Resort owner for Captain Oliver’s was assaulted and robbed at home

February 10, 2015
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OYSTER POND–Captain Oliver’s Hotel and Marina co-owner Maggi Shurtleff was subjected to a traumatic assault and robbery last Thursday evening when two masked and armed individuals forced their way into her home on the Dutch side of Oyster Pond.

Shurtleff’s hands and feet were tied, a sweater was placed over her head to prevent her from seeing and she was thrown violently to the floor during the incident, which lasted some 35 minutes as her assailants searched for money and valuables.

“It was in the evening when I was about to leave my house to go the restaurant,” she told The Daily Herald. “Opening the locked door that overlooks the garage I found myself face-to-face with two masked men, both carrying handguns. I screamed but they ordered me to keep my mouth shut or they would kill me. They wanted to know where the safe was and I kept telling them I didn’t have a safe.

“They didn’t believe that and kept pointing their weapons at my head and neck. I tried to calm them down by telling them I was willing to cooperate and they could take my jewellery, but they said they wanted money. They forced me to go with them in the house as they searched.

“They took the gold necklace I was wearing and I told them where I hid my jewels and finally they accepted I didn’t have a safe. At one point they tied my ankles together with my shoelaces and assaulted me repeatedly. My phone rang suddenly and they were concerned about that, telling me if anyone came to look for me they would kill me and that person.

“Before they left they said to me, ‘Sorry to have done this to you as you are really a good person. Just don’t be stupid and count to 100 before you move.'”

A traumatised Shurtleff said it had taken her about 15 minutes to undo the ties on her wrists and call for help. She called the Dutch-side police who responded immediately and opened an investigation. Various items relating to the investigation have been sent away to be analysed.

In the meantime, fearing reprisal, she has been offered protection by the police while a security company also is providing protection.

Police spokesman Inspector Ricardo Henson could not be reached last night to obtain confirmation and more information about the incident. – The Daily Herald


A beautiful display of Large troupes in Children’s Parade on french side

February 9, 2015
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Photo – The Daily Herald

MARIGOT–The Carnival committee was on the mark when it anticipated some large troupes for Sunday’s Children’s Parade in Marigot, and indeed two schools, Elie Gibbs School in Grand Case and French Quarter 2, featured a large number of revellers in their troupes that gave the whole parade a major boost.

The Children’s Parade marked the start of Carnival on the French side, and as usual it was a colourful spectacle appreciated by the many spectators and tourists.

The parade started fairly promptly soon after 2:00pm from Louis Vanterpool Stadium and made its way on the usual circuit along Rue de Hollande, down Rue de La République, a left turn for Rue de La Liberté, left again onto Rue Kennedy, back onto Rue de Hollande and back to the stadium, cutting out Lowtown and Bellevue.

Entertainer Ricky Da Phox was on site early getting the spectators warmed up. This year, he was dressed up as a baby, cruising up and down the streets sitting on a sort of skateboard, and frequently asked to be spoon fed from his bottles. A few amused tourists complied. He then matured rather quickly to emcee the choreography routines on Rue de la République, where the judges had their stand.

The parade was led out by Disney mascots Minny and Mickey Mouse, followed by a troupe from Evelina Halley Kindergarten School and Grand Case Kindergarten School.

Elie Gibbs School from Grand Case made quite an impression with its large troupe which was themed Hibiscus Garden.

French Quarter Elementary School presented “Man and the Sea”, a theme on fishing. One float showed a vendor selling fish, comparing prices from the old days to the modern day, perhaps a commentary on the cost of living or decline in local fishing.

Emile Choisy School’s theme was the 1960s while French Quarter 2 School was another of the big troupes with its presentation “Land of One Thousand and One Nights” a theme on the Arabian Nights. Siméon Trott School had an ancient Egyptian theme with a Queen and a Pharaoh King.

Sandy Ground Cultural Center presented a cultural theme. Bringing up the rear of the parade was Locomotiv playing an assortment of instruments.

In all, seven troupes took part in the parade. Results of the parade are usually announced in Carnival Village towards the end of the week.

Carnival Village opens on Thursday with Dr. Fire, Shantili Higgs a.k.a. Shanae, and the Strike-Up Band performing on stage from 7:00pm. The Daily Herald


Statia boat accident leaves one crew member dead

January 28, 2015
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Removing the lifeless body from the boat – Photo The Daily Herald

ST. EUSTATIUS–One man died after a fishing boat capsized in the waters between St. Eustatius and St. Kitts on January 27.

Harbour Master Austin van Heyningen, of the harbour in Statia, received a call at 4:03pm from the police, stating they had received a distress call from a vessel located South-east of Statia. It transpired that the fishing boat had capsized, leaving three people in the water. One person managed to swim to shore and raised the alarm, while the other two remained with the vessel.

Within minutes, the crew of MV Waterman had been mobilised, and the crew were standing by for instructions five minutes later.

At 4.14 the coordinates of the vessel were confirmed and a tentative location East of Core Bay was given, although the distance to shore could not be confirmed and at 4:21 the MV Waterman, carrying Captain Roy Lawrence, mate V. Woodley, Port Security E. Schmidt and a police officer by the name of Patrick set out to the site, as did a Rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RHIB) from the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard.

Unfortunately the rescue came too late for one of the two remaining crew members, who had passed away by the time the rescue vessels arrived.

The vessel in distress was a St. Kitts fishing vessel, which had sustained engine trouble. The vessel had started drifting and taking on water, approximately 3/4 miles off shore, before capsizing.

The Fire department was also called out to assist in the rescue. The survivor and the deceased man were brought back to Statia on the MV Waterman. The Daily Herald


The country needs to understand it – Christopher Emmanuel requests for 2015 draft budget be translated into english

January 23, 2015
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 Member of Parliament Christopher Emmanuel

PHILIPSBURG–National Alliance (NA) Member of Parliament Christopher Emmanuel voiced his discontent about the 2015 draft budget being presented to Parliament in Dutch. He has “mixed feelings” about handling the budget, because he does not know the budget’s content.

The majority of the country speaks English, the first-term MP said in the Central Committee meeting of Parliament dealing with the budget in Parliament House on Thursday. He had stated his problem with the language first during the notices segment at the start of the meeting. He had refused to sign for his budget package, because the budget is in Dutch, a language he does not read.

Emmanuel continued on the topic of the budget being in Dutch when it was his turn to speak on the budget on Thursday afternoon.

He even questioned why he was receiving a salary as an MP when he cannot read the budget. “I can’t explain the budget … It sets me back … Why am I being paid … I can’t function.”

English is one of the two official languages of the country. It is listed as such in the Constitution, Emmanuel pointed out. By having the budget only in Dutch was an affront to democracy, he said.

The budget is always presented in Dutch to Parliament since its inception in October 2010 and in the former Island Council.

St. Maarten, as part of the Dutch Kingdom, conducts much of its government and judicial business in Dutch. The laws of the country are all in Dutch. Where English translations of laws exist, as with the more than 30 organic laws, a note tagged saying if a conflict arises, the Dutch version is the main one.

Meanwhile, knowledge of the Dutch language is critical for people who want to become naturalized Dutch. Candidates for naturalisation must pass nine examinations, of which four are in Dutch – reading, writing, speaking and listening. – The Daily Herald


St Peters residents close off Sugar Apple Road

January 23, 2015
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A sign that says ” Road Close” and some other dabrie  was placed by St Peters residents to close off a section of lemon road in demand for repairs by government – Photo The Daily Herald

ST PETERS – St. Peters residents took matters into their own hands and made a makeshift “road closed” sign with plywood and spray-paint, adding tree branches to bring more attention to an exposed and broken-up section of Sugar Apple Road. The action was taken January 22 to alert drivers to the danger, after the road had been dug up by a resident(s) the day before for repairs to an underground sewage pipe. The spot had been left open, with chunks of concrete forming a line across the road that, although visible during the day, would not be visible at night and could form a hazard to cars. No real barricades or signboards had been placed at the site, but barricades were placed by Public Works late afternoon January 22 after it had been notified of the problem, Public Works head Claudius Buncamper explained late last night. – The Daily Herald


GEBE says price change will come in electricity bill but slowly

January 22, 2015
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PHILIPSBURG–Rapidly decreasing fuel prices will have their effect on local energy prices, but the general public will have to be patient.

“The trickledown effect of these decreases takes an average 45 days before consumers can enjoy some much-needed relief. This means based on present trends, by February’s billing period, consumers will experience further relief,” GEBE management stated in a press release on Wednesday.

“The main objective of GEBE is always to ensure that the fuel clause is as low as possible,” GEBE Chief Operations Officer and Managing Board President Romelio Maduro said.

According to data provided, prices have dropped and will continue to do so. During the year 2014, GEBE listed the July price as 0.375 NAf./kWh, August as 0.366 NAf./kWh, September as 0.360 NAf./kWh, October as 0.338 NAf./kWh, November as 0.318 NAf./kWh, and December as 0.2648 NAf./kWh.

“We operate the power plant as efficiently as possible using heavy fuel oil (HFO) to keep costs down and we balance this with effective monthly collection of revenues to maintain a sound operating capital,” he said.

In reply to consumer curiosity based on rapidly dropping international prices GEBE said, “The challenge with the windfall from the reduced energy price on the world market is timing and that translated means that the St. Maarten consumer cannot suddenly see the benefit.

“This is largely due to the company’s limitation when it comes to storage of fuel it needs to operate monthly. Fuel purchased in a given month is delivered and booked at a set price quoted on the date of purchase.

“This means that the utility company’s operating cost will be based entirely on that amount booked and the net sales derived from it. If after that purchase date the price suddenly falls, it will have no effect until GEBE makes its next purchases in order for the company to have an opportunity to offer some relief to its consumers.

“Purchased fuel takes a few days to be delivered to St. Maarten via ocean, and when it arrives it is stored for 15 days maximum at fuel supplier St. Maarten, as there is presently no storage alternative to allow larger or unscheduled purchases and deliveries.

“Besides this, all consumers also pay their bills the following month, which adds up to the 45 days. When this fuel is finally used to generate energy, the consumer pays based on that price as it is calculated in the fuel clause.

“The fuel clause is total fuel and lubricant cost per month – at the time of purchase – divided by the monthly net sales. However, that net sales is only determined at the end of a consumption period and this is then billed to consumers.”

Other factors affecting the fuel cost include shipping to St. Maarten. These all form part of GEBE’s direct expenses which the company said it offsets only by the collected revenue.

“In order for us to operate efficiently, collection of revenue is extremely important for the company’s ability to provide continued and efficient service to its consumers,” GEBE said.

It said it was not using the “hedge strategy,” which meant that it would have entered into an agreement with its supplier to have an across-the-board price so that the spike in price would not necessarily affect the consumer.

“The challenge though is that when the price on the global market falls below this agreed price, neither GEBE nor its local consumers could benefit under such an agreement, as they would need to continue paying the originally-agreed hedge price,” GEBE said.

It added that the price of the fuel it purchased was determined first by the prices of the Eastern Caribbean Posting for this region and differed from the United States. In the past, the Eastern Caribbean posting consisted of Shell West, Petro Trin and some other postings, but at present the only company trading is Petrotrin Postings.

“Also important to note is that the price differs from country to country based on the type of fuel needed as some countries may have older power plants and as such use a more inferior quality product to generate energy. The fuel used in St. Maarten consists of HFO and light fuel oil (LFO) also known as gas oil.

“Our fuel supplier delivers the supply to us adding their cost on the oil which becomes the purchase cost to GEBE. So basically we have to pay this price to get it to the island,” Maduro was quoted as saying.

He added that it was GEBE’s responsibility as a government-owned company to educate the general population about the fuel clause and how fuel pricing affected the consumer in St. Maarten. – The Daily Herald


Stabbing at Atlantis casino leaves one woman in critical condition

January 21, 2015
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carnival stabbingPHILIPSBURG – On Tuesday January 20th at approximately 03.30 a.m. a police patrol was sent to Atlantis Casino to investigate a stabbing. On the scene the investigating officers noticed that an altercation had indeed taken place at the entrance of the casino because of the blood evidence that was found at the location. After speaking to witnesses the officers learnt that a fight had taken place between two women. During the fight one of the women used a knife to stab the other several times.

The security officer that works at the casino tried to come between the parties to stop them from fighting but, he too suffered an injury to one of his hand. According to witnesses the victim left the scene by taxi and had gone to the Sint Maarten Medical Center to seek medical attention. The suspect L. had also left the scene.

Detectives were at the scene questioning witnesses and the Forensic Department collected evidence on the scene. The victim was immediately operated on and has been admitted into the hospital in critical condition. The female suspect has in the meantime turned herself in to the police department and remains in custody for further investigation. – 721 NEWS


Suspect in Junior -Juice Boy- Murder detention extended

January 21, 2015
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PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten – The 24 year old male Leon Alfred Didder suspect charged with the violent murder of Junior Adolphe BERTIN-MAURICA, had his first day in court Tuesday.

Junior Adolphe BERTIN-MAURICA was gun down during the morning hours of Saturday August 16th 2014 just below the “Rooftop Club”.

According to a police report on Tuesday evening, the murder suspects hails from the island of Nevis and that he was arrested on Saturday January 17.

The murder suspect was brought before the Judge of Instruction on Tuesday and his detention was deemed legal and as a result extended for eight (8) days.

The murder victim Junior Adolphe BERTIN-MAURICA, a French Quarter resident is believed to have been killed in a hail of bullets as it is believed that up to ten (10) shots may have been discharged by a weapon of the murderer at the scene of the crime.

# END # 721News

The suspect Didder is actually sitting a sentence he got last year in a previous illegal gun possession case,…
Please read the Today Newspaper previous news article on Didder Court case.

Ill-treated gun-owner gets off with lighter sentence

GREAT BAY – Leon Alfred Didder found some reprieve in the Court in first Instance after the prosecution demanded 18 months of imprisonment against him for firearm possession. Judge Rick Smid noted that the standard for this crime is 18-6 (18 months, with 6 months suspended), but he sentenced the defendant to 18 months imprisonment with 12 months suspended and 3 years of probation.

The reason for the lighter sentence is that Didder was so seriously ill-treated after his arrest that the National Detective Agency is looking into the matter.

The 24-year old was driving a scooter without a license plate on October 1 without wearing a helmet, and carrying a Smith&Wesson handgun in the waistband of his trousers.

Police stopped him, but then Didder attempted to drive away, almost running over one of the police officers.

The defendant told the court that he had been shot at once, and that he had the gun for protection, though he had no intention of using it.

Prosecutor Karola van Nie considered the charge proven. Didder had fourteen rounds of live ammunition on him. “This happened in bright daylight, around 1 p.m.,” Van Nie said. “The weapon was ready for use and allegedly for self-defense. I do not know in which circles this defendant lives that he thinks he needs a gun to defend himself.”

Van Nie demanded 18 months of imprisonment.

Attorney Shaira Bommel acknowledged the facts and said that it could not be justified. She liked her client’s situation to a similar case whereby the defendant had received a wholly conditional sentence.

“My client has been seriously ill-treated at the police station. The explanation was that he attempted to flee,” Bommel said, adding that in the same week there had been other complaints against the same police officer.

Van Nie noted that this incident is the subject of an investigation by the National Detective Agency.

Source: Today Newspaper


1 suspect held in Scotia bank robbery

January 21, 2015
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PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten – It is now believed that at least one of the suspects in last year’s Scotiabank robbery is in the hands of the police.

After a long and intensive investigation by the authorities, a house search was carried out on Monday morning on the Coralita Road in Saunders.

The house search was conducted by law enforcement, the Acting Prosecutor and the Judge of Instruction.

Arrested is the man who is know on the streets as “SALTI” and he was arrested as a suspect in the June 11th 2014 armed robbery of the Scotiabank in Cole Bay.

It is said that “SALTI” is no stranger to the police as he has been fingered in various armed robbery cases on the island.

He is also known to be associated with the “Scary Movie” gang which committed a number of brazen armed robberies on the island before they were eventually dismantled.

This information remains unconfirmed as no official information has been forthcoming from the authorities.



Police takes responsibility for neglected children

January 20, 2015
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COLE BAY–Three young children were taken into police care after they were found in a neglected state on Monday. The children, ages two to six, were said to have been locked inside a residential house in the Wellington Road area with no adult supervision, Police Spokesman Inspector Henson confirmed.

A neighbour became suspicious and observed the children through a window, before contacting police. According to the neighbour this is not the first time the children were left unattended.

The police took the children to a safe place and handed them over to the Court of Guardianship, Henson said. Officers are now looking to speak to the children’s mother. The Daily Herald

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