Soualiga News Today
Menu

Soualiga News Today (4550)

Dirt-bike rider injured on the airport road

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - The personnel of the traffic department are busy investigating a traffic incident that took place on May 25, 2022, at approximately 3:15 p.m. close to the round-about at the PJIAE airport.

According to the preliminary investigation, it appeared that a rider of a dirt-bike who was coming from the direction of Maho, was in the process of overtaking several cars. At that same time a black bus was about to drive onto the main road which resulted in a crash.

The motorcycle rider sustained injury to his legs, and torso. He was administered first aid by the ambulance personnel and later transported to the St. Maarten Medical Center for further treatment. His injuries are not life threatening. (KPSM)

police bike underneath pix2

 

Read more...

COM offers deepest condolences on the passing of Acting Governor Reynold Groeneveldt

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – The Council of Ministers (COM) was deeply shocked and saddened upon learning of the passing of the Acting Governor Reynold Groeneveldt, who served the country for the past 12 years in this capacity.

The country has indeed lost another giant; one who has served as a civil servant in the Island Territory of St. Maarten for many years, before becoming a lawyer and contributing in service to his clients and the country in that capacity.

Prime Minister Hon. Silveria Jacobs: “On behalf of the Council of Ministers, I extend heartfelt condolences to the family and pray that grace and mercy covers all who are left to mourn.

“Mr. Groeneveldt’s great example of dedication and service to his family and this country should serve as an example for all other citizens of St. Maarten. May we all live to be dearly loved and appreciated by our families, and make an impact on our people, our livelihood, on St. Maarten.”

As a dignitary of the country, the flags will fly at half-mast at government buildings tomorrow (Wednesday) and on the day of internment in honor of his life. Acting Governor Reynold Groeneveldt was an example of a humble servant of the people, always willing to assist, give advice to individuals as well as government. Mr. Groeneveldt also kept the people of St. Maarten informed via various media forums.

His contribution to the development of St. Maarten and her people both during the days of Island Territory, as well as the first Acting Governor of St. Maarten since Oct 10, 2010 has not gone unnoticed and will be revered and memorialized throughout history.

On behalf of the Council of Ministers and people of St. Maarten, we offer deepest condolences and heartfelt prayers for strength to endure these difficult days ahead to his widow, Mrs. Glenda Groeneveldt-Smith, the entire family circle, and the people of St. Maarten as we mourn the loss of a great man.

Read more...

Statement Governor Eugene Holiday on the passing of Acting Governor Reynold Groeneveldt

SINT MAARTEN (HARBOUR VIEW) – “I was saddened to learn of the passing of my colleague, acting Governor Reynold Groeneveldt. With his passing Sint Maarten has suffered a great loss,” a press statement from the Governor’s Cabinet stated on Tuesday night on behalf of His Excellency Governor Eugene Holiday.

“Originally an educator Reynold Groeneveldt went on to become a legal scholar, respected attorney, and champion of our constitution. Mr. Groeneveldt was a proud Sint Maartener who served his country in various capacities.

“He was acting lieutenant governor during the constitutional transition in 2010. On October 10, 2010, Mr. Groeneveldt became the first acting Governor and was reappointed in 2016. In that capacity my staff and I could always count on him to hold the fort during my absence.

“His profound passion for the office was evident during many of our conversations behind closed doors. He was a proud and generous Sint Maartener who was always willing to share his time and knowledge.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Glenda, his daughter Angela, and all the people of Sint Maarten who hold Reynold Groeneveldt dear. “He will be dearly missed.”

Read more...

Banking sector weathers pandemic storm CBCS remains vigilant with regards to the outlook

SINT MAARTEN/CURACAO - The banking sector of Curaçao and Sint Maarten proved to be resilient and able to withstand shocks, despite the challenging macro-economic conditions caused by the pandemic.

The impact of the pandemic was unevenly distributed across the different segments of the economy, which was visible in the asset quality of the banks. Although the solvency position of the banks remained stable, the Centrale Bank van Curaçao and Sint Maarten (CBCS) is concerned about latent credit risk and will remain vigilant.

The Financial Stability Report, published by the CBCS, describes the main vulnerabilities associated with the local banking sector. The solvency of the banks remained stable, partially due to the dividend payout restrictions implemented by the CBCS in 2020. At year-end 2021, the capital-to-risk-weighted assets ratio stood at 19.3% on a monetary level, which is above the minimum supervisory requirement of 10.5%.

However, credit risk continues to be a concern given the consistently high volume of nonperforming loans and latent credit risk. In addition, Covid- 19-related moratoria on distressed loans have created a problem of forbearance in some institutions. Significant uncertainty persists regarding the size of Covid-19-related losses that banks will ultimately realize, as these will depend on the speed of economic recovery.

The CBCS closely monitors the development in the asset quality and will mandate the banks to maintain adequate reserves levels to mitigate deferred credit risks. Overall profitability of the sector remains under pressure, driven mainly by declining lending rates, high operating expenses, loan loss provisioning, and increased competition.

The average lending rate has declined steadily since 2010, with the local banking sector facing increased competition from institutional investors, especially in the corporate sector. The liquidity in the banking sector has been increasing steadily and an excess liquidity of more than NAf.2 billion was observed at the end of 2021.

Despite the excess liquidity, allocation of resources has been insufficient throughout the years. This is particularly visible in the extension of credit, as the credit growth in the monetary union has been weak for several years.

The outlook for the banking sector remains on the cautious side. Accessibility and affordability of the housing market may deteriorate for households due to the steep rise in prices in the construction sector, which could potentially shrink the mortgage market.

Despite the excess liquidity in the banking industry, effective allocation of resources is not expected to improve in the short-term. A lack of qualitative investment opportunities in the local markets remains a great concern.

Increasing competition from large non-banking financial institutions on the lending market may further reduce available investment opportunities. Credit guarantee schemes could help attract more large investment projects and mobilize excess liquidity in an effective way.

The CBCS continues to encourage banks to examine their business models to counter lagging profits, and closely monitors developments impacting the banking sector. If necessary, the CBCS will implement macroprudential measures to mitigate forthcoming risks.

The complete text of the Financial Stability Report is available on the CBCS-website at www.centralbank.cw/publications

Read more...

Team Budget Marine wins first Diam 24 Grand Prix Race Day in Great Bay

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - Together with the Diam 24 class representative, Pierre Altier, the Sint Maarten Yacht Club hosted the first Diam 24 Grand Prix Race Day in Great Bay last Sunday. The Diam 24 is a one design sport boat, simple and accessible for all, that allows people to discover multihull racing. To continue growing the current 5-boat fleet in St. Maarten and increase the local interest, 10 teams from the Marine Industry were invited to participate in this invite only event. A total of seven races were sailed, with Team Budget Marine as the ultimate winner.

Originally planned as a try-out event, the competitive nature of the invited participants turned Sunday’s event into a proper Grand Prix where the thrill of these fast-paced racing trimarans was fueled by the excitement of the sailors. Each boat had an experienced Diam 24 sailor on it and 2 or 3 sailors from the respective companies. The experienced sailor was helping aboard, however not allowed to helm, giving the participants an opportunity to experience all aspects of racing the Diams.

Teams represented were the Tropical Sail Loft, Budget Marine, Island Water World, the Maritime School of the West Indies, Club de Voile de Friar’s Bay, MDA (secondary school in Marigot), Arawak Sailing, a youth and staff team from the Sint Maarten Yacht Club and the 12 Meters association. After the initial instructions regarding the Diam 24 and the racing of that day, the 5 Diam’s left the dock with the first teams to race. Sailing catamaran Mojito was used as the committee boat for the day and accommodated the other teams to watch the racing while awaiting their race time.

Wind conditions were perfect for those unexperienced sailing these fast-racing trimarans, at 12 knots with gusts up to 18. A windward leeward course was set with a gate at either end, making it a tactical racecourse forcing the sailors to locate the best wind conditions. Race committee started fleet A, consisting of SMYC Youth Team, Team Arawak, Team Budget Marine, Team Maritime School of the West Indies and the 12 Meters Team, on 2 races to conclude the first 2 finalists of the semi-finals.

At the first start it was clear that most participants were not used to racing on trimarans, as most boats carefully approached the line. Except for one team, Team Arawak being the only one having extensive experience on their 52ft racing catamaran, who came in hot and sailed the Diam 24 as if they had done it for years. Their enthusiasm showed in them taking the lead quickly after the start, flying one hull high out of the water most of the race. At one point they got hit by a heavy gust resulting in them nose diving into the wave, no bother for this team as they continued with big smiles on their faces. They gave it their all, but it just wasn’t enough with two third places. With the first two races concluded, the SMYC Youth Team and Team Budget Marine went on to the semi-finals with two first places for Budget Marine and two second places for the SMYC Youth Team.

“I hadn’t raced in over 5 years, however after watching the first 5 teams race, I couldn’t wait to get out there myself. Once on the boat I was surprised at how stable these boats remain, even with one hull out of the water, you just want to keep pushing to go faster! This is truly a boat anyone can and should race. I was lucky to have Sam Peeks as our helmsman, who I know is a very talented dinghy sailor, but to see him just grab the tiller of this multihull and race it brilliantly, was amazing to see. I will definitely race more often on these boats.” Said Michele Korteweg, General Manager at the Sint Maarten Yacht Club participating in the SMYC Staff Team.

Fleet B, consisting of Team Island Water World, Team Tropical Sail Loft, the SMYC Staff Team, Club de Voile Friar’s Bay and Team MDA, continued to show that anything can change at any time of the race. The SMYC Staff Team got across the starting line first and kept the lead after rounding the first mark, after which it all went downhill on that race for them as they struggled with the downwind leg. Looking as if they were going to come in dead last, on the final leg they managed to catch the wind and finished seconds ahead of Team Tropical Sail loft. In the second race the SMYC Staff Team got the hang of the boat and by jibing around the windward mark they got into clean, strong winds on the opposite side of the course, a strategy that paid off as they finished in first place. In the meantime, a close battle took place between Team Island Water World, Club de Voile de Friar’s Bay and Team MDA, all Melges 24 sailors. It was amazing to see how quickly monohull sailors became pros at sailing these 24ft trimarans. Team MDA was the stronger team with a first and second place, taking one of the semi-final spots, one point ahead of the SMYC Staff Team.

The semifinals saw very close racing between the 4 teams, but quickly it became clear that Team Budget Marine and Team MDA were close rivals and sailed ahead of the fleet in a battle for first and second place. Team SMYC Youth and SMYC Staff had their own battle, student’s vs instructors. Without causing for much embarrassment, as the SMYC Staff Team won third place overall, putting Team Budget Marine and Team MDA in the final.

Race committee decided on a double lap for the final race. As Team Budget Marine and Team MDA started, the race committee allowed the rest of the fleet to join in one more unofficial start 2 minutes after the finalists crossed the start line. It was a neck and neck race for Team Budget Marine and Team MDA all the way to the finish line where Team Budget Marine only finished seconds ahead of Team MDA, making them the overall winner of the first Diam 24 Grand Prix.

Prize giving was hosted back ashore where the appreciation from all participants was expressed as boat owners and experienced captains made this event reality. The event couldn’t have happened without Pierre Altier, who has been the main motivation behind the Diam 24 class.

“It was a fantastic Diam 24 Day in Great Bay! So many talented sailors took this first Diam 24 Grand Prix to a spectacular level of sailing. This day made obvious that the Diam 24 is a perfect boat for the Caribbean Regattas. Economical, fast and, robust, this one design class trimaran is the easiest way to sail at 20 knots. Build your team, get your boat, and take part into the Diam 24 history on Saint Martin - Sint Maarten.” Concluded Pierre Altier, Diam 24 class representative of the Caribbean.

SMYC the Diam 24 frpg mon23

The Diam 24 Grand Prix took place in Great Bay - Photo by Robert Luckock

SMYC first pix mon23

Big gust caused Team Arawak to nose dive - Photo by Robert Luckock

SMYC second pix mon23

Team MDA secured a spot in the finals after close racing - Photo by Robert Luckock

SMYC third pix mon23

Team Budget Marine won the first Diam 24 Grand Prix - Photo by Robert Luckock

 

 

 

Read more...

Banco di Caribe N.V. and PSS N.V. partners in new ATM location

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Postal Services St. Maarten N.V. (PSS) and Banco di Caribe N.V. reached a historical agreement to have an ATM strategically located on the Post Office premises.

Interim Managing Director of PSS, Ms. Marinka Gumbs, stated that the bank did not hesitate to collaborate with PSS when the concept of a “walk-up” ATM Machine was first pitched. She added that the idea of having an ATM has been part of her vision for PSS, citing the need to expand its product offering to its customers and the community in the vicinity.

Banco di Caribe Management stated that collaborating with PSS in this initiative was immediately welcomed, recognizing the many activities in the vicinity by both consumers and (small) businesses who would appreciate having the convenience of an ATM for their banking needs.

At this new ATM location, users can withdraw cash and perform a balance inquiry. In addition, Banco di Caribe customers can transfer money between their own accounts and periodically change their Debit Card PIN.

Ms.Marinka Gumbs is grateful for Banco di Caribe’s visionary partnership in this endeavor and for the Government of St. Maarten in facilitating the construction.

As shown on the picture(s), representatives of both Postal Services St. Maarten and Banco di Caribe were present on the inauguration date earlier this month. The community of St. Maarten is cordially invited to use the Banco di Caribe ATM located at the Post Office premises.

Read more...

MP Emmanuel: By breaking the law, might as well pay full vacation allowance

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Independent Member of Parliament (MP) Christophe Emmanuel on Thursday said he is pleased that the Minister of Finance Ardwell Irion has followed his advice and finally realized that he has a duty to workers and has found a way to pay them something from the outstanding vacation allowance.

“But if you are going to break your own law, then I think you should pay the workers 100% of what is owed to them or repeal these abusive laws which the Minister has used in a discriminating manner.”

MP Emmanuel stressed that the Minister should not further discriminate and pay government workers the same way he did, illegally, for others who left government service. He explained that the government revoked the legal basis for the granting of vacation pay and other benefits.

The only way to legally grant vacation pay, is to repeal the law and explain what steps are being taken to have this done. “I have been calling on government to do this for months. So now he will proceed to pay vacation pay in contravention to the same law that he and the Prime Minister spear-headed,” MP Emmanuel said.    

In February 2022 MP Emmanuel said that he had been made aware that the government has paid out vacation pay to some civil servants, in direct contravention of the law (national ordinance) to cut the employment benefits and income of civil servants, (semi) public sector workers.

Calling it “discriminatory, unfair and clearly illegal” the MP explained that the vacation pay was paid out to persons who left government service, while those who are currently in government service are not receiving anything “These abusive laws were passed and went into effect. This is an illegal pick-and-choose practice that both the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance are accountable for and must explain,” the MP said.

Despite the Minister of Finance statement in Parliament that he was made aware of the situation and would look into it, to date neither he nor the Prime Minister has ever addressed or clarified the issue.

He continued: “This is why I had urged the Minister to pay workers something, anything that can help our people in difficult times. If you are going to act against the law and selectively pay-out some people, supporters and cronies their vacation pay, then you should keep that same energy and pay out vacation pay to all workers. Now that the Minister again doesn’t seem to care about his law, he might as well pay out 100%.”

The MP re-iterated that he has pointed out the abuse of the income cutting laws from day one. The laws he said fully tramples on worker’s rights and has been made worse by the Minister’s discriminating actions to pay those leaving government service, neglecting those who are actually in service working and sacrificing daily.

“The laws are against ILO conventions (International Labour Organizations), they are against the LMA in most cases, and they are against basic human rights laws. The laws are abusive, immoral and a cop-out by a clue-less government who did not standup against the Dutch and their demands which were not even placed on the people in the Netherlands. And at this point, the laws are definitely not based on a foundation of solidarity. So while I am relieved that the Minister finally has found some courage, he needs to continue his trend of acting in contravention of these laws and pay 100%. Pay the people everything you owe them,” the MP said.

MP Emmanuel also chided Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs for her statement that she will discuss the 12.5% on workers income and benefits cut with State Secretary Alexandra van Huffelen, but maintain the cuts for MPs and Ministers. “Here again we have the Prime Minister and her a-typical, scared approach with the Dutch.

“Tell the State Secretary that your government and its support in Parliament will repeal abusive laws that are hurting all of your people and that go against your laws. Stop trying to sound like a martyr as if you are maintaining something that helps the country. The CFT have already shown, twice, that the cuts have led to no significant savings for government. Government in fact never stopped hiring and is currently hiring many more people which will wipe out any miniscule savings. So what exactly is the point? The Prime Minister need to stop running from her own shadow and a terrible decision her government made and stop the bleeding of our people in hard economic times with no relief in sight. The Dutch for sure, have placed no such burdens on their people,” the MP concluded.      

Read more...

PSG CEO Gumbs: Corporate Governance Core Principle for Long-term Sustainable Success

PORT ST. MAARTEN – A number of senior and mid-level management officials at the Port St. Maarten Group (PSG) received their certificates after recently attending a planned three-day Corporate Governance training that was given by crmLiNK from the Netherlands.

Port St. Maarten Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Alexander Gumbs said Corporate Governance allows PSG to continue to comply with local and international rules and regulations by being up to date with trends and developments in this area.

PSG recognizes the importance of good Corporate Governance and considers it a core principle of best practice governance principles at the highest ethical standards with oversight of management and steering the business strategy of the group.

“I have made Corporate Governance one of my core principles since being appointed CEO late last year. Corporate Governance allows us to regulate relationships with shareholders, stakeholders, the community, employees, and management, and it facilitates effective and pragmatic management decision-making in compliance with local and international regulations leading to the long-term sustainable success of PSG,” CEO Alexander Gumbs explained.

Some presentations covered on the first day of the training included the introduction to Good Corporate Governance; Roles, Profiles and Competencies; Conflict of Interest, Integrity, and Moral Framework.

The second day covered Law and Legislation which was given by Franklyn Richards, a former Governor of St. Maarten, and a lawyer by profession; Finance and Control; Compliance and Corporate Risk Management, was presented by St. Maarten born Candia Joseph who is currently the Director of SOAB St. Maarten.

The final day of the training covered Boardroom Dynamics, Sessions about Information Provision, Communication and Governance. All presentations were given by either representatives of crmLiNK or were invited from different professional sectors and backgrounds.

crmLiNK was established to assist companies and individuals in this age of major change, this is the age of disruption. The labor market will be organized differently in the coming years in a rapid pace, according to crmLiNK. crmLiNK provides professionals for board of directors, supervisory boards, and management.

In the field of (permanent) education, professionalization, consultation, and transformation, crmLiNK offers specific trajectories and customized training solutions, and is associated with the Dutch institution Central Register of Short Professional Education (CRKBO).

Read more...

Ministry VROMI & Finance Job Mixer a Success. 300+ Attend

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – The Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment & Infrastructure (VROMI) Egbert J. Doran and Minister of Finance Ardwell Irion held a job mixer on May 12, 2022, for persons interested in various positions within both ministries, and it has been a great success.

There was an average of 300+ persons who attended the event, which was held at the Government Administration Building room 1 from 1.00 pm to 5.00 pm.

Both ministers expressed their gratitude for the interest shown in the Job Mixer and would like to thank all those who came to the event and those who have already applied.

The applications will be reviewed, and persons will receive an email once that process has been completed.

A team of the ministries staff and the Department of Personnel and Organization was on-site to provide valuable information and to answer questions that the applicants had about the job vacancies within the different ministries. Interested persons filled out the application forms and provided their resumes.

Ministers Doran and Irion were present to welcome all and interacted with the attendees. Both Ministers spoke and gave words of encouragement.

Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs was also present at the event and endorsed the Job mixer.

Other members of the Council were also present and showed support for the initiative.

The Ministry of VROMI has the following positions available: policy officer, secretary general, public relations officer, policy advisor, GIS officer, project manager, warehouse manager, head of infrastructure, maintenance worker, contract manager, senior employee in the Permits Department, permit evaluator, and inspectors in the Inspection Department.

The Ministry of Finance has the following positions available: policy advisor, division head, tax inspector, collections officer, section head in Support Services, public relations officer, and Head of Audit and Criminal Investigation.

For further information, please visit the Sint Maarten Government’s website: www.sintmaartengov.org/jobs, their Facebook page at Government of Sint Maarten, and the Facebook page of VROMI.

Persons can also contact the Ministry or department directly.

MinVROMI Job Mixer Pix 1 Attendees

MinVROMI Job Mixer Pix2 Attendees

 

 

Read more...

Minister Doran Reappoints Nature Foundation as Ecosystem Authority

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On May 13th, the Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure, Egbert Doran, signed the continuation of a service level agreement with the Nature Foundation in which the organization is granted the authority to manage the marine and terrestrial ecosystems of Sint Maarten and provide related services to the Ministry.

Minister Doran and Jan Beaujon, Chairman of the board of the Nature Foundation, signed the agreement during a brief ceremony at the Government Administration Building.

Since 2014, the Nature Foundation has been appointed the Scientific and Management Authority of Sint Maarten, as related to the CITES convention, and as required through the National Ordinance for nature management and protection. As such, the Ministry of VROMI had maintained this service level agreement with the foundation to support the execution of these executive tasks.

Areas of responsibility bestowed upon the foundation through this updated agreement include research and advice, site inspection and enforcement (on matters related to the management of the natural environment), active park management, public outreach, and protection of (endangered) species. Specific tasks in these areas include maintenance of dive moorings, fisheries management, sea turtle nesting and beach monitoring, and providing advice to the government in all matters related to the management of the natural environment, including the impacts of developmental activities.

In addition to the routine tasks and services to be rendered by the Nature Foundation, this agreement includes additional support for the management of invasive species, and more specifically, the management of the invasive vervet monkey. This comes following the results of the foundation’s monkey management project in 2021. The Ministry of VROMI is pleased to maintain this positive working relationship with the Nature Foundation and looks forward to continued progress towards pursuing the sustainable management of the natural environment.

Read more...
Subscribe to this RSS feed

Soualiga Radio