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Soualiga News II (3828)

Good start for local thrift shop Saba Red Cross

SABA (WINDWARDSIDE) — Being committed to sustainability, the Saba Red Cross last year started the first thrift shop on the island. Slightly used clothing and other items are given a second life via this charity initiative. The thrift shop is located at the Red Cross building in the Windwardside.

Saba, known as a green destination, has been a front-runner in several sustainability projects. Last year the Saba government issued a plastic ban on single-use plastics, which went into effect per January 1, 2021. The thrift shop of the Red Cross fits in the island’s desire to further improve recycling and sustainability.

Clothes and items that before would have been thrown away, now find their way to new happy owners. All items are in good condition and prices vary from US $1 to US $5. The proceeds are used to increase the funding for emergency relief efforts and programs, and for other community-based projects that the Red Cross will offer on Saba. Donating secondhand items means contributing to the goals of the Red Cross. Since its opening in December 2020, there is a steady customer base that visit weekly. These customers are showing much appreciation for this service.

The setup of the Saba thrift shop is similar to the charity initiatives of the Salvation Army in the US and ‘Leger des Heils’ in the Netherlands. The idea of organizing a thrift shop on Saba was floating around for a while. This is one of the first community-based sustainability projects of the Red Cross on Saba. More projects will follow.

‘‘Especially in a world with increasing isolation, tension and climate change it is clear the Red Cross has to champion the individual and community values which encourage respect for other human beings and the environment, and a willingness to work together to find solutions to community-based problems,’’ said Chairman of the Red Cross Saba Board Mr. Gerald Simmons – de Jong.

The Red Cross has been increasingly active on Saba. Especially during this COVID-19 pandemic, the Red Cross has been assisting the Public Health Department and the Public Entity Saba where it can in its auxiliary role. The local and Dutch government are already doing a lot for the Saba community in both regular and COVID-19 times, and there are many other NGOs on the island that are involved with local community initiatives as well, such as the Meals on Wheels program of the Lion’s Club, the Body, Mind and Spirit Foundation and the Lion’s club. The Red Cross is working towards establishing itself better on Saba next to the already existing initiatives.

Saba Red Cross thrift shop

Some of the clothing racks at the Saba Red Cross thrift shop.

 

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Fire department issues fire warning due to dry spell

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – The Fire Department which falls under the Ministry of General Affairs, is calling on the community to be very conscious by not throwing out lighted cigarettes or matches that could result in bush fires in fire prone areas due to the dry spell that the island is currently experiencing.

Persons, who would like to burn bush or garbage in a built-up area, or on a hillside for agricultural activities, are requested to refrain from doing so, and contact the Fire Department for advice.

The inappropriate use of fire can endanger lives, property and the environment in these dry weather conditions that the country is currently experiencing.

Fires can get out of control by spreading rapidly due to high winds quickly threatening lives and property.

A person can help by reducing bush fire hazards by acting responsibly and following the aforementioned advice from the national Fire Department.

Those seeking information can contact the Fire Department at 542-1215, 542-1217, 542-6001 or in case of an emergency 919.

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Man arrested for sexual assault of a 12-year old

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Police’s Department of Juvenile and Morals of the Sint Maarten Police Force (KPSM) arrested suspect with initial R.C.R. on Monday, March 15, 2021, in connection with the sexual assault of a minor.

The assault took place when the victim was 12 years old and living on Curacao. The case is under investigation by the Curacao Police Department.

KPSM learned that the suspect had recently traveled to Sint Maarten and with consent of the Prosecutor’s Office OM SXM, the suspect was arrested on March 15. The suspect was questioned and is incarcerated pending further investigation in the ongoing case. (KPSM)

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New COVID-19 Test Center Opens at SXM Airport. Appointments or walk-ins made available at the temporary facilities

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY-AIRPORT) - Since the world began to take precautionary measures against the global pandemic as a consequent to the coronavirus (COVID-19), the team of the award-winning SXM Airport became the initiators in preventable and mitigation processes throughout its core operations on Sint Maarten. 

Today, the COVID-19 Task Force of the Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) has launched its first COVID-19 Test Center in a collaborative effort with the local Healthcare Lab.  Departing passengers now have the option to be administered an antigen test with only a fifteen (15) minute wait time for test results, before they check-in for a flight. The new temporary testing facility opened on Saturday March 20, 2021 and is stationed within a tent structure with the assigned medical professionals at-hand. The COVID-19 Test Center was erected on the Airport’s external compound and is adjacent to the employee parking area (East of the Terminal Building). 

In February 2021, the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention Department of Health and Human Services (CDC) and French Governments made a firm stance through its travel requirements, declaring that COVID-19 tests outcomes are now required prior to entry into the associated countries from any foreign country. Each passenger is now required to take a PCR Test and/or an Antigen test to board a flight. The order was implemented to achieve paramount objectives which embraces the preventing of further introduction, transmission and spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 and new virus variants. 

According to the Management Board of PJIAE N. V. in providing the added testing options they are creating an ease to be able to access the required tests and results for added convenience for the travelers. Equally, they are being optimistic that this the new resting option may positively contribute to an improved passenger growth impact. 

The price of the Antigen test is USD 110, and the headquarters is operational from 11:00am through 4:00pm. Interested parties can be tested through appointments or walk-ins at the facilities. For detailed information about the new COVID-19 Test Center please contact the Passenger Experience Department (PED) of the Princess Juliana International Airport at 1-721-546-7777.  Moreover, online users may visit the website at www.sxmairport.com and click the COVID-19 tab for all associated updates and flight information.

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Second batch of the Pfizer vaccine arrived on Friday

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – The second batch of the Pfizer vaccine, arrived in the country on Friday, March 19. The Minister of Public Health, Social Development (Ministry VSA) Richard Panneflek, was at the Princess Juliana International Airport on Friday when the shipment came in on a scheduled Royal Dutch Airlines KLM flight.

The second batch consists of 7.020 doses of the Pfizer / BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Together with the first batch, which consisted of 8.190 doses, Sint Maarten has received 15.210 doses.

Members of the community are reminded to register for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Registration can be done via the online registration form which is available in English, Spanish, and Creole, and can be found via this link: https://forms.sintmaartengov.org/form.aspx?v=OGtn05kNmb

Both Cole Bay and Dutch Quarter Community Helpdesks are currently equipped to provide information and can assist with registration on the spot. Do not forget to check the opening hours and bring a form of identification. Lastly, the paper-based “COVID Vaccine Registration Form” can be picked up at several locations, including CPS at the Vineyard Office Park Building, the Division of Labor Affairs at the Simpson Bay Public Service Center in Simpson Bay, doctors’ offices, the Government Administration Building, and select pharmacies.

If you have a friend, parent, neighbor, or relative that may need assistance with registration, transportation, or emotional support, please do your part. If you need help with the registration process, your appointment, or wish for more information about the vaccination campaign, you can also call CPS at 914 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sint Maarten, protected together.

MinVSA Arrival of the second batch of vaccines

The KLM crew along with Minister Richard Panneflek after the aircraft arrived on the island.

 

 

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Court confirms existing case law regarding civil servants in ‘acting’ functions

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - On Monday, March 15th, the Court in Civil Servants Matters rejected the claim of a police officer who claimed a right to be appointed as the Secretary-General of the Ministry of Justice, based on having acted in that position for several months.

The Court reminded the police officer that there are procedures that need to be followed before an appointment by the Governor can take place, and an acting Secretary-General should have been aware of this.

A mere public announcement by a previous Minister that someone will fill the position of Secretary-General, cannot undermine or set aside the proper procedure to appoint a civil servant in this function, which is laid down in the law.

The Ministry of Justice is confronted with a number of claims of civil servants who have been told that if they are acting in a position, they have an automatic right to be appointed to the job and should go to court to have this ‘rectified’. This information is not correct. It is standing case law that special circumstances must apply before a court will rule that a civil servant could have reasonably expected to be appointed in the function which they filled during a vacancy or in the absence of the previously appointed person. In a Curacaolean case, a period of 12 years was not sufficient to create such an expectation.

Minister of Justice Anna E. Richardson is aware of the large number of civil servants in the justice chain that are currently performing their roles in an ‘acting’ capacity, sometimes for years. As soon as the function books and scales have been established into law, the process of placing civil servants in their new functions with their updated salary scales will start.

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Riot police break up banned coronavirus demonstration in Amsterdam

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Riot police have ended a demonstration by up to 1,000 people on the Museumplein in Amsterdam, who were protesting about the government’s coronavirus regulations.

Earlier in the day, city mayor Femke Halsema had declared the Museumplein out of bounds and urged people to stay away. Nevertheless, a large group of people, some chanting ‘love, freedom, no dictatorship’ gathered on the grass.

‘Coronavirus does not exist,’ one woman told DutchNews.nl. Another said that the lockdown was all part of the government’s plan. ‘We have lost our freedom and are living in a dictatorship,’ the man in his 50s said.

After being ordered to leave, riot police used water canon in an effort to break up the crowd. Photographs show a small group of people wearing army berets, said to be army veterans, who formed an organised line at the front of the demonstration.

Several people in white coats stood behind them but it is unclear if they were actually healthcare workers. One large group of demonstrators left the area when ordered to do so and moved on to the nearby Leidsekade, where they were hemmed in by police, who announced they would all be arrested.

Ordinary GVB busses then began arriving and taking the demonstrators away. It is unclear where they were being taken. Despite the heavy police presence, the demonstrators remained calm, occasionally chanting and cheering.

A police drone flew overhead, and a large crowd gathered to watch. There have been demonstrations on the Museumplein since the introduction of the curfew at the end of January, and dozens of people have been arrested.

Police have not yet said how many people were arrested on Saturday afternoon.

(DutchNews)

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USP and MP Emmanuel congratulates Garrick Richardson as new SG of Parliament

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The board of the United St. Maarten Party (USP) on Friday congratulated Garrick Richardson for his appointment as the new Secretary General (SG) of Parliament, the USP said in a media statement. Richardson has been active in the position for quite some time as Acting Secretary General. Parliament approved his appointment on Friday, March 19.

The party described Richardson as a dedicated public servant and an example of what a young person can achieve in their country once given the opportunity.

“We our young and brightest people leave home to go study abroad, most are all filled with anticipation of coming back home to serve and apply the knowledge they have acquired. Mr. Richardson has been putting in the world and deserves his new position because he has worked hard for it. Congratulations to him and let’s celebrate what his appointment represents,” the USP stated.

Independent Member of Parliament (MP) Christophe Emmanuel on Friday in a press release said the appointment of Garrick Richardson as Secretary General of Parliament was “well deserved”, and that Richardson is an efficient professional with whom he has had the pleasure of working.

Richardson was appointed on March 19 after holding the position in an “acting” capacity for some time. MP Emmanuel said Richardson has an “extensive and impressive” education and professional background.

Richardson holds a Masters Degree of Law, a Masters Degree of Legislation and a Bachelors of Law from the University of Tilburg and Hoogeschool Leiden. He has also worked in the Dutch Second Chamber as a lawyer and at St. Maarten’s Ministry of Justice and Ministry of General Affairs.

While in The Netherlands Richarsdon was also active with the Student Support Services Foundation (S4), devoting time to helping young St. Maarteners in Holland. “He has always maintained a link with home, never forgot where he was from. Now he gets the opportunity to continue serving in the highest government body in the country,” MP Emmanuel said.

“Having worked with him in Parliament I can say that Garrick is efficient, thorough and hard-working. It is always a good feeling when you cane elevate one of your own who has put in the work to be in a position to reap the benefits of hard work. Congrats to him and his family,” the MP said.

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Police officer arrested by National Detectives in ongoing investigation

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Management of the Police of Sint Maarten (KPSM) would like to hereby confirm that The Officer F.L.M.P-T of KPSM was arrested by the National Detectives earlier on Friday morning, March 19, 2021.

We would like to emphasize that this colleague is now also a suspect and that, just like any other citizen, his guilt must be proven. The investigation is now underway, which we as an organization will await before we can respond substantively. We were informed about the ongoing investigation and we are of course cooperating fully with the National Detectives, KPSM said in its statement.

“The management of KPSM stands for a Police Force with integrity and if there are any issues of misconduct should be raised and investigated. We therefore see this investigation as an outcome of this. The judicial system will be put into work and will deal with the inappropriate/ of criminal behavior.

“No further comments into this investigation can de divulge at the moment. This investigation into the culpability of this officers is still in its early stages,” the KPSM statement concludes. (KPSM)

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Amendment to the National Public Health Regulation to incorporate Regulation 2019- nCoV passed

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - On Thursday, March 18, 2021, the Parliament of Sint Maarten unanimously approved the National ordinance to amend the National Ordinance Public Health incorporating the Regulation 2019- nCoV.

The Public Health Ordinance is in effect as of July 2018 and, amongst other topics, aims to provide a set of measures to protect the public health against infectious diseases, in line with the International Health Regulations.

At the end of 2019 a new disease was discovered in Wuhan, China, which ultimately led to the current COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 hit the shores of Sint Maarten early 2020.

To protect the population of Sint Maarten, in January 2020, the decision to issue an urgent Ministerial Regulation to classify COVID-19 as a disease of Category A, which enabled a set of measures to be used, defined in the Public Health Ordinance, was made.

The Public Health Ordinance provides the option to include emerging diseases by means of a Ministerial Regulation, to enable the country to adequately and timely respond to the threat of a new disease.

Minister Panneflek hereby informs the community that the Public Health Ordinance is essential to protect the health of our population and our economy.

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