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Frans: Ferrier admits UD misled people, still no hurricane funds

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Leader of the United St. Maarten (US) party MP Frans Richardson on Friday said Finance Minister Michael Ferrier's statement about the lack of funds from Holland as an admission that the United Democrats (UD) misled the people of St. Maarten for political purposes only and refused to stand up for them.

Richardson also added that the spin of the Dutch that St. Maarten’s progress thus far had “somehow to do with them”, is a false narrative. Credit, he says, should go fully to the people of St. Maarten.

As reported in The Daily Herald on Friday, Ferrier reportedly told the Telegraaf newspaper that having to comply with strict regulations of the World Bank, which manages the St. Maarten Reconstruction Trust Fund, for which the Dutch government has reserved 470 million euros (about US $ 580 million), is no easy task.

“We have our hands full to rebuild St. Maarten and at the same time we have to comply with the strict norms of the World Bank. We have to do everything with a small group of people. In the Netherlands they say: how come you are not ready yet, why don’t you make use of the funds? We have not been able to touch the money,” the Minister told De Telegraaf.

Richardson reminded that his party, the USP, explained over and over during the campaign that the picture the UD was painting about getting funds right away, was a false one, a lying one.

"We warned that by choosing the use the World Bank as a go-between for a supposedly equal partner in the Kingdom, would delay much needed funds for St. Maarten because St. Maarten in its cuurrent state would have major difficulties in meeting World Bank criteria," MP Richardson said.

He continued: "We warned that if the leaders of this country do not hold one head for its people to get the much talked about relief, another hurricane season would be upon us with no relief in sight. What did the UD say? They made it sound like they were the only people capable of securing the funds. Today the UD Finance Minister is throwing his hands up after criticizing the involvement of the World Bank in about two weeks ago on the floor of Parliament. Where are the funds today?"

MP Richardson said while the people of St. Maarten have not received financial relief, a few things have become clear. "Liquidity grants have become loans, the Integrity Chamber is coming out of the hurricane aid funds, we have to pay for extra police help, and only emergency funds have been made available. These are quite some accomplishments for the UD. In the meantime we are about to greet a new hurricane season," Richardson said.

The MP also noted that whenever Dutch politicians and other officials are on island, they travel with entire PR crews to make it look that St. Maarten's recovery after the hurricanes was due to Holland's intervention and help.

Richardson said on the contrary, the reconstruction of St. Maarten is due first and foremost to the hard work and resiliency of the people. He said credit goes to the banks who stepped up to offer grace periods for loans repayments and assistance at very low interest rates. Also, he added, to the various insurance companies who have made sure citizens get back on their feet.

"Let's give credit where credit is due, the reconstruction of St. Maarten and our recovery thus far is to the credit of the people of St. Maarten. The funds are still sitting at the World Bank. What you see on St. Maarten is the hard work and sweat of its people, business owners, volunteers and others. That is who should get the credit."

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Second suspect arrested linked to Philipsburg/Boardwalk break-ins

PHILIPSBURG - The police department is glad to announce that in connection with the ongoing investigation of numerous break-ins which have been taken place in the Philipsburg area and mainly the Boardwalk during the late night hours over the last two weeks a second suspect has been arrested.

This arrest was possible based on information gathered by the investigating officers involved who have worked tirelessly to capture this suspect. The suspect identified with initials J N., for whom an arrest warrant was issued, was caught in the act, while attempting to break into another business in Philipsburg. He was arrested on the spot and taken the Police Headquarters where he will remain in custody for further investigation.

Even though a second suspect is this investigation has been arrested the police will not let their guard down and will continue to be vigilant in order to capture those culprits that are responsible for break-ins not only in Philipsburg but in all areas or neighborhoods on the island.

The community should get involved calling the emergency number #911 when they see any suspicious activities in their surroundings. (Sint Maarten Police Force)

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Regina and Delano speakers at next Caribbean Aviation Meetup

SINT MAARTEN/THE BAHAMAS - On June 12-14 the 3rd annual Caribbean Aviation Meetup conference will be held at the Atlantis Resort on the Bahamas. The event is hosted by the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation of the Bahamas.

The conference concept is different and unique. Last year, when held on St. Maarten, it was named “one of the best aviation forums in this part of the world” and already has proven to be most significant conference of its kind in the Caribbean.

The emphasis of this results and solutions-oriented communication platform is on airlift. Airlift does not just refer to stakeholders in the aviation industry but also to those in the tourism industry as well as to government agencies.

The Caribbean islands are up to 85% depending on tourism revenue. Airlift is crucial for the region. Flying matters are complicated in the region with its 20 plus territories and an extensive number of different jurisdictions, and yet there is no ‘Open-Sky’.

The presentation topics are chosen for the purpose of creating opportunities and realistically improving the way the Caribbean air transportation functions and to related tourism matters. Five presentation examples from the program:

"Competitiveness through Improved Air Connectivity"

"Airlift; The Caribbean's Interstate Highway System"

"Can Caribbean Carriers Stop Losing Ground?"

"Sustainable Tourism and Airport Development are the two Sides of the Same Coin"

"Nevis island; case study on making better decisions about marketing spending, maximizing return of investment, and growing efficiently"

In total there will be thirty presentations by speakers from 13 different countries and territories. Speakers from St.Maarten are Regina LaBega, Senior Policy Advisor at the Ministry of TEATT, on cooperation between airports and tourism authorities, and Ir. Delano Richardson, Chairman of the Social Economic Counsel of St. Maarten, on the potential use of drones in the region.

The speakers are selected mainly for their expertise, not particularly for their title or position in their organisation. Together these professionals have hundreds of years of practical in the aviation industry be it at airports, airlines, or other aviation service providers.

As for those who hold a pilot license, the total of their flight hours goes in the hundreds of thousands. The value of the conference is about professionals bringing their knowledge and their active experience to the conference from which participants can learn and take action when they return home. Coming up with realistic suggestions for airlift improvements throughout the Caribbean region are a high priority; presenting statistics or making forecasts are of low importance.

The Bahamas is an excellent conference location. Many multinational companies have their representation for the Caribbean and Latin America ‘next door’ in Southern Florida. The nearby Miami airport is often an ideal international hub to fly to the Bahamas for the conference and on the return trip the US pre-clearance in Nassau is an advantage.

A growing number of companies in the USA and Canada do have a serious interest to reach out to the Caribbean. For instance, this year, agencies of the Canadian government provide support around the event to establish business relations in the region for Canadian companies and create partnerships with the Caribbean. There may be a special focus on airport development and improvement and establishing government-to-government relationships.

The Caribbean Aviation Meetup is a conference with a vison. It is evolving from a pioneer startup to the full-fledged convention of the future, an extraordinary and outstanding event on the international conference calendar.

Rather than having many small conferences by different industry segments, this platform envisions to bring all airlift stakeholders together to make their attendance more effective and efficient. It also avoids isolation of the various stakeholders and interest groups, and instead furthers the

Interaction and communication of professionals of various industry segments, who otherwise rarely have an opportunity meet and understand each other dilemmas as well as the opportunities and benefits of cooperation.

caribavia

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LU’s students, staff secure 1.8 million in scholarships

SINT MAARTEN (CAY HILL) - The senior students (12th grade) of the Learning Unlimited Preparatory School (LU), under the guidance of the LUPS College Counseling Department, has earned more than US $1.81 million dollars in merit-aid scholarship offers from prestigious universities around the world.

LUPS’s Class of 2018, 27 graduating seniors in total, will attend colleges and universities from Vancouver to New York through Miami and across the ocean to London and Amsterdam. Several of the students received full 4 year scholarships.

A small sampling of university acceptances to date, include Georgetown University, New York University, Bentley University, Northeastern University, Fordham University, Boston University, George Washington University, Depaul University, Hofstra University, University of Miami, Clark University, Clarkson University, University of Toronto, University of British Columbia, Brock University, the University of Waterloo, Concordia University, De Montfort University, Reading University and King's College.

“The college counseling process here at LU entails us working with them really for their entire career with us,” said Daunesh Alcott, LU’s Principal. “The key focus is on their high school years because all of those credits start in grade 9 and go to a permanent transfer, it stays with them for life. So we tell our students what they do in 9th grade is as important as what they do in 12th grade in terms of their grades. They need to maintain that.”

He went on to lay high praise on LU’s College Counseling Department. “With the other accredited schools in our accrediting body, I believe we are at the top end of any of those schools. Considering we are a small school, on an island, what we do and what our students accomplish is very impressive in comparison. There is constant communication with students and parents. ” he said.

LU is accredited by the US Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). LU is a certified registered member school of SAIS, SACS/ AdvancED, NAIS, ISA. Universities and colleges throughout the world traditionally honor diplomas granted by both SAIS and SACS/ AdvancEd.

The schools College Counseling Department is headed by Mark Beland. By the time LU students reach the 12th Grade and during the course of the application period, from September through February of the senior year, each student works with Beland on various issues such as the implications of early decision/action, crafting of the student’s extracurricular resume, mock interview sessions, teachers’ recommendations, and financial aid investigation.

“Our College Counselor, English teachers, and administrators work with students across the course of the academic year as they complete and perfect their applications, essays, and letters of motivation. Throughout the school year, representatives of several of the colleges to which our students apply come to LUPS to meet and provide insights to our juniors and seniors,” Beland explained.

“The LU College Counseling program supports each senior throughout the admissions process and helps students identify and gain acceptance to the college or colleges which suit their academic, lifestyle, extracurricular interests, and financial circumstances. This demonstrates the comprehensive process, yet again, of the value of an American-accredited LU education,” he added.

Alcott added that the Class of 2018 will be more than prepared for their future endeavors, however, this didn't just happen overnight. There were many carefully planned segments and artfully executed sequences along the way. “This college exploration, application and acceptance season was no exception and was both an exciting and stressful time for the Class of 2018. Now, they have all received their acceptance letters, financial aid, and scholarships; they have made decisions that will potentially impact the rest of their lives. This was an exceptional group of students.”

“With what our senior students have earned this year, once again the value of an LU education proves itself as it has been doing for years. We are very proud of that fact and very proud of the students, our teachers and staff,” Alcott concluded. 

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SZV REMINDS OF MONTHLY PREMIUM DECLARATION AND PAYMENT DEADLINE

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Social & Health Insurances SZV is actively reminding companies of their obligations in accordance to the Federal Ordinance for Sickness and Accident Insurance.

One of those obligations being the monthly declaration and payment of ZV and OV premiums, due no later than the 15th of each month. Since recent, SZV has intensified its controls in conjunction with increasing awareness amongst employers of the obligations and procedures.

Employers are encouraged to make use of the 24/7 online declaration and payment option available via the Employer Portal. However, companies can still submit their declarations in person at the Employer desk and are reminded that cash payments are no longer accepted.

Not complying to the obligation of declaring and paying on time can result in the levying of assessments. 

The organization is proud to have been able to expand its services over the years, within the boundaries of the stipulated laws. The dedicated Employer Desk of SZV and online services offer employers in need of assistance with additional tools and information to meet their obligations.

SZV has been promoting its online services for over a year now, companies can submit their declarations online, on the website of SZV www.szv.sx via the Online Employer Portal. Online payment is encouraged by SZV; both of these options reduce the need to visit SZV offices and allow companies to be more efficient with their time.

Employers are being offered the ease of online contact and online service with the result of reduced waiting times and more importantly efficient and well documented processing and responses.

It is mandatory by law for all companies with one or more employees executing labor to register their company and their employees at SZV. You are considered an employer by SZV in the following cases: you are established on Sint Maarten, and you have employees executing labor for you on Sint Maarten, you are established on Sint Maarten, and your employees are executing labor for you outside of Sint Maarten (Dutch Caribbean).

A foreign company can also be categorized as an employer on Sint Maarten (Dutch Caribbean). An employer can be a natural person (such as an individual, called a sole proprietor), or a legal entity (such as a corporation, an N.V. or a B.V.) An overview of the general Employer obligations is available on SZV’s website www.szv.sx.

More information about Employer obligations, declaration and payment of ZV and OV premiums can be found on the website www.szv.sx and at the Employer service desk, which is located in Building 1, Level 1. Contacting SZV is possible via the website, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Facebook or by calling 546-6782.

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Minister Lee: Our Nurses, our voice to lead

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - In honor of International Nurses Day, which is celebrated globally on May 12th, “I would like to share this message. The theme for Nurses Day is: A voice to lead, a theme that I can resonate with and would like to promote within our health care sector,” Minister of Public Health Emil Lee said on Friday in a press statement from his Cabinet.

“I would like to recognize our nurses for their commitment to protecting, promoting, and improving health care for all in our country.

“Registered nurses form the largest of health care professions. I cannot begin to explain the influence and impact of our nurses in our Public Health strategies. In various sectors, industries and departments our nurses are active and vocal in policy development and implementation.

“I would like to see that recognition of our nurses be promoted as widely as possible. I am proud to say that the work of our nurses on Sint Maarten and our local nurses abroad is impactful and influential on a regional and international scale.

“Our nurses are active in improving access to health care, educating our community members, addressing poverty and nutrition, clean energy, inequality, sustainability and innovation. Nurses, thank you for your service and dedication to your profession and those in need. Happy Nurses Day.”

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Department of Culture announces talent scholarship in Neville York’s name

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - One year after the passing of the former head of Department of Culture has elapsed, the Department is still grappling with a heavy sense of loss.

We lost a gentle visionary who made immense strides toward the development of culture at home and abroad. Neville York, gentle virtuoso, a musician, scholar, philosopher and champion for the arts and culture, dedicated his life to this country.

Although the sense of loss is profound, the Department has decided to celebrate the gift of his birth and all that he personified by establishing an annual Talent Scholarship in Mr. York’s name.  On this the first anniversary of his passing, the Department of Culture is proud to announce the Neville York Talent Scholarship. 

Mr. York in his capacity as cultural icon was an erudite and expansive nurturer who had appreciation for culture, heritage and the arts in all its myriad dimensions of expression. The scholarship, interdisciplinary in nature encompasses all disciplines. 

The Neville York Talent Scholarship is geared towards a summer intensive or course in an institution of the applicant’s choice. Perspective candidates from a vast range of creative expressions are eligible to apply in pursuit of further training in their chosen discipline.

Department head Clara Reyes revealed that in speaking to Mr. York’s family, they expressed their appreciation to know that Neville York’s name would live on in the world and specifically in St. Maarten where he was not only a local musical genius, but a loving husband, brother, teacher and pusher of the craft.  Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport Jorien Wuite added that she was very, very pleased with the choice that Neville’s former team made.

“Talent scholarships are what we sincerely fought for and realized on the budget. Neville has always been supportive of creative talent and this choice is therefore a very fitting action in honoring his memory”.

The Neville York Talent Scholarship recipient will be announced annually on his birthday May 1, as a living tribute to the quiet artist that truly embodied a giant in the legacy he left behind.

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Visit Project H.E.L.P on Saturday for free health screenings

DUTCH QUARTER - Project HELP provides free screenings in different community locations three times a year. HELP was developed in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development, and Labour Collective Prevention Services.

“The scope and strength of the collaboration has increased over time. The Ministry provides invaluable support for AUC (American University of the Caribbean) and the learning of our students.

“AUC students and faculty are happy to be back in St. Maarten and to resume the offering of HELP. 

“We are grateful for the support of Christian Faith Ministries Church in Dutch Quarter for hosting Project HELP on Saturday and for the collaboration of Mid Isle Rotary Club. The generosity of Christian Faith Ministries is amazing.

“They provided a beautiful space, helped in planning the details for the event, promoted the event to their members, and opened their entire facility to make the day a success.

“Church members will also help throughout the day to assist with guiding participants through the screenings. Volunteers from Mid Isle Rotary Club will be on hand to support the work of the students and to provide hospitality to the participants.

“AUC and Mid Isle are truly grateful for the support of programs that support prevention and good health on St. Maarten,” the Rotary Club of St. Maarten Mid-Isle said in a press statement on Wednesday. 

The health screening is on Saturday, May 12 from 9.30m to 3.30pm at the Christian Faith Ministries in Dutch Quarter.  There will be free screenings for adults (18+) for height, weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose and vision.

The Rotary Club of St. Maarten-Mid Isle meets Tuesday 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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Aggressive man shot by police after threatening with a knife

PHILIPSBURG - A man identified with initials V.A and well-known to police was shot in his leg on Tuesday afternoon may 8th at approximately 04.20 p.m. The incident happened after police was called at the resident on Arrow root road where the suspect and his sister were again having problems.

On the scene, according to reports, the police approached the suspect who was armed with a knife was ordered several times to put the knife down which he refused to do. At one point he became very aggressive and approached the officers in a threatening manner with knife still in his hand.

He was again ordered by officers to drop the knife which he again refused to do. A warning shot was fired by police but the suspect continued approaching the officers at which time he was shot in his upper leg.

Other police patrols, Paramedics, Detectives and Forensic investigators were sent to the scene to conduct an investigation. The suspect was treated on the scene and then taken the Sint Maarten Medical Center for further medical treatment. The suspect remains in hospital for observation. (Sint Maarten Police Force)

  

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CPS advises community to take preventive measures to prevent Hand Foot and Mouth Disease

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – The Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department with the Sint Maarten Ministry of Public Health, Social Development & Labour, is calling on the community and in particular parents and guardians, day care centers and play schools, to take preventive measures to mitigate Hand Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD), by taking extra measures to prevent HFMD such as washing of hands often with soap and water. 

HFMD is a common viral illness that usually affects infants and children who are 10-years of age or younger.  It can sometimes occur in adults.  There is no vaccine to protect against the viruses that cause hand, foot, and mouth disease.

Persons with symptoms should consult their family physician and take necessary preventive measures in order to mitigate an increase number of cases.

Symptoms of HFMD include cold-like conditions, fever, mouth sores, loss of appetite, cough, and a skin rash; a non-itchy red rash that develops on the hand and the feet, and sometimes the rash can develop into painful blisters; painful mouth ulcers.

Hand, foot, and mouth disease is spread from person to person through nose and throat secretions (such as saliva, sputum, or nasal mucus), blister fluid, or stool of infected persons.  When handling secretions it is advisable to apply the necessary preventive measures.

To lower your risk of being infected with hand, foot and mouth disease, wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after changing diapers and using the toilet; disinfecting dirty surfaces and soiled items, including toys.  First wash the items with soap and water, and then disinfect them with a solution of chlorine bleach; and avoiding close contact such as kissing, hugging, thumb-sucking, nail-chewing or sharing eating utensils or cups with infected persons.

Hand, foot and mouth disease is not the same as foot and mouth disease, which affects cattle, sheep and pigs.  The two infections are unrelated, and you cannot catch hand, foot and mouth disease from animals.

If your child or you have any of these symptoms, consult your family physician; agencies and/or institutions taking care of babies, toddlers etc. are requested to be on the alert and to take preventive measures by taking proper cleaning and hygienic measures.

For more information call CPS at 542-1122, 542-1222, 542-1322 and 542-1570; or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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