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APS Director Nadya van Putten next to sign board announcing parking facility project on Pond Island.

August 29, 2017
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Photo By 721news

Cul-de-Sac, St. Maarten – Plans for the construction of a much-needed car park in the Philipsburg district are now beginning to take shape with the general pension fund administrator, APS, embarking on a series of activities related to the project.

The pension fund has contracted a local contractor to start upgrading a portion of the acquired lot in Philipsburg, where the parking facilities are to be constructed.

Additionally, the front portion to the construction site is to be fenced off while a welcome and project information sign board has been placed at the site. The sign board informs the general public on the scheduled phases for the construction of a multifunctional (commercial) building and parking garage on that site.

PREPARATIONS UNDERWAY FOR APS PARKING FACILITIES

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Francesco extradited to Italy on Wednesday August 16, 2017

August 18, 2017
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Photo by The Daily Herald

AIRPORT BOULEVARD–Francesco Corallo was extradited to Italy on Wednesday afternoon. The 57-year-old casino owner left St. Maarten in custody of members of Interpol Italy on a flight by Air France to Paris, with a connecting flight to Rome. Corallo is suspected by Italian justice authorities of tax fraud, bribery, money-laundering and membership in a criminal organization. His extradition was requested by the Minister of Justice of Italy on December 30, 2016.

  The Joint Court of Justice ruled the request permissible on June 20. The Governor of St. Maarten signed the documents formalizing Corallo’s extradition to Italy on August 4.Corallo was arrested at the request of the Italian authorities in December 2016. Since then, he was held in detention at the Police Station in Philipsburg.

Source: https://thedailyherald.sx/islands/68597-francesco-corallo-on-his-way-to-italy

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St Maarten Parliamentarians should get report card

August 18, 2017
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At the end of every school year, students are evaluated and promoted or not promoted based on their performance during the year. Conversely, at the end of a parliamentary year, Members of Parliament are not evaluated yet they continue in parliament without anyone questioning their achievements, their performance or their competency to function as a parliamentarian.

I have observed that in several countries around the world, political and interest groups are developing report cards for parliamentarians. The idea behind the report card is to provide the public, especially the voters, with information about the performance of a parliamentarian so that at the next election, voters can make an informed decision about who is best suited to represent them in parliament, based on their performance during the past years.

I sincerely hope that MP Ardwell Iron’s proposal to report on how Members of Parliament voted during a parliamentary year will be included in the 2016-2017 Parliamentary Report. If included, it will give the public additional information as to how our MPs are functioning.

SMCP is developing a parliamentarian report card that will comprise the following benchmarks: attendance, participation, representation, supervision, legislation and interaction. These six benchmarks are derived from the job description of a parliamentarian that, according to our constitution, consists of three main functions: representation (art. 44), legislation (art. 82, 85, 86) and supervision (art. 62, 63, 64). Since the people (voters) placed their trust in a parliamentarian by electing him/her to office, it goes without saying that they should know how their parliamentarian is functioning. Therefore, let us look at these benchmarks and explain briefly what each one entails.

Attendance at meetings is the most obvious and objective benchmark. It includes the attendance at the plenary sessions of parliament and at the meetings of the central committee. All MPs are required to attend these two meetings. In addition, we will also include the attendance at the permanent and ad hoc committees, which is a requirement for the members of these committees but is voluntary for the other parliamentarians.

It seems as if parliamentarians do not realize that the greater part of their work occurs in the small or standing committees. These committees are therefore the backbone of parliament. In a press conference given the first week of January 2017, President of Parliament, MP Sarah Wescot-Williams, told the press “the work of Parliament is being slowed down due to the lack of activity by the parliamentary committees”. In other words, she is saying that these committees are not functioning.

Parliamentary Committees do the groundwork for the Central Committee. They research and investigate issues and laws then make recommendations to the Central Committee, which in turn will eventually, approve these recommendations and send them to the plenary session of parliament. In addition, most of the oversight work by parliament ought to be done in the standing committees. There is where the chair and members review the policies and the decisions of a minister or the government as well as investigate reports, complaints and problems related to a ministry or the government. Further, there is where questions directed to a minister or the government ought to be formulated and the answers reviewed for depth, thoroughness and accuracy.

Sadly, previous Annual Parliamentary Reports and observations during the current parliamentary year show that the standing committees hardly ever meet. During 2016-2017, twelve standing committees were installed but as far as we know, only two of these committees actually held meetings, namely the Ad Hoc Integrity Committee and the Petitions Committee. The remaining committees have remained dormant throughout the parliamentary year.

We would also like to point out a serious flaw in the selection of the chairpersons of the various standing committees. Members of the coalition chair all twelve standing committees. No wonder that the supervisory function of parliament is seriously compromised. One does not expect a coalition member in parliament to readily scrutinize and criticize the policies, decisions and performance of his/her coalition partner in the government. For example, with all the problems surrounding the Ministry of Justice, the Chairman of the Committee of Justice, MP Frans Richardson, never felt the need to call a meeting of this Committee. Further, with all the problems associated with the dump, the Chairman of the Committee of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure, MP drs. Rodolphe Samuel, never called a meeting. The same goes for all the other standing committees.

Under the topic of attendance I would like to mention here that it is unacceptable that mature, honorable Members of Parliament still have to be chided by the President of Parliament for being absent at meetings without due notice. With today’s plethora of technology – and mind you our MPs receive a smartphone at the beginning of their term of office – it is inexcusable that an MP still does not care to inform the President in a timely manner of his/her absence.

So, with regard to attendance, an MP’s report card will summarize his/her absence or presence, with or without notice at all meetings. But the attendance score related to the standing committees will weigh much heavier than the attendance at the other parliamentary meetings.

In the following article, we will elucidate the other five benchmarks of the MP Report Card!

Wycliffe Smith

Leader of the Sint Maarten Christian Party

Source: https://721news.com/local-news/report-card-members-parliament/

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King rummer performs at Soca Monarch competition in Tortola British Virgin Islands on Thursday

August 4, 2017
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Photo by the Daily Herald

Rumari “King Rumer” Rogers competed  in the upcoming Soca Monarch competition in Tortola, British Virgin Islands.

Rogers travelled on Wednesday to get ready for the competition the following day , which was yesterday (Thursday). He is currently the three-peat Road March King of St. Maarten and was selected to represent St. Maarten in the show. Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport  wished Rogers much success in the Soca Monarch competition and encouraged him to continue pursuing his dreams and making St. Maarten proud.

Manager Devondre Jones (left) and King Rumer (right) stopped by the Minister’s office before leaving the island on Wednesday. Photo by the Daily Herald

Source: https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/68195-king-rumar-for-monarch

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New 3-year CLA may allow SMMC staff to get slight salary increase

August 4, 2017
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Photo by The Daily Herald

CAY HILL–St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) workers will be taking home a slightly higher salary and will receive a bit more in their Christmas bonus thanks to a new Collective Labour Agreement (CLA) signed between the hospital and their union on Thursday.

The CLA went into effect on July 1. The CLA was signed by Windward Islands Health Care Union Association (WIHCUA) representatives and St. Maarten Medical Center Manager of Patient Care Antonio Pantophlet and Medical Director Dr. Felix Holiday in the presence of hospital staffers. SMMC General Director Kees Klarenbeek, who is off island and was not present, had signed the CLA before and also sent an electronic message which was played for workers during the ceremony.

Numerous benefits were secured for workers in the CLA including slight increases in salary and Christmas bonus. Additionally, SMMC and the union have agreed to increase the maternity leave for workers from 12 to 14 weeks in the CLA. Changes were also made to the company’s Dental Vision Benefit Plan, which now allows family members of SMMC staffers to benefit from the Plan.

WIHCUA President Brunilda Illidge, who expressed satisfaction with the benefits that had been secured for the workers, said her smile was missing because Klarenbeek, who was instrumental in the negotiations, was absent. Looking back on CLA negotiating that she had been involved in over the years, Illidge said the talks with Klarenbeek to reach the CLA was a significant improvement. In the past, CLA discussions were extremely heated and would result in slamming of doors, pounding of fists on the table and throwing down of chairs. However, the negotiations with Klarenbeek were conducted with mutual respect and while they were not easy, they were peaceful.

She lauded Klarenbeek for this. “We met each other halfway and we understood that we cannot plunder SMMC, but we cannot leave the staff with nothing,” she said. “I am proud of Kees as a Dutchman, that he could have sat across the table and balance it out. We hope that God will follow through and lay his healing power and run through Kees’ body and bring him back,” she said, resulting in applause from the staff who had gathered to witness the ceremony. “We have a balanced out CLA and we are thankful for that.”

SMMC Human Resource Manager Sheila Hodge said parties began negotiations for the new CLA a year ago, unlike in the past when the negotiations were held for about three to four weeks and had been heated. Holding the negotiations a year in advance was to give parties sufficient time to meet every two weeks to iron out details of the agreement. “By taking a full year, we were able to go into detailed talks and the final package depended on what SMMC can afford and what is best for the staff,” Hodge said.

Holiday, who assumed the post of Medical Director as of June 1, said while he was not involved in the negotiations, reading through the document he realises that the CLA is “quite an accomplishment,” and an improvement for staff. He said also that parties took into consideration the family members of staffers as they will also benefit from the CLA. The agreement, he added, forms the basis for parties to provide care together and to ensure that quality care is available for the community.

Representative of SMMC Supervisory Council Robert-Jan James described the CLA as a major accomplishment for everyone. He said Klarenbeek had put “a lot of effort,” into the process. James said while talks can be tough, at the end parties were able to reach an agreement that “everyone can be happy with.”

WIHCUA representative Christina Jacobs-Berkel urged workers to read the CLA. A copy will be made available online and will be available to staffers on a shared platform. It will also be provided to workers in hard copy. The CLA which is officially in Dutch will also be translated so that workers, who are not proficient in the Dutch language can also get a copy that they can understand.

The negotiating team from WIHCUA comprised Illidge, Jacqueline Berkel, Rein Torrenga, Charline Arrendell, Marguerite Priest and Jacobs-Berkel. The negotiation team from SMMC comprised Manager of Patient Care Tony Pantophlet, Hodge, Klarenbeek and SMMC Finance Manager Davinia Carbière.

Source:https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/68221-smmc-staff-to-get-slight-salary-increase-under-new-3-year-cla

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Latino autopsy leads to accidental drowning say the Gendarmerie

August 4, 2017
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Photo by: Panoramio.com

MARIGOT–The Gendarmerie said Thursday the Latino man whose body was found floating in the water near the whale observatory on Coralita Road near Oyster Pond most likely died from drowning. The autopsy was carried out on Wednesday, August 2, and showed water in the lungs of the deceased.

“There was no evidence on the body of any injury or trauma consistent with a struggle or assault with a weapon,” Capitaine Régis Turlan Arto disclosed. “We haven’t ruled out homicide yet, but the preliminary indications suggest death by drowning.”Walkers in the area spotted the body, semi-submerged with head facing down, around 50 metres from the shore line at 12:25 pm on July 26, and immediately called the Gendarmes. According to the press release issued, the body was of a “Latino” man recently deceased, aged around 35 years old, 1:80 metres in height.

He was wearing Bermuda shorts, a T-shirt and a distinctive belt buckle. No shoes, identity documents, cell phone or car keys were found on or near the body. However, one red-and-white basketball shoe was found on the bank, but it was not known if this belonged to the body.

Anyone who thinks the description of the man who was found corresponds to a missing person is asked to call the number 17; persons with any useful information to assist the investigation can call the same number.

Source: https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/68226-gendarmerie-latino-autopsy-points-to-accidental-drowning

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Cuchi remains in St. Kitts as he faces more charges

August 4, 2017
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Commissioner of Police Ian Queeley

SAINT KITTS – Information coming out of St. Kitts and Nevis indicates that wanted man Kathron “Cuchi” Fortune will likely see additional charges levied against him.

Sources on the island confirmed to 721news that Fortune is currently on remand pending the additional charges, which are likely to come before the week is out.

St. Kitts and Nevis’ Commissioner of Police Ian Queeley told a news conference in Basseterre that the wanted man disembarked a boat by himself along a beach in the Newton Ground area.

It was during an observation by citizens, that sleuths on the island were notified of unusual activities in the area.

Upon presenting themselves to the suspect, Fortune was found with a number of illegal items in his possession including a “bus master pistol” with a telescope, a bullet proof vest, compressed marijuana and a quantity of cash. He was subsequently taken into police custody.

The St. Kitts and Nevis Top Cop described the Grenadian-born Fortune as being “very dangerous.” While addressing reporters, Queeley stated that when the authorities in St. Kitts made contact with their St. Maarten counterparts, they indicated that “they were very happy that we [SKN police] were able to lay hands on him, as he escaped from prison serving some time for murder.”

During the time he was out, the Commissioner stated that the fugitive was suspected to be involved in at least five murders, “and so they [St. Maarten police] were very heartened by the news of his capture.”

“The St. Maarten authorities were alerted and we had some discussions with them and they clearly wanted to speak with him. So, a team visited us and we had some discussions and they would have left the Federation and the gentleman is remanded to custody at Her Majesty’s Prison,” Queeley continued.

Fortune was charged with a number of offences, including the possession of a firearm; importation; possession of Cannabis; possession with intent to supply; and illegal entry.

He will likely face customs and several additional charges, according to the Commissioner of Police, and would shortly be taken to the Magistrate’s Court.

It was back in February 2016, that the Grenadian fugitive escaped from lawful custody.

On the afternoon of February 15, 2016, Fortune escaped after he was taken to a Cay Hill clinic. It was reported that he pulled a gun on two guards that accompanied him and was not seen since.

In a recent statement, Queeley called on citizens and residents of St. Kitts and Nevis to report any suspicious or abnormal activities that they may see occurring along the country’s coastline.

Fortune will remain in St. Kitts and Nevis to serve his time when sentenced before being deported to St. Maarten.

Source: https://721news.com/top-story/cuchi-remain-st-kitts-charges-laid/

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2nd Cultural Xpression Agricultural Music Festival set for July 23, 2017

June 30, 2017
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‘’Building Agricultural and community awareness have always been our main objective’’ Wyatte.

While our communities are at a critical stage it’s time once again to build back up the momentum of the surrounding community members.

Spaceless Gardens along supporting organization proudly presents the 2nd Agricultural Music Festival and Community Market Day.

One of the goal for organizing the event is to help build agricultural and community awareness amongst surrounding community members. The first Agricultural event back in Feb 2017 yield great results and was requested by members the community for event to take place once again.

Having the community awareness event, not only allows us to build community awareness, but it also allows community members and farmers to grasp the oppertunity to show case their Culinary Arts, Crafts, locally cultivated Produce and talented local Music Artist and Dj’s.

The day is planned to be a fulfilled day for both adults and children. There will be a play area for children while adults get a chance to mingle and enjoy the cultural ambiance.

Entertainment of the day will be presented by Uniq Sound, DeejBlaze, Mix Master Pauly, Jack Da Hot One and Hearted Lion Sound.

As the evening sets in there will be live entertainment by up rising artist Acha and other local talent soon to be announced.

There will be a general clean up soon schedule for the clean up of the St Peters Community Center and Basketball court area. We encourage other community members to come out and support the cause. On the schedule date of the clean up there will be refreshments and community garden membership cards for the participating members.

The St Peters Community Garden Research and Development will soon be issuing membership cards for surround community members.

The benefits having this card is to encourage community members to get more involved in agriculture development and sustainability. The card will grant card holders benefits such as, free and discounted locally grown produce in stock from the garden, tour options, home garden consultations, seedlings, plants, meals and other added value item created by the St Peters Community Garden Research and Development Center.

We would like to invite the general public to come out on Sunday July 23, 2017 at the St Peters Community Center from 11 am to 11 pm to enjoy a fulfilled day of Food, Fun and great Music while being informed about agriculture and the great benefits it may have in uplifting our people and surrounding communities.

If you would like to become a vendor at CX Agricultural Music Festival contact 5536300 or send and email to stmaartenagriculture@gmail.com.

This event is proudly supported by , UNESCO, UNDP, Prince Bernhard Cutuur Funds, Spaceless Gardens, Wattzz Publishing, Uniq Sound, Viva Signs, Windward Roads, C – Trios, Island Dust Busters, Cultural Xpression and St Maarten Agriculture.com.

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Caribbean Cable & Telecommunications Association donates $1000 to local agency through WTN-Cable

June 27, 2017
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June 23, 2017 – Through the generosity of the Caribbean Cable and Telecommunications Association (CCTA), Sint Maarten Alzheimer Foundation is the recipient of a $1,000 grant from the association’s 2017 Community Charities Program.  Sint Maarten Alzheimer Foundation was formally nominated for the grant by WTN-Cable, a member of the CCTA and the cable and telecommunications provider for Sint Maarten.

Sint Maarten Alzheimer Foundation was chosen as a grant recipient because of the outstanding service and assistance it provides to the community.  The check for $1,000 was presented by Alvin Obersi, CEO of WTN-Cable, on June 23, 2017.

The CCTA’s Community Charities Program, established in 1993, has awarded over $311,000 to Caribbean charities during its existence.  The program was established with the sole purpose of supporting a variety of non-profit organizations in the region, by allocating a budgeted $10,000 per year.  In 2017, 10 charities were selected for $1,000 grants each. 

The worthy recipients were nominated by the following cable and telecommunications operators:  BVI Cable TV; Cable Bahamas; Liberty Cablevision of Puerto Rico; St. Maarten Cable TV; SETAR of Aruba; The Cable of St. Kitts; Viya of St. Croix; Viya of St. Thomas-St. John; Wireless Telecommunications Network of St. Maarten; and WISE NV of Suriname.  Formed in 1983, the Caribbean Cable and Telecommunications Association represents cable and telecommunications providers throughout the Caribbean, and the programmers, software and hardware suppliers that support their operations.

For further information, contact Mr. R. Groman, +(1-721) 5422785

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WTN-Cable conducting upgrades to their DVBT system to DVBT2 system

June 27, 2017
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WTN-Cable is upgrading their DVBT system to DVBT2 system.

With this upgrade customers are required to swap their current converter (STB) to enjoy the following;

1. New converter (STB) way smaller in size and faster in speed programmable in different language.

2. Better audio (theater like)

3. More TV programs including music (channels) 

4. HD TV programs (channels)

5. Many international radio stations and music stations.

6. Recordable TV program (need USB stick to apply)

7. EPG (a menu is displayed that lists current and upcoming television programs on all available channels implemented in August)

8. Multimedia player using USB-stick.

9. TV program subtitle & SAP (depends on the program; allowing subtitle in a different language and the SAP allows you to change the voice of the language of the TV program)

10. Payment reminder starting 5 before due date.

11. On air customer auto search request; whenever a change is made in our system the customer will receive an alert to press OK for auto search to start automatically.

12. No more converter (STB) repairs simply swap for a new one in the event of defective.

Swaping converter (STB) will start Saturday, July 8, 2017 with a party at the Obersi Building from 10AM to 7PM.

The opening hours for the swap office at Obersi building:

Mon-Sat from 10:00 AM till 7:00PM till Saturday, August 5, 2017.

From time to time we will announce alternative swap office in various location, this will be announced on our channel 48, social media, radio stations and newspaper.

In order to continue to get great service by us having the correct address and correct customer contact information we require to up date customer file by filling in a in take document in addition bring the following:

Valid ID of account owner.

GEBE bill (not older than 3 months)

Landlord permit (if needed)

Your current converter (STB) with remote control.

Active and none active customers up to 12 months having converter (STB) to swap do not have to pay refundable deposit all other customers will be dealt with on a case by case, and will enjoy same price.

During the press release whereby several members of the media was present WTN CABLE on behalf of Caribbean cable and telecommunications associations gave Mr. Keith Franka and Mr. Bernard Hunt board members of the Alzheimer Association a check in the amount of USD 1.000,00.

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Cultural Xpression 2017 Audio Commercial
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