that would further enhance the port’s operational excellence platform linking for example cargo/container manifest to an incoming/outgoing vessel to warehouse/storage handling and receiver pick-up.  

“Port St. Maarten continues to be a positive topic as it relates to transshipment cargo within the region. We are continuing being looked at as the premier hub. Expectations are that we will close the year with a about 20% increase in transshipment volume.

“Local imports continue to show very positive vital signs as the economy continues to recover and we expect that this recovery will move at a faster pace in 2019 and 2020. We have already experienced a whopping 26% positive increase for the year 2018 versus last year.

“The positive increases that we have been experiencing in business could not have happened if the Port and stakeholders post Irma didn’t take swift action to ensure Port St. Maarten regained its competitive edge. This was realized via key investments within port infrastructure and equipment being made.

“Port St. Maarten current operational percentage is 96% with a continued steady pace of repairs, it is expected to reach full operational percentage within short,” Port St. Maarten Management said on Tuesday.

The 48th CSA AGM took place in Panama from October 8-10. This year the host was Manzanillo International Terminal (MIT). Conference delegates spent a day traveling the world-famous canal to their facility.

CSA AGM brought together a specialist audience of shipping experts from academia, industry, government, and service providers of shipping and maritime products and services.

Another key topic discussed at the conference was 4IR, or the fourth industrial revolution, which emphasized on the importance of ports focusing on technology to enhance their business operations.

At the opening ceremony of the conference, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Caribbean Maritime University and the International Maritime University of Panama was signed. The partnership emerged from discussions held during the First Meeting of the Jamaica/Panama Joint Commission for Cooperation, which was first convened in June 2018.

This MOU relationship would allow for advanced training, the further development and exploration of environmentally friendly practices, digitalization of maritime shipping and institutional cooperation for capacity building.

CSA was established in 1971 to facilitate development of an efficient, viable Caribbean shipping industry. Since then, the Association has become the voice of the region's shipping industry and a major regional forum in which matters relevant to the growth and development of Caribbean shipping are discussed.

The CSA represents its membership in relevant regional hemispheric groupings, associations and organizations - governmental, multilateral and private sector; and maintains Observer status with leading Caribbean multilateral bodies CARICOM and the Association of Caribbean States.

Caribbean Shipping Association represents private and public sector interests across the entire Caribbean area, including South, Central and North American ports; in all four major language groups - English, French, Spanish, and Dutch. The CSA uses English as its official language.

CSA membership includes 12 national shipping associations and over 100 individual member entities, including port authorities, terminal operators, shipping agents, shipping lines, tug and salvage companies, consultants, freight forwarders, leasing companies and others.

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Mentally ill man steals car and mistreats security officer at Mental Health Facility

CAY HILL/DUTCH QUARTER - Early Saturday morning October 13th a man on his first visit to the Mental Health Foundation ill-treated the security officer on duty, broke into the office and stole the car belonging to the foundation and fled the scene. The police department was immediately informed of what had taken place, police said in a report on Monday.

When the police saw the suspect driving the car on the street they attempted to stop him, however he increased the speed of the vehicle and tried to escape the police.

A chase of the suspect with the stolen vehicle continued into Dutch Quarter area where the suspect could not go any further and was arrested by police.

He was taken to the Philipsburg Police Station where he will be held for mistreatment and further investigation. (Sint Maarten Police Force)

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St. Dominic High School Organizes Information Evening on Wednesday about IB

REWARD - The St.  Dominic High School will have an information evening on the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme on Wednesday October 17 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. 

Interested students in Form 4 and the examination classes along with their parents are invited to learn more about this internationally recognized pre-university programme. 

Information will be available explaining the subject prerequisites and the application process.  Come and meet two students from the IB Class of 2019 who will share why enrolling in the IB Diploma Programme at St. Dominic High School is not only making them better students, but better individuals. 

Get insight into the research process of the 4,000-word Extended Essay, the importance of learning outside the classroom with Creativity, Activity, Service and how we know what we claim to know in Theory of Knowledge.

St. Dominic High stands with over 3,182 schools offering the DP, in 153 different countries worldwide. It is also the first government subsidized school in the Caribbean authorized by the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) to offer the Diploma Programme for students aged 16 to 19.

The IBO collaborates with schools, governments and international organizations in the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia to develop and offer challenging programmes of international education and rigorous assessment in order to achieve its mission of developing inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.

Students who are interested in the journey associated with learning, want to create opportunities for themselves, are driven to be successful and desire a more challenging curriculum that encourages them to think critically, to become internationally-minded, to reflect on their learning, and to develop university ready research skills are welcome to attend this information evening on Wednesday, October 17 at 7 p.m. in room 13 at St. Dominic High School.

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Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset reads at schools

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – In recognition of Rotary’s Basic Education and Literacy Month, observed during the month of September, members of the Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset volunteered to read to the students at various schools on both Dutch and French side of the island, in efforts to promote education and literacy, one of Rotary’s key area of focus.

The campaign was carried out throughout the month of September, whereby members visited the schools and read for 20-30 minutes. As a club with the motto, “Service above Self” we thought it to be vital to be examples and encourage students to read more often in and outside of the classroom.

The students were appreciative and excited about the reading sessions. As a club, we would like to encourage the general population to join in, do their part, by reading to their child or children, and volunteer at the schools, when possible.

The club would like to thank friends of the Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset Paula Gordon and Trent Webster for volunteering through the club to read at the schools as well as the school boards, schools, managements and teachers for allowing the members to volunteer.

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SCDF producing coloring book of Carnival icons for 50th Anniversary

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) will produce a children’s coloring book for Carnival 2019 as one of the many projects to mark the 50th Anniversary of Carnival.

The foundation is actively trying to re-vive the youth participation and interest in cultural aspects of Carnival and has chosen to start with the children at the elementary school level.

President of the SCDF Alston Lourens said the coloring book will feature about 15 pages of Carnival icons and things typical to Carnival. Well known Carnival artists and other stakeholders will be depicted as well as Carnival trucks, something representative of the pageants and more.

He said the book will be distributed free of charge to children and all drawings is being done by local tattoo artist Christford Shillingford of Inkorporated.

“The coloring book will not just be pictures to color. We will also include basic information about each person and thing included in the coloring book. It is important they not only color a picture of Pa Ben (for example) but also learn about how and why he was important to Carnival and St. Maarten,” Lourens said.

“This is just one of the projects the community can look forward to for Carnival 50. Moving forward the SCDF will place a lot of focus on getting young people positively involved in Carnival on all levels.

“We are using Carnival 50 to start this important endeavor and we hope we can get the cooperation of the community for other youth related projects in particular when they are directly involved positively and culturally,” Lourens said.

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