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Sint Maarten continues quest to join CARICOM

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - On Friday December 14th, a high-level delegation representing CARICOM (Caribbean Community) paid a working visit to Sint Maarten to engage in discussions to further formalize the application of Associate Membership to CARICOM by the Government of Sint Maarten.

The Honorable Secretary General Ambassador of CARICOM Irwin LaRocque led the CARICOM delegation.

Prime Minister Leona Romeo Marlin and Minister of TEATT (Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport & Telecommunications) Stuart Johnson represented the Council of Ministers during the meeting and discussed areas of mutual benefit and potential cooperation while seeking Associate Membership within CARICOM. 

CARICOM Heads of Government earlier this year mandated Secretary-General Ambassador Larocque to begin the process of negotiations with the Dutch Territories in order to better determine their expectations of Associate Membership, and what benefits the relationship could yield for the Community.

Prior coming to Sint Maarten the CARICOM delegation visited Aruba and Curacao.

The Secretary General Ambassador of CARICOM shared with the Government of Sint Maarten that Associate Membership allowed Sint Maarten access to the majority of meetings and opened the door to regional organizations such as CDEMA (Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency), Climate Change Center and CARDI (Caribbean Agricultural Development Institute).

It is worthwhile to note that Sint Maarten already benefits from its association in organizations such as the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC).

The Secretary General Ambassador of CARICOM Irwin LaRocque also paid a courtesy visit to His Excellency Governor Eugene Holiday before concluding his working visit to Sint Maarten.

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New Ombudsman of country Sint Maarten Gwendolien Mossel sworn in

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On Friday, December 14, 2018, Ms. Gwendolien E. Mossel took the oath and was sworn in as the second Ombudsman of Sint Maarten by the President of Parliament, Sarah A. Wescot-Williams. 

Based on article 2 of the National Ordinance Ombudsman, Parliament appoints an Ombudsman for a period of seven years. On November 7, 2018, the Parliament of Sint Maarten unanimously approved the appointment of Ms. Gwendolien E. Mossel as the Ombudsman for Sint Maarten effective January 1, 2019.

On January 1, 2019, Ms. Mossel will have to take up her duties as Ombudsman, hence a swearing-in ceremony was held.

Her duties as Ombudsman, as regulated by law, will include investigating, on request or of her own accord, actions taken by administrative authorities of the country and other administrative authorities designated by law.

Ms. Mossel took the oath in the presence of other Members of Parliament, the Vice-Chairlady of the Council of Advice, members of the staff of the Ombudsman Bureau, family and friends. The ceremony took place at the House of Parliament.

New Ombudsman Group High Council MPs

The new Ombudsman standing with several Members of Parliament, High Council of State Advice Council, staff from Bureau Ombudsman and staff from the Secretariat of Parliament.

Bureau Ombudsman Staff

The recently sworn in Ombudsman Mossel along with staff of Bureau Ombudsman.

 

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Jacobs calls on the General Public to rally around the Library

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - National Alliance (NA) Leader and Member of Parliament (MP) Silveria Jacobs, in a radio interview on Viewpoint on PJD3 with host Wendell Moore this past week, shared with the public that an official letter was sent to the Minister of Education Culture Youth and Sport (ECYS) Wycliff Smith, about a week ago concerning the status of the Philipsburg Jubilee Library (PJL).

Taking note of some details Minister Smith reported at the December 12th, 2018 Council of Ministers (CoM) press briefing, the PJL is said to be deemed “unsafe” and therefore the decision was taken by the Philipsburg Library Foundation (PLF), the overseer of the PJL to close the doors of the library until further notice.

Smith made mention that the Library is subsidized by the Government of St Maarten with an annual financial support of ANG 1,907,000.00. In addition, Government covers the insurance premium for the PJL in the amount of ANG 1,400,000.00 for the building and ANG 664,000.00 for the content.

The claim however for damages sustained by Hurricane Irma came in at ANG 551,707.00. The latter figures seem low to Government and as such, has hired an external adjuster to re-assess the building.

After receiving a tour of the PJL from the Project manager Piet Lucas and speaking with several board members, MP Jacobs expressed concern that the library being closed will hamper educational accessibility for those who need it the most, especially those children who do not have access to E-learning or books in the home.

MP Jacobs stated, “I highly believe the community should get more involved, being that the library has not received any initial funds from the World Bank and seemingly is not listed as a recipient from same. Furthermore, if you are not giving a child a broad base experience, you are indeed robbing that child”.

“In addition, last year when I was Minister, we agreed and had subsidized institutions on the priority list for funds from the World Bank,” Jacobs further stated. MP Jacobs commends Laser 101 for its recent radio-thon and the public for supporting to raise a substantial amount to assist the PJL to get closer to the financing needed to rebuild.

The letter to the Minister further questions what assistance is being granted by Government for the PJL to have a temporary location, prioritizing and facilitating its rebuilding as well ensuring there is some continuity in the very needed services of the library.

The recent financial woes of the Sint Maarten University (USM) also is a cause for concern for MP Jacobs. The financial reporting to government along with a signed MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) where USM received three million guilders recently, to now learn of reports that funds are running out is quite alarming.

Jacobs also queries whether the USM lived up to the agreements of the MOU with government including following recommendations of the SOAB? Has management and operations of the University been improved? An official request from MP Jacobs will be sent to the Minister of ECYS concerning USM soonest.
  

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Prime Minister Romeo-Marlin calls on community to support K1 Britannia Christmas Angels

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - On Friday afternoon December 14th, Prime Minister Leona Romeo Marlin joined the many supporters K1 Britannia by donating to their 5th annual Christmas Angels program.

“I would like to encourage as many persons as possible in the community to donate to this worthy cause and share in the Christmas spirit of giving back” said Prime Minister Romeo-Marlin.

K1 Britannia are hosting the Christmas Angels program at the entrance of the Government Building on Soualuiga Road #1, in Philipsburg from Friday December 14th until Sunday December 16th, 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.

Person that contribute to this worthy cause will be grateful to know that their funds will go towards a number of organizations on Sint Maarten including the clients of Sister Basilia Center and the boys and girls at the I Can and UJIMA foster homes.

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District Governor Patrick Adizua visits Rotary Sunset

SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) - The Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset welcomed District Governor (DG) Patrick Adizua and his wife, Lesline Adizua, to their general meeting on Monday 10, 2018.

This was the first time that the club received such an honorable visit since being chartered on July 30, 2018. One of the District Governor’s core responsibilities is to visit all clubs in the district to provide support, deliver the RI President’s message, and present an update on district goals.

During the meeting, the club’s committee chairs discussed upcoming projects and activities with the members. President of the Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset, Jaida Nisbett, reflected on the journey of the club, it’s membership and projects that was carried out since being chartered.

President Jaida also took advantage of the opportunity to discuss the goals and future plans of the club. 

DG Patrick delivered a profound message to the members, highlighting the importance of friendship and partnership. He commended the club for their persistence, gaining a strong membership base of 41 members and executing effective projects.

DG Patrick expressed his excitement for being a part of the club’s charter ceremony and installation of the charter president, board and members of the club. DG Patrick also presented Rotary International and District 7020 theme pins to all members.

Thanks to Sint Maarten Guavaberry and Laser It, President Jaida presented DG Patrick and Lesline Adizua with a beautiful customized wooden cutout of St. Martin and a customized bottle on Guavaberry rum on behalf of the club.

Amongst invited guests were District Governor Nominee Designate, Louis Wever, his wife Amanda Wever and Assistant Governor, Marcellia Henry. The night came to an end with fellowship and the opportunity for club members to capture memorable moments with DG Patrick.

The members of the Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset would like to thank DG Patrick and his wife for their visit to the club and look forward to the rest of the Rotary year 2018-2019 under their leadership.

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Del Monte Foods Announces Limited Recall of Canned Fiesta Corn Due to Under Processing

SINT MAARTEN/CARIBBEAN - Del Monte Foods Inc. announced a recall of 64,242 cases of FIESTA CORN Seasoned with Red & Green Peppers due to under-processing.

A number of locations in the Caribbean are mentioned in the recall: International locations: Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, El Salvador, Haiti, Guyana, Uruguay, Aruba, Panama, Saint Lucia, Suriname.

These deviations were part of the commercial sterilization process and could result in contamination by spoilage organisms or pathogens, which could lead to life-threatening illness if consumed. It is important to note that there have been no reports of illness associated with these products to date. No other production codes or products are affected by this recall.

The products subject to recall are 15.25-ounce (432g) cans with the following UPC number printed on the label: 24000 02770. The product will also have one of the following “Best if Used By” dates stamped on the bottom of the can:

August 14, 2021

August 15, 2021

August 16, 2021

Sept 3, 2021

Sept 4, 2021

Sept 5, 2021

Sept 6, 2021

Sept 22, 2021

Sept 23, 2021

The product was distributed to multiple distributors and retail locations in 25 states and 12 international locations.

States: Alaska, Alabama, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

If consumers have any product with the indicated UPC code and “Best if Used By” dates, they should return it to the place of purchase for a full refund or exchange. 

About Del Monte Foods, Inc.

Del Monte Foods, Inc. is one of the largest producers, distributors and marketers of premium quality, branded food products for the U.S. retail market. Our brands include Del Monte®, Contadina®, College Inn®, and S&W®.

Del Monte Foods is the U.S. subsidiary of Del Monte Pacific Limited and is not affiliated with certain other Del Monte companies around the world, including Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc., Del Monte Canada, or Del Monte Asia Pte. Ltd.

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Business Community & Organizations requested to Update Information as COCI Updates Registry

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce & Industry (COCI) Executive Director Anastacio Baker, calls on the business community, social organizations, foundations etc. to use the next two weeks and the month of January 2019 to update their information at the Chamber as COCI is in the process of updating its business trade registry.

Businesses, federations, associations, and foundations are requested to use the opportunity now to update their files at the Chamber, so everybody starts off the New Year 2019 fresh with their business registration in order.

It is very important that COCI has the latest information of all entities operating in the country and that the business trade registry is up to date.

Any changes to the shareholders lists, articles of incorporation, business address, telephone, fax, cell, website or email address, directorship, board members etc., the COCI business registry must have the most recent information related to the legal operating entity.

In the case of a business owner who has passed away, but the business is still registered as active, the Chamber request that the next of kin visit COCI in order to have the files updated to reflect this matter.

Business owners who have for whatever reason discontinued business operations – closed down - should inform COCI, so the business can be registered as inactive or closed.  This will allow the owner not having to go through the process of receiving tax assessments and having this rectified.

Some owners assume that once the physical business location is closed, they no longer have anything more to do, but that is not the case. Formalities have to be officially concluded in order to avoid any issues of fees and assessments.

Businesses and organizations/foundations are all reminded to make sure that their letterheads and receipts have their COCI registration number printed on the aforementioned as it is required by law. 

Businesses that offer a warranty for products sold are reminded that they are required to have a copy of the warranty deposited in their file at COCI.

COCI through its trade register aides in providing a secure environment for business undertakings in Sint Maarten. This entity in accordance with the stipulations of the law registers all businesses, seeking to be operational in Sint Maarten.

While this is the primary function of COCI, COCI furthermore contributes in many ways to the socio-economic development of Sint Maarten.

COCI, through its representatives on Committees or through its advisory function, undertakes to contribute effectively and actively toward initiatives aimed at creating a sustainable business environment in Sint Maarten.

The Chamber will be closed for the holiday season from December 24 to January 1.  COCI resumes its operations on January 2.

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St. Maarten Rotarians welcome District Governor

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY-AIRPORT) - On Sunday St. Maarten Rotarians welcomed Rotary District 7020 District Governor Dr. Patrick Adizua and his wife Dr. Lesline Adizua to St. Maarten, the Rotary Club of St. Maarten Mid-Isle announced on Monday in a media statement.

“The welcoming party to greet the District Governor at PJIA consisted of Assistant Governor Marcellia Henry and Rotarians from the lead club for his visit The Rotary Club of St.Maarten-Mid Isle, The Rotary Club of St. Maarten, The Rotary of Saint Martin Sunsrise and The Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset.

“This visit was organized to coincide with the visit of the Rotary International President Barry Rassin this week, who will be in SXM overnight on Wednesday for the charter ceremony of The Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset.

“While here District Governor Patrick will also visit the Rotary Clubs in Anguilla, the French side of the island and St. Barths. The District Governor will be here for six days visiting eight Rotary clubs and their Rotarians and also viewing their various projects.

“District 7020 comprises of Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Barth, St. Maarten, St Martin, The Bahamas, Turks and Caicos and U.S. Virgin Islands,” the media statement concludes.

The Rotary Club of St. Maarten-Mid Isle meets Tuesdays' at 7pm at Pineapple Pete in Simpson Bay. For more information please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit their Facebook page Rotary Club of St. Maarten-Mid Isle.

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Minister De Weever tells Youth Brigade: you are our future leaders of this country

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – Minister of Justice Cornelius de Weever delivered the following address to the St. Maarten Youth Brigade over the weekend during a graduation activity of the brigade.

“It is with great pride that I stand before these candidates of the St. Maarten Youth Brigade this afternoon, whom clearly represents the future of our country. Togetherness, the theme of this year’s graduation is indeed the only way we as citizens of this country can catapult forward, its together we can and will accomplish the tasks before us.

“As members of the St. Maarten Youth Brigade, you go through very stringent training in the form of physical exercises along with mentoring. You have been trained and mentored by the Royal Dutch Marines, where you were given lessons on team building and working together to achieve goals.

“With this training, the marines stressed the importance of listening and trusting your leaders. The Dutch Coast Guard was also very instrumental in being your mentors. In addition to this, you have attended various lectures aimed at strengthening your communication skills along with personal development.

“Overall, you have shown great interest in moving up in rank and have been an inspiration to other young people within our community, which is evident through your recruitment drive. You were able to recruit the largest group of young people ever this year. It is important to note that females form a large group of those new recruits.

“Graduates you have exhibited more than togetherness in getting to this point. You have shown good conduct, responsibility, team spirit, professionalism, reliability, commitment and leadership skills. These are all qualities of great leaders, and you are our future leaders of this country.

“Let this accomplishment be a stepping-stone for your future endeavors. St. Maarten needs you, and you are on the right track. With this said, I would like to congratulate you on your graduation from the St. Maarten Youth Brigade.”

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Dutch plan air ticket tax of €7, introduction slated for 2021

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The Dutch cabinet is planning to introduce a €7 tax charge on all air tickets, government sources have told RTL Nieuws.

Ministers had earlier considered introducing a €3.80 tax charge on European flights and €22 for intercontinental flights but that plan has been dismissed for being too complicated, RTL said on Friday.

Tax minister Menno Snel said earlier he considered it odd that flying is tax free, considering train, car and bus travel are taxed. The government hopes the introduction of a tax on flying will encourage people to use more environmentally friendly alternatives.

The proposal has now been sent to the Council of State for its recommendations and if all goes according to plan, the tax will be introduced in 2021, RTL said.

Europe-wide

Ministers would prefer the introduction of a Europe-wide tax on flying and if that becomes a reality, the Dutch tax plan will be dropped.

The Netherlands first introduced a tax on flying in July 2008, but the airline industry soon said it had encouraged Dutch passengers to use cheaper airports in Germany and Belgium and it was abolished a year later.

That flight tax added €11.25 to flights up to 2,500 km and €45 for longer journeys. The new plan also involves the introduction of higher tariffs for noisy and polluting cargo planes. (DutchNews)

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