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Boyfriend bites Girlfriend on the Lip. Son Punches Mother. Police Arrest both domestic abusers

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Police made two arrests over the weekend in connection with domestic violence.

On Friday, October 16, 2021, around 5:00 p.m. officers arrested the man with the initials T.J.J. for seriously injuring his girlfriend after an altercation. This incident took place in the Dutch Quarter neighborhood.

During the altercation, the victim received a bite on her lower lip by the suspect. She was subsequently taken to the Sint Maarten Medical Center for further treatment.  

Following his arrest, the suspect was transported to the Philipsburg police station, where he is being held for questioning.

In the subsequent arrest, patrol officers were dispatched to the Arbutus Road in Saunders on Saturday, November 13, 2021, around 10:55 a.m. for a case of ill-treatment.

During the preliminary investigation it was determined that the young man with initials S.D. had punched his mother several times after she questioned him about the theft of cash from her purse. This suspect was arrested and brought to the police station where he was detained pending further investigation.

The continued number of reports of domestic and family violence is of great concern to the Sint Maarten Police Force.

Community awareness must be raised to drastically stop this abuse. This behavior should no longer be considered a "private" matter. It is recognized by all sectors that abuse towards a person in a relationship is considered "criminal" behavior and is punishable by law.

Individuals who choose to engage in abuse will be held accountable for their actions, it is only a matter of time. Instead of engaging in this illegal act, choose to walk away from the situation.

Do the right thing, put an end to domestic violence.

(KPSM)

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Minister Richardson applauds 17 Immigration Officers on training course completion

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On Friday, November 12, 2021, a certificate ceremony was held as the department of Immigration Border and Protection Services (IBPS) attained another milestone whereby 11 officers successfully completed their course of PLM Praktijk Leermeester (Coaching, training, and mentorship) and 6 officers completed their course of PO Praktijk Opleider (Teach courses and prepare officers to do so as well). 

The PLM/PO courses began on November 8, and were possible with the assistance of the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee (KMAR). These are two of the many courses included in the ongoing education curriculum between the Ministry of Justice and KMAR. The courses are tailormade and designed to strengthen border control which stems from the mutual agreement on strengthening border control.  

During their training in the Netherlands, KMAR operates based on the ideology of "train the trainer," as such, this principle was adapted so that officers of the department of IBPS become skilled and equipped on how to train their colleagues.   

Minister of Justice Anna E. Richardson stated, "One of the primary goals of the department of IBPS is to increase the overall knowledge of each officer so that they may carry out their task efficiently. As such, the community can take pride knowing that 17 of our immigration officers remain committed and dedicated to moving St. Maarten forward in the safest manner possible."

With the enforcement of immigration laws under high implementation the department of IBPS intends to continue to train its personnel to the highest possible level. These training ensure that immigration officers remain prepared to protect our borders at all times.

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Rotary Sunset Distributes 400 Hot Meals to Vulnerable Citizens

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Members and prospective members of the Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset prepared and distributed 400 hot meals to underprivileged persons in various communities on the island through its fourth annual Reach 1 Feed 1 initiative.

Reach 1 Feed 1 (R1F1), carried out annually on the last Sunday in October, is a program organized by the club to assist underprivileged families that are faced with various economic challenges especially during these unprecedented times, by providing a warm meal and a cold beverage to those in need. The project targeted districts such as Dutch Quarter, Sucker Garden, Philipsburg, Pond Island, Cay Hill, Cay Bay, St. James, and Agrément.

“The month of October marks ‘Economic and Community Development’ month for Rotary clubs worldwide and I am happy that we are able to yet again carry out this project for 4 consecutive years. I am deeply touched by the dedication and commitment from the members towards the self-preparation and execution of so many meals in a matter of hours. It is always a pleasure to give back to our community in whatever way we can, and I hope that in doing so we can bring more awareness to the economic hardships that many of our fellow citizens and residents are faced with daily, especially during this ongoing worldwide pandemic,” Rotary Sunset Service Projects Chair Jaida Nisbett stated.

The Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset would like to thank its partners; the members of the Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset, for preparing the meals, the St. Dominic Primary School for allowing us to use their premises to prepare the meals for delivery and Mr. Russell Bell, Mr. Mario and Mr. Ricky of Elle Si Belle Tours for providing the transportation to all the districts visited. The club encourages the community at large to do their part in assisting where possible, which in turn will improve the island’s economy and community.

The Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset meets every second and fourth Monday of the month at Carl N Sons Unique Inn and Conference Facilities in Colebay at 7:30pm. The club can be contacted via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or via the official Facebook page at facebook.com/rotarysxmsunset.

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Sarah on the Vineyard Heights/Over the Bank land, “Let’s see if parliament’s motions have any teeth”

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - In the view of Member of Parliament (MP) Sarah Wescot, “The coalition might have breathed a sigh of relief, following the contentious meetings of parliament on the long lease land policies of government, but this saga seems far from over. In the case of the Vineyard Heights/Over the Bank land, concerns remain regarding the mounting claims by inheritors.”

It is on this matter, that the public meeting of parliament produced 3 motions directed to the ministry of VROMI.

Motion no. 1 dated October 20th, i.a. called for cessation of all handlings regarding Vine Yard Height/Over the Bank, until a policy is put in place and the infrastructure is done.

“It would be interesting to ascertain whether the minister of VROMI has even entertained this motion or has he thumbed his nose at the parliament? In addition to that question, are 2 related issues that surfaced following the meetings of parliament. If accurate, these issues would be completely opposite to what the minister told the members of parliament.”

The first issue is an overview that surfaced on social media that would suggest a meticulous registration of the first set of applicants for land at Over the Bank. If this is factual, it contradicts what the minister presented to parliament.

And then there is this claim that government is unlawfully owner of the land in question, presumably by heirs to the land.

The minister is sticking to a legal opinion, which according to his statement, dismisses this claim against the government.

The minister of VROMI has some explaining to do and I am therefore using my right as member of parliament to solicit clear and honest answers from the minister.

Questions:

Has the motion to refrain from further action or any part thereof been executed? If so, which part(s) and how? If not, why not?

Recently again the Vineyard Heights/Over the Bank land has been challenged by claimants to the inheritance of the property. In the meeting of parliament, I requested the legal brief that advised the minister that these claims did not affect the government’s actions in connection with the property in question.

Are the Minister and advisor still of the same view? Please share the legal opinion with parliament soonest.

The minister stated in the meetings of parliament that official information regarding the initial recipients of land at Over the Bank was lacking/missing in government’s records. Yet, published documents tell another story. Has the Minister seen the document, circulating on social media? Is this document accurate? Has the Minister verified why this information was not (made) available?

MP Wescot concluded her statement by expressing the hope that the minister would promptly and truthfully respond to these questions.

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Prime Minister Jacobs meets with civil servants on Constitutional Court decision

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs met with the government organization on Friday, November 5, 2021, to render an update on the decision taken by the Constitutional Court concerning the three Temporary National Ordinances to reduce the employment benefits of the civil servants, (semi) public sector workers, and political authorities. The result of the verdict signifies that the legislation will go into effect three weeks after the day after the verdict was rendered.

Prime Minister Jacobs told the organization, “Although Government’s position was confirmed by the court, the only constant in all that has transpired is your dedication and commitment, and I appreciate that so very much. This is a tough time for all, and I sincerely empathize with the organization for the sacrifices they continue to make for the people of St. Maarten. This is not our permanent state as the laws are of a temporary nature, and will be retracted once we are able to handle our financial obligations independently. As strongly emphasized by the Court this government will continue to consider the human dimension when making decisions on the next steps forward.”

The Council of Ministers will be meeting with the Committee for Civil Servants Unions and the respective unions next week November 17, to finalize the steps in which the ordinances will be implemented. Thereafter, an update will be provided to all civil servants in a follow-up meeting with the organization.

During the meeting Prime Minister Jacobs also announced her intention to grant Friday, November 12, as a day off for all civil servants following St. Martin Day which will be celebrated on Thursday, November 11th.

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Police monitoring border situation as situation deteriorates

SINT MAARTEN (BELVEDERE) - The Police Force of Sint Maarten KPSM is monitoring and analyzing the situation at one of the border crossings with the French side (St. Martin).    

In the process of monitoring the Belvedere-French Quarter crossing, it became apparent that a group of masked individuals had barricaded the border with construction materials. The situation has now deteriorated to the point where those wishing to cross presumably have to pay a “border crossing” fee.

Due to the prevailing situation, KPSM urges drivers wishing to cross to the French side to use an alternative route.

The police will continue to monitor this situation. (KPSM)  

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Biennial Live Emergency Drill Exercise Staged at the Princess Juliana International Airport

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY-AIRPORT) - Despite the weather conditions, it was a momentous morning at the Princess Juliana International Airport for both the emergency responders and management alike, as the Princess Juliana International Airport in conjunction with the St. Maarten Government Emergency Support Functions Department (Disaster Management) hosted its biennial live Emergency Drill Exercise at the airside on Tuesday, November 2, 2021. At approximately 9:40 am a large-scale drill was executed in the proximity of the taxiway BRAVO on the airport’s runway. 

The testing of the aerodrome emergency plan is a standard requirement at airports by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and sanctioned by St. Maarten Civil Aviation Authority (SMCAA). 

Taking up his post at the Emergency Management Center of the control tower, the Airport Chief Brian Mingo acknowledged “The mandatory drill exercise serves to evaluate the various emergency agencies' response, procedure, and contingency plans should an aircraft accident occur, on or in the vicinity of the airport. Simultaneously, there was the testing of the quality and the abilities of the procedures as stipulated in the airport’s Emergency Management Manual.” 

The re-enactment of the large-scale scenario involved students of the American University of the Caribbean (AUC) and the National Institute for Professional Advancement (NIPA). Before the emergency exercise, residents were forewarned by the SXM Airport’s Corporate Communications not to become alarmed, as the mock drill response and rescue operation involved alarming roadway activity by the rescue and firefighting, ambulance, marines, and police units. 

In a requested statement on today’s drill, the PJIAE Deputy Fire Chief, Gerald Baptiste disclosed that the evaluation team will assess the various disciplines (Rescue and Firefighting, Airport Security, Air Traffic Service, Police, Airport Emergency Management Team, and Ambulance) activities and the handling of the mitigation of the entire staged incident, as laid down in the Airport’s Emergency Management Manual. The exercise was followed by a debriefing at the St. Maarten’s Red Cross on the Airport Road and was dubbed a success.

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US Board: Court ruling will stifle middle class, further Dutch plans

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The United St. Maarten (US) party expressed disappointment with the verdict of the Constitutional Court to uphold the three ordinances in connection with income and benefit cuts, despite the existence of laws that protect workers’ rights.

The party board is of the opinion that the court used convenient excuses and considerations to arrive at the underlying reason for its verdict: that it upheld the laws because St. Maarten needed liquidity support. Nothing should ever supersede the constitutional rights of the people. The verdict showed that the National Alliance led coalition government did not consider the far reaching consequences or research how the laws would affect the people. “But neither did the court. Nor did it address the trampling of workers’ rights which the three ordinances clearly do,” the US board said.

“This verdict further strengthens the Dutch agenda to financially weaken the country and stifle the little middle class that is left. It opens the door for the establishment of the COHO and the various entities, some financial in nature, that is scheduled to be setup on St. Maarten under the COHO. This is all being facilitated by the National Alliance led government,” the US board said.

“A burnt bridge that was not crossed” is how the board of the US party described the statement by the Constitutional Court that the St. Maarten and Dutch governments not lose sight of the “human dimensions” of enacting the three national ordinances in connection with income and benefit cuts. In other words, “the National Alliance government did not consider the far reaching consequences or research how the laws would affect the people. The National Alliance government now fully owns the setbacks and hardships many families and public servants are encountering,” the board said.

The board continued: “The acceptance without negotiation of the three laws that have not only stifled the growth of our middle class, but will ultimately set them back for a unspecified period of time, has yet to be complemented by an economic recovery plan to offset the cost of living that is shooting through the roof. At a time when countries around the world including the Netherlands were finding ways to maintain the livelihoods of their people and stimulate their economies the Jacobs cabinet was busy agreeing to counter-productive instructions and making decisions hoping to be rescued by the constitutional court.”

The US board stressed that the Jacobs norm, which represents a cap on the earning abilities of St. Maarten’s brightest and most talented people who manage to retain executive positions on at government owned companies, offers no incentives to graduating students, and those that have acquired experience in their fields of study.

According to State Secretary Raymond Knops, the board continues, St. Maarten lack the capacity to implement and or execute the country packages that Prime Minister Jacobs has signed on to. “It then begs the question, with limitations placed on the earning capacity of our people, how are we expected to address our capacity issues? Are we to assume that our capacity issues will be addressed and financed under the umbrella of COHO to circumvent the three laws accepted and imposed without negotiation and a defined time line?”

The US board also noted that the court somehow used the minimum wage to partly justify its ruling. With the court pointing out that at least the minimum wage wasn’t affected, it created a false impression that citizens are living a good life on the minimum wage. “The court’s considerations in arriving at its verdict were off-base and weren’t helped by the fact that there was a serious on lack of data to counter those considerations. Which means the government didn’t care enough to properly prepare its legal representatives,” the board said.

“We recall that the National Alliance from its origins of SPA/SPM days, had always championed itself as a fighter for the rights and livelihood of the middle class citizens of this country. How could this modern day NA stray so far from its history, its core beliefs and principles. The far reaching consequences of the decision by the National Alliance led coalition to accept and implement the so called 3 laws voted for by all the members of parliament except MP Christopher Emmanuel was never taken into consideration said the board,” the US board said.

The US board is of the opinion that all of the life changing agreements and or decisions made thus far by the Jacobs cabinet were void of the human dimension, because the only motivation given thus far by Honourable Prime Minister Jacobs is that “our backs were against the wall”. “Members of parliament who motivated their votes against the 3 laws presented, did so in an attempt to show solidarity with the people, only to turn around and vote in support of the motion that stripped civil servants and workers of government owned companies of their spending power, and benefits,” the US board said.

“The National Alliance who once championed themselves as the defenders of the middle class, have seemingly abandoned that position in the last year and a half and most recently passed it on to the constitutional court who in-turn passed it right back. How can our people ever place any level of confidence in the National Alliance again?” the US board concluded.

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Five Injured in A.J.C. Brouwers road accident on early Sunday morning

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On Sunday, October 31, 2021, at approximately 1:30am, Police Central Dispatch received various reports of a car accident that had occurred on A.J.C. Brouwers Road in which one of the drivers was allegedly injured.  

Several police patrols and ambulance personnel were dispatched to the location. At the scene, it became apparent that there had been an accident between a blue Hyundai i10 and a green Chevrolet Spark. 

During the preliminary investigation, it was found that the driver of the Hyundai i10, which was driving on A.J.C. Brouwers Road, tried to turn left to enter Tiger Road. Simultaneously, the Chevrolet was approaching from the direction of Cole Bay. The result was in a serious collision.

The five people involved in the accident were injured. They were all were treated by the ambulance personnel at the scene and later transported to Sint Maarten Medical Center. After receiving medical attention, they were all discharged.

The investigation into this accident is still ongoing. (KPSM)  

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PFP requests public meeting to vote on President of Parliament. UD, UP, USP and Emmanuel sign on

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Stemming from the recently leaked, controversial statements of President of Parliament Rolando Brison, Party for Progress (PFP) Members of Parliament (MPs) Melissa Gumbs and Raeyhon Peterson have called on MP Brison to resign from his position. If he does not comply, the PFP MPs have submitted a request for an urgent public meeting on the issue, where Parliament can officially remove MP Brison with a majority vote.

Before submitting the request, MP Gumbs called a meeting of faction leaders on Monday afternoon, November 1, 2021, to discuss the matter directly with MP Brison. In addition to MP Gumbs, four other faction leaders signed on to the public meeting request. These are MP Grisha Heyliger-Marten of United People’s (UP) Party, MP Claudius Buncamper of United Sint Maarten Party (USP), Independent MP Christophe Emmanuel, and MP Sarah Wescot-Williams of United Democrats (UD).

The public meeting is to be called no later than Friday, November 5, 2021, and MPs would vote on removing MP Brison from the position of President of Parliament. If passed, Brison would still remain a Member of Parliament.

In the controversial voice clip - which circulated widely on social media on Friday, October 29, 2021 - Brison could be heard talking about “making deals” with “the young boys” in National Alliance (NA) and how current Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure (VROMI) Egbert Doran will not comply with the Motion of Disapproval passed against him. Brison also openly spoke of MP Heyliger-Marten not being able to receive a permit because of her recent stances in opposition to the Government.

MPs Gumbs and Peterson have condemned these statements, characterizing them as unacceptable, disrespectful and a threat to our democratic processes.

“While much of the focus has been on the insults to that MP, this goes deeper than that. The statements clearly show that our President of Parliament is okay with Ministers ignoring Parliament’s instructions and using their office for personal and political retribution and intimidation. I am not okay with that and I have expressed this directly to MP Brison,” said MP Gumbs. “If it were only insults, we could have accepted an apology. But there are also insinuations of collusion, nepotism, and the shadowy interests of third parties. The President of Parliament has demonstrated that he is fine with some persons in the coalition violating the principles of good governance and trampling on our democratic processes. As a leader of this country, this is unforgivable.”

“The PFP faction is committed to good governance and accountability among our elected and appointed officials. This is why we submitted the Motion of Disapproval against Minister Doran, to ensure that there is a fair and objective process in the distribution of long-lease land in the Over The Bank area. The motion was passed with a substantial majority and all the factions leaders, including MP Brison’s faction leader, voted in favour,” said MP Peterson. “Ensuring accountability is the same motivation we have in calling for the MP’s resignation as Chairman. The President of Parliament is tasked with a certain level of complete objectivity at all times, in public and in private, and this does not only count for MP Brison, but for anyone who wishes to take up the role of President of Parliament. If they cannot, then the PFP faction is ready to take the necessary steps.”

“This evolving scandal is not about MP Brison’s role as a representative of his political party, but his role as the head of Parliament, the people’s highest representative body,” explained MP Peterson. “The people deserve to have a President of Parliament that respects the authority of Parliament as a check on Government’s power. This is more important than what was signed on to in a coalition agreement. ”

The PFP MPs do not believe that this matter is an internal party conflict, as mentioned by MP Heyliger-Marten in a press statement over the weeked and Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs in a radio interview on Monday morning.  

“As such, it is the people’s representatives who need to decide on how to handle this breach of public trust and confidence, not the individual party boards,” said MP Gumbs. “It is a stain on our country for the President of Parliament to openly enable certain Ministers to avoid accountability to Parliament and to continue their wrongdoing. I urge my fellow MPs to join this faction in cleaning up the stains.”

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