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Soualiga Newsday Latest News (2515)

Community assistance needed to locate suspect who robbed supermarket on Wednesday

SINT MAARTEN (MIDDLE REGION) - Detectives of the Special Unit Robberies are investigating a robbery that took place on Wednesday afternoon February 24th, 2021 at approximately 12.30 pm, on a supermarket located on the Middle Region road, the police said in a statement on Thursday evening.

According to the store employees, who provided a statement to the officer on the scene, a man dressed in black clothing wearing face masks entered the Supermarket brandishing a firearm.

The perpetrator demanded an undisclosed amount of cash from the cashier and then fled the scene on foot in an unknown direction after robbing the establishment.

The officers did a quick search in the area of Middle Region, but the suspect could not be located.

The Detective Department investigating this armed robbery case is asking anyone, who may have any information regarding the robbery to contact the Sint Maarten

Police Force at +1 721- 542 22 22 ext. 204 or 205.

Persons can also use the anonymous tip-line by dialing 9300 or send a message to our Facebook page (Police Force of Sint Maarten - Korps Politie Sint Maarten) The Police Force is asking the community of Sint Maarten and businesses to remain vigilant during this period. (KPSM)

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155 seniors vaccinated on Thursday. CPS & VMT provide updates on vaccination appointments

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – On Thursday the 25th of February, the White & Yellow Cross Care Foundation (WYCCF) vaccinated 155 persons who are 60+, with their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

Persons within this priority risk group officially registered themselves via the online link on the Government website and received an invitation for their appointment via email or WhatsApp, with a day, time, and location for their first vaccination.

During the day, it was noticed that there were instances, where some people forgot to confirm their appointment by clicking the link in the invitation email.

This is important because to ensure that everyone receives and reads the invitation, to avoid ''no-shows''. Every location receives a specific number of vaccines based on the number of people scheduled for that day. So, if someone does not show up for their appointment while there is a vaccine reserved for them, this could lead to spillage or vaccines going to waste.

This should be avoided because the vaccines are very scarce, which is why the confirmation of your appointment is an important and necessary step.

Confirming your appointment can be done by simply clicking on the link in the invitation. Based on this first experience, the Collective Prevention Service (CPS) and the Vaccination Management Team (VMT) emphasizes the importance of this step in the process and will communicate this to the public through various forms of media.

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Chris: Airline handlers’ letter is biggest indictment of PJIA CEO

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Independent Member of Parliament (MP) Christophe Emmanuel on Wednesday said that a letter from the St. Maarten Airline Handlers Association (SAHA) and its Airline Operating Committee (AOC) is the biggest indictment yet presented against Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA) Brian Mingo.

“When the representative of all major airlines, your most important stakeholder, decries working conditions that go against basic principles in aviation, then it is past time that you pack up and leave or the airport holding board finalizes his dismissal,” the MP said.

On February 22, the AOC sent a letter to Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs drawing her attention to what it termed an urgent matter regarding the airport’s reconstruction project. Most notably, the AOC mentioned compromising of airline safety and security and requesting a clear statement from PJIA of how increased fees were used by PJIA. The letter was also sent to Parliament, the Minister of TEATT, the CEO of PJIA Brian Mingo and the holding board of the airport.

MP Emmanuel said the AOC pointed out that airline and handler staff is still housed in sea containers that serve as offices for the past three years and, based on a recent update by PJIA on new offices, could be still in these containers for another 3 years. “They clearly told the Prime Minister that the working conditions at this point are unacceptable,” the MP said.

“Even more scary, the AOC told the Prime Minister that the ongoing poor working conditions can lead to lack of employee focus, leading to poor judgment resulting in an increase in human error that can potentially jeopardize operational safety and security. On top of that they can’t apply the rules and regulations for COVID-19 (social distancing) which puts the staff at an increased risk of contagion,” the MP said.

SAHA in its letter to the PM also echoed the MP in terms of revisiting the entire reconstruction project. “When I speak, some say I am fear-mongering. But this isn’t me speaking now. I want to quote the SAHA verbatim: “Safety and security departments in all companies operating at PJIA are becoming more concerned and as such SAHA is raising the alarm to urge PJIA management for a complete revision of the priority settings stages of the reconstruction plan.” So our major airline handlers are telling you to revisit the project. I said to scale back on the necessities only. This includes taking care of employees,” the MP said.

The MP said according to SAHA in 2019 the industry, through consultation with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and PJIA, agreed to increase the airport improvement fee. This fee is paid by airline customers and is between US $5.50 to $11.00. In 2020 PJIA indicated that traffic volumes were lower than anticipated and as such the fee was raised to US $12.50.

“PJIA told SAHA and by extension the airlines, that these fees were urgently needed for the reconstruction. With the reconstruction in the state that it is in, SAHA like the rest of us want to know where and how the money was spent. How embarrassing it is that the Prime Minister of a country has to get such a letter. Which clearly means that the CEO and board of PJIA have not been communicating nor have they been transparent with their most important stakeholders,” the MP said.

“This is the biggest indictment yet against the CEO along with the letter from employees who want him gone. Hopefully the airport holding company finalizes his dismissal and that of the supervisory board sooner rather than later,” the MP concluded.

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WYCCF Quality Nurse Claudette Rijff receives first COVID-19 vaccine on Monday

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – On Monday morning February 22, the first COVID-19 vaccine inoculations took place, a very important step in heading into a post-COVID-19 era.

The White and Yellow Cross Care Foundation (WYCCF) at St. John’s Estate, was the place where the first COVID-19 vaccine in the country took place. The event which was live streamed via the Government of Sint Maarten Facebook page, started out by Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs officially launching the vaccination campaign.

In her opening remarks, the Prime Minister mentioned the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the community which started almost a year ago. The loss of loved ones as well as the harsh financial impact on the national economy were some of the key areas that the Prime Minister point out.

Jacobs added how the country has been looking forward to the day that the vaccine would become available and that day is finally here, the day that the Government commences with phase 1 of the COVID-19 vaccination rollout plan.

Acting Minister of Public Health, Social Development, and Labor (Ministry VSA), Ludmila de Weever, addressed in her opening remarks on behalf of Minister of VSA Richard Panneflek, that Monday marked a special milestone for the country.

Minister De Weever added that Sint Maarten is now one of the countries in the world, privileged to have COVID-19 vaccines, which is a step in the right direction for public health. The organization of this operation wasn’t easy, Minister De Weever pointed out, and thanked, Minister Panneflek, the Collective Prevention Service (CPS), the Department of Public Health, Pharmacies, stakeholders, General Practitioners, the vaccine management team, workstream officers, and their support staff who contributed their expertise, time, and energy to this operation.

Minister De Weever also last but not least, thanked the Netherlands for providing the vaccines to Sint Maarten.

The manager of operations, of the White & Yellow Cross Care Foundation (WYCCF), Bregje Boetekees welcomed everyone to the WYCCF and mentioned that it was an honor to have the first vaccine on the island given to one of their dedicated nurses.

WYCCF Quality Nurse, Claudette Rijff, was the first one to receive the vaccine. The vaccine was administered live, while Bregje Boetekees explained the vaccination procedure. Nurse Claudette mentioned that she felt fine and was honored to be the first on the island to receive the vaccine. She said she was proud to be part of the solution to be able to pave the way for others: “I take it to protect you, now you take it to protect someone else’’.

Working in the COVID-19-unit, allowed her to see and experience the effect of the COVID-19 virus on vulnerable clients. I take the vaccine because I want to protect my clients, co-workers, and community, Claudette said. She also mentioned that initially, she was a bit doubtful of taking the vaccine too. Though after she did her research and got convinced that it’s safe and decided that she wants to make a difference. We want things to go back to normal, and the economy to recover, so I would advise everyone to come together and do the right thing, because we are stronger together, Claudette pointed out.

Bregje Boetekees continued by saying that after the live feed, the vaccination at the WYCCF will commence for clients and healthcare workers with direct client contact. In the elderly care unit, where they felt the impact of COVID-19, like no one else, a whopping 86% signed up to receive the vaccine.

Boetekees mentioned that for some it has almost been a year, since they last hugged or kissed their children or grandchildren or attended a church service or family gathering. These clients know, like no other, that this vaccine is a lifesaver. She then referred to the incredibly positive results in Israel, where there is a tremendous decline in infections and hospitalizations under the vaccinated population.

This shows that the vaccine is effective, though enough people need to take the vaccine to accomplish this. “So, I urge you, to sign up today’’. “Because if we all sign up and take the vaccine, it will not be a small step towards normalcy, it will be a giant leap.”

CPS Head, Eva Lista-de Weever then remarked that she felt honored to be part of this national accomplishment and hoped that everyone will join her in registering for the vaccine. Either via the online link (which will soon be made available in different languages) or via the paperback form which can be picked up at several locations, including CPS, Doctors’ offices, the Government Administration Building, and select pharmacies.

Completed forms can be dropped off at the CPS. In her closing remarks, she said that she will be taking the vaccine this week and motivates others to do the same. “Sint Maarten let us do our part to reduce COVID-19. Together, we are protected.’’

Acting Minister of Public Health, Social Development & Labor De Weever, concluded by congratulating everyone involved in this process, and encouraged everyone that this is the safest way for the country. The vaccine is safe, free of charge, and cannot change your DNA. It will be available to everyone who currently resides on the Dutch side, and no immigration checks will be done, and your information will be handled confidentially, so please register, and protect our island, the minister said on Monday.

Lastly, Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs closed off by saying that we are very fortunate to have received the vaccine, as many countries much bigger than Sint Maarten have not. This is the largest rollout drive of vaccines that Sint Maarten has ever seen before and we will all get the opportunity to receive the vaccine.

''I for one will definitely get vaccinated when it is my turn, and I encourage each and every one of you to do the same and register for the vaccine,'' the prime minister reiterated. She expressed gratitude to the Kingdom partners, CPS, Ministers, ministries, and stakeholders for all their hard work in the planning and realization of this project.

Nurse Claudette received her Vaccination Passport, and the Facebook live stream was concluded by the Department of Communication (DCOMM) host Roylyka Roache. The live stream can be re-viewed on the Government of Sint Maarten Facebook page, YouTube channel and also via Cable TV.

Persons interested in receiving the vaccine can sign up via https://bit.ly3tOsJLa or using a form that can be collected at the Collective Prevention Services (CPS) Vineyard Office Park Building, the Division of Labor Affairs at the Simpson Bay Public Service Center in Simpson Bay, or at the Government Administration Building.

People who have questions about underlying conditions regarding the vaccine are advised to consult their family physician.

Other questions about vaccination can be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call CPS at 914.

PDW 7717

WYCCF Quality Nurse, Claudette Rijff holding her Vaccine Passport. 

 

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Minister of Sports Samuel delivers game two opening pitch

SINT MAARTEN (BELVEDERE) - Honorable Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports drs. Rodolphe Samuel delivered the game two opening pitch on Saturday February 20, 2021 on the Belvedere ballpark between 721 Elite and Hammer, according to a press statement from the minister’s cabinet. 721 elite won against hammer 6-4.

This game was the second game in the Pelican League Championship series. The series started officially on Friday February 19, 2021 at the Little League Ballpark where the 721 elite faced the team Young Blue Jays, 721 elite won against young blue Jay's 12-2,

Today Sunday February 21 the games continued at the Belvedere Ball field with The Hammers facing the Young Blue Jays , Hammers won Hammers won against young blue Jay's 8 -5

The pelican league was established in 2021.

There are four teams that will be playing in the series, Dimar Labega, President of Monster Factory Foundation is assisting The Pelican Baseball League with the promotion of the Championship Series.

The vision is to have more teams participate and we encourage the community to get involved with assisting the league and its young players.

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Vaccines arrive Friday, inoculations starts Monday

SABA (THE BOTTOM) - Today, Friday, February 19, Saba will receive 1,500 Moderna vaccines from the Netherlands. The batch will arrive per Medivac helicopter from St. Maarten. Saba requested a 100 more than the initial amount of 1,400, as many people have pre-registered and the extra vaccines are needed to ensure that the entire adult population can be vaccinated.

Saba Health Care and Public Health Saba are fully prepared and ready for the vaccination program which will last seven days, from Monday, February 22 to Monday, March 1. Health care authorities are contacting preregistered persons with an appointment date and time. Vaccination starts on Monday morning with health care workers, 60 plus persons and people between the age of 18 and 60 with a medical condition from The Bottom and St. John’s.

The vaccination takes place at the Eugenius Johnson Center on all days, except Wednesday, February 24 when some health care workers, residents of the old age home and clients of the Life Center will be vaccinated at the hospital.

On Tuesday, February 23, preregistered residents from Windwardside and Hell’s Gate age 60 and over and persons between the age of 18 and 60 with a medical condition. Falling in the medical conditions category are: persons with a chronic heart, lung and kidney disease, persons with diabetes and persons with a decreased immune system.

On Thursday, February 25, preregistered residents from The Bottom and St. John’s between the age of 40 and 60 will be vaccinated in the morning hours, followed by residents from Windwardside and Hell’s Gate in the same age group in the afternoon.

On Friday morning, preregistered residents of The Bottom and St. John’s between the age 18 and 39 will be vaccinated and in the afternoon persons of the same age group from Windwardside and Hell’s Gate. On Saturday morning, February 27 and on Monday morning, March 1, persons who did not register beforehand are invited to vaccinate. These days are also open for people who registered but who were unable to make it at their allotted time and day.

There will be two vaccination stations at the Eugenius Johnson Center, with two nurses at each station. If needed, a third, flexible station can be added. A medical doctor will always be present at the vaccination location. Persons have to stay another 15 minutes in the observation area after the vaccination as a safety precaution in very rare cases of an allergic reaction. A video with information about the vaccination route and guidelines will shortly be released.

Saba’s request for an additional 100 vaccines based on the success of registration has been honored. The 1,500 vaccines that arrive on Friday will be sufficient to inoculate the entire adult population. Up to the last day of preregistration on Wednesday, February 17, some 1,200 persons had signed up for the vaccination, which is a high number, especially when compared to other islands. The second round of vaccination will take place late March.

Medical personnel who will be administering the vaccines has received the necessary training in the past week. The last training, a so-called dry run, took place on Thursday, February 18. Vaccination coordinator Tedisha Gordon of the Public Health Department said that the preparations have been going really well and that the community response has been very good. The Planning Team has been working hard to get everything ready and to make sure that the vaccination process goes smooth. The team has not been able to reach all registered people to give them their appointments; people who are registered but did not receive an appointment are encouraged to come on the day as elaborated above.

The vaccines will be brought from the Netherlands to St. Maarten by the Royal Dutch Airlines KLM, after which they will be loaded onto the medivac helicopter for Saba and St. Eustatius. At hand to witness the arrival of the vaccines will be Island Governor Jonathan Johnson, Commissioner Bruce Zagers and public health doctor Koen Hulshof.

Thursday vaccination training 03

 

 

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1600 so far register for the vaccine

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - Since our COVID-19 vaccination registration launched last week Thursday, over 1600 persons have already registered to receive the vaccine. 

On behalf of the Vaccine Management Team, Minister Panneflek would like to thank the public for their questions and the Minister hope that the information presented, provided clarity on some of the concerns brought forward.

One point of concern brought forward last week which may have caused some confusion regarding a statement made on underlying conditions and eligibility for the vaccine; a person taking blood thinners is not a reason to not take the vaccine.  All persons are encouraged to engage in conversation with their doctors if they have any questions or concerns about their underlying medical conditions and their eligibility to receive the vaccine. 

As a reminder to the public, the vaccination administration locations will start at CPS and then will roll out to community help desks (not the community centers) in Cole Bay and Dutch Quarter.  Any change to these locations will be communicated in a timely manner to the public.

For questions about vaccinations, the public can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call CPS.

The Minister would like to remind everyone of the necessary precautions to safeguard their health, that of their families and our community. If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, stay at home and call your family doctor. Most importantly, continue to wear a mask, practice 2-meters social distancing, sanitize and wash your hands frequently.

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MP Emmanuel says Mingo must go in order to protect airport employees

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Independent Member of Parliament (MP) Christophe Emmanuel on Wednesday called on the Princess Juliana Airport Holding Company (PJIAH) to “make haste” to formalize the dismissal of CEO of PJIA Brian Mingo and save the airport employees from victimization.

The MP, who has accused the CEO and other Dutch consultants of fleecing the airport, said he has been made to understand that the CEO is very pre-occupied with trying to determine how Members of Parliament was in possession of confidential information.

This comes after several MP’s raised several concerning questions on Monday about the ongoing re-construction of the airport. Most notably among those were MP Emmanuel who highlighted the amount of money consultants are being paid, the alleged double payment of Mingo, the benefits and perks of these same persons as well as the fact that the airport re-construction bottom line is now at US $131 million, up from US $107 million.

The MP on Wednesday said he knows that government have most if not all of the information that he presented in the Parliament meeting. “It should not have been left to MP’s to raise the issue. The government should have handled this situation already with the information they have. And if they don’t have it, it is negligence on their part. So the question is now, will the government sit by and do nothing? MP’s are the only people employees of these companies can turn to in order to be treated fairly and in the best interest of the country,” MP Emmanuel said.  

“Once again we see the airport CEO pre-occupied with things other than controlling costs overrun at the airport and the actual completion of the reconstruction. The pandora’s box was opened and now he is reportedly hunting for someone to victimize,” MP Emmanuel said.

“He is creating an unhealthy and dark atmosphere at the airport, as if airport employees don’t have to worry about enough such as possible loss of income and benefits, now they have to be concerned about a CEO that is unhinged. I urge the holding company to follow its corporate governance directives and as soon as possible dismiss the CEO of the airport. It should have happened already,” MP Emmanuel said.

MP Emmanuel also urged the replacement of the operating board of PJIAE who he said is empowering the CEO and contributing to the mis-management of the airport reconstruction. 

He went on to say that a capable and caring leader would have taken the first opportunity after the “grilling in Parliament” to re-assure employees about the airport’s plans moving forward, in which they are included and treated fairly. Instead, the MP continued, the CEO and his right hand CFO have yet to answer the employee’s questions about the money owed to them and their future status.

“Again, his approach is a selfish one that seeks to protect himself and intimidate employees. This atmosphere at PJIA is not conducive for progress and definitely not a comfortable place for what should be a dedicated and committed work force, something we have always known the airport employees to be. One person has negatively influenced that working spirit and it is time for that person to go and go now,” MP Emmanuel said.    

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PRO SOUALIGA REQUESTS UN DECOLONIZATION RESOLUTION FROM DUTCH STATE

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - For more than sixty years, Resolution 945X has been falsely used as a legal instrument to quantify the decolonization of the former Netherlands Antilles, the Pro Soualiga Foundation said in a Monday press statement.

“Since Resolution 945X does not state that "Chapter XI can no longer be applied to the Netherlands Antilles", Pro Soualiga has sent a letter to Minister of Foreign Affairs Stef Blok, State Secretary Knops, and the Permanent Mission of the Netherlands to the United Nations requesting them to provide any UN Resolution which clearly states that "Chapter XI no longer applies to the Netherlands Antilles."

“During the 1950s, Puerto Rico (1953), Greenland (1954), Alaska (1959), and Hawaii (1959) were all decolonized.

Puerto Rico's UN Resolution 748 (VIII) states "Chapter XI of the Charter can no longer be applied to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico."

Greenland's UN Resolution 849 (IX) states "Chapter XI of the Charter can no longer be applied to Greenland."

Alaska and Hawaii's UN Resolution 1469 (XIV) states "Chapter XI of the Charter can no longer be applied to Alaska and Hawaii."

Netherlands Antilles' UN Resolution 945X DOES NOT state that "Chapter XI no longer applies to the Netherlands Antilles."

“As previously mentioned, the Netherlands Antilles' UN Resolution 945X of 1955 DOES NOT contain any verbiage stating, "Chapter XI no longer applies to the Netherlands Antilles." With that being the case, Pro Soualiga is kindly requesting the Dutch State to produce ANY United Nations Resolution which states that Chapter XI is no longer applicable to the Netherlands Antilles.

“Bear in mind, the Netherlands is currently a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council and has pledged to "respect all human rights, including civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights, at home and around the globe...." In February of 2020, Minister of Foreign Affairs Stef Blok declared before the Human Rights Council in Geneva that "my support goes out to those who struggle to secure human rights and uphold them."

“In January of 2021, Minister Blok asserted "we know that the road to justice, begins with knowing the truth." We sincerely wish that the honorable Minister will live up to his benevolent remarks regarding "knowing the truth" by providing any UN Resolution declaring that "Chapter XI no longer applies to the Netherlands Antilles," the Pro Soualiga Foundation concludes.

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Woman robbed by armed bandit after returning home at 3.00am

SINT MAARTEN ((FORT WILLIAM) - On Saturday morning February the 13th 2021, around 3:00 am in the early morning hours, the Central dispatch directed several patrols to Fort William for an armed robbery.

According to the preliminary investigations, the female victim had just arrived at her home and parked the vehicle by her entrance. She was approached by a male dressed in dark clothing and brandishing a firearm.

She was robbed of her personal belongings and an undisclosed amount of money under the threat of a firearm. The suspect later fled on foot in an unknown direction. The police are busy investigating this armed robbery. (KPSM)

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