Soualiga News Today


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Soualiga News Today (4449)

Minister Voges presents annual report to Prime Minister

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten - The Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams received the Minister Plenipotentiary the Honorable Mathias Voges at her Cabinet on Monday afternoon. During the meeting the Prime Minister was updated on the activities of the Minister Plenipotentiary and was presented with the annual report including the facts and figures  of the Cabinet of the Minister Plenipotentiary.

The Minister Plenipotentiary of country St. Maarten in The Hague, Mr. Mathias S. Voges, is the representative of the St. Maarten Government in the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

The Council of Ministers of the Kingdom consists of the Ministers Plenipotentiary of the autonomous countries Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten and the Ministers of the Dutch government.


St. Maarten Cable TV and Internet Services Off the Air on Wednesday

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – St. Maarten Cable TV announces that Cable TV and Internet services are scheduled to be off the air on Wednesday, May 21, 2014 between the hours of 3:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. This brief interruption is due to an upgrade of St. Maarten Cable TV and CableNet’s electrical system and will affect all St. Maarten Cable TV and CableNet subscribers.

Managing Director, Beulah Jonis stated, “This service interruption has been scheduled during the aforementioned hours as a means of minimizing any inconvenience to our subscribers. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience caused as we continue to maintain and upgrade our equipment to provide optimum service to our customers.”

Customers are encouraged to visit St. Maarten Cable TV’s Facebook page and the new website for additional information and other pertinent facts. The website address is


Middle East MERS-CoV: persons traveling requested to be alert and take health precautions

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – Collective Prevention Services (CPS) from the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, is advising persons planning to travel to the Middle East to take a number of health precautions and to be alert.

The advice is given in keeping with International Health Regulations (IHR) in connection with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), which is a serious respiratory illness of unknown cause affecting people, in that region.

The National IHR Focal Point for the Netherlands notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about two laboratory confirmed cases there of the MERS-CoV infection.  Cases have also been detected in the United States of America.

Travelers to this area who have a pre-existing major medical condition such as chronic diseases (diabetes or chronic bronchitis, immunodeficiency) should be aware that these conditions can increase the likelihood of medical problems, including MERS-CoV infection, during travel.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which includes viruses that may cause a range of illnesses in humans, from the common cold and SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome).  Viruses of this family also cause a number of animal diseases, however the NCoV itself has not yet been found in an animal.

Travellers can take the following steps as a precautionary measure: • wash hands often with soap and water. When hands are not visibly dirty, a hand rub can be used;

• adhere to good food safety practices, such as avoiding undercooked meat or food prepared under unsanitary conditions, and properly washing fruits and vegetables before eating them;

• maintain good personal hygiene;

• and avoid unnecessary contact with farm, domestic, and wild animals.

Travelers who return with symptoms from areas affected by the virus should call their family physician immediately. This is in connection with the Minister of Public Health’s ‘Get Checked’ campaign in order to protect public health.

Globally, 614 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection have been officially reported to WHO, including 181 deaths.


Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams Appointed as Caribbean OCT Regional Authorizing Officer

MONTSERRAT-SINT MAARTEN - The Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams has been nominated as the Caribbean Regional Authorizing Officer for the Dutch and British Caribbean Overseas Country’s and Territories of the European Union (COCT) during the COTC conference held in Little Bay Montserrat last week.

This role for the Prime Minister as regional authorizing officer means that coordination of the Caribbean-wide project that will be approved from the points discussed at the meeting will be done by St. Maarten through 2020.

The points discussed during the two-day conference included items such as the updating of the OCTs on the status of Small and Medium Enterprise program remaining from 10th EDF, to select the sectors for submission for regional cooperation within the 11th EDF, to select countries to work on the proposals for the selected sectors, to select the Regional Authorizing Officer for this programming period and to commit to cooperate with other EU partners in the region namely the ACP and Overseas Regions of Europe.

As a result of the meeting the Caribbean Wide Project concerning Small and Medium Enterprise program is currently in full swing with the first steering committee meeting and stakeholder forum to be held in the British Virgin Islands on the 2nd of June, 2014

Various sectors for regional cooperation were also discussed including the biodiversity and climate change envelope focusing on renewable energy and waste management, the regional envelope on Tourism which will be steered by St. Maarten and the Health envelope which will be steered by the British Virgin Islands.

With Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams being nominated regionally as the Regional Authorizing Officer for the Dutch and British Caribbean OCT's the coordination of the project that will be approved from the above mentioned options will be done by St. Maarten through 2020

In connection with the commitment to cooperate with all regional partners, St. Maarten is now preparing to sign a letter of intent of cooperation with St. Martin for a European funded infrastructural development project accessed through the French.

There will be a press conference on the ongoing developments with regards to St. Maarten’s Role in the Caribbean Overseas Countries and Territories of the European Union on Monday, May 18th 2014 at eleven am at the AC Wathey Legislative Hall.


UP family shocked at assault on nine-year old, calls for more mental health care resources

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten -- The United People's Party (UP) family was shocked after seeing the newspaper photo of a nine-year old school girl on Friday who was brutally assaulted last Thursday morning.

The UP family also condems the senseless murder of a young business on the North side of the island, and expresses its deepest condolences to the family, friends and business colleagues.

It is alleged that the perpetrator suffers from a mental disorder.  The Sint Maarten community is very aware of people walking around in our districts who suffer from some form of mental illness/disorder.

Mental health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease.  It is related to the promotion of well-being, the prevention of mental disorders, and the treatment and rehabilitation of people affected by mental disorders.

The UP family feels that more resources have to be provided to tackle cases of mental illness and persons in the community with mental disorders, adding that for the national budget of 2015, additional financial resources should be allocated to the Ministry of Public Health budget/Mental Health Foundation.

The UP family extends its prayers and get well wishes to the nine-year old school girl as well as her family during this difficult period.

The UP family fully believes in the premise that mental health is an integral part of health, and that indeed, there is no health without mental health.

The UP party believes this issue is nonpartisan and remains committed to any call to remedy such medical or social ills in our community.


Know your blood pressure numbers to prevent heart attacks and stroke

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – 17th of May marked World Hypertension Day, and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/World Health Organization (WHO), along with the  Collective Prevention Services (CPS) of the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, is urging people to get their blood pressure checked regularly to prevent heart attacks and stroke.

One in three people with hypertension are unaware they have it, increasing their health risks.

The theme for World Hypertension Day was “Know your numbers,” highlighting the importance of getting regular blood pressure checks and understanding that a reading of 140/90 mmHg or higher means hypertension.

As part of Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labour Hon. Cornelius de Weever’s “Get Checked” campaign which promotes good health for all ages, adults are encouraged in the interests of their health to ‘know your numbers’.

PAHO/WHO estimates that in the Americas, 30 per cent of people with high blood pressure are unaware they have the condition.

Hypertension is a silent killer because in its early stages it rarely causes symptoms, and many people go undiagnosed.  Diagnosing and treating it on time can reduce the risk of heart attacks, stroke and kidney failure.

All adults should know their blood pressure levels.  Healthy lifestyles can prevent hypertension, and for people who need medication, it can improve control.

An estimated 80 per cent of premature heart attacks and stroke can be prevented by reducing the leading risk factors for these conditions: unhealthy diet, tobacco consumption, harmful use of alcohol and physical inactivity.

Overweight and obesity and excess salt consumption – the single most important risk factor for hypertension – also increase one’s risk.

Studies show that high blood pressure contributes to some 9.4 million cardiovascular deaths worldwide each year.  In the Americas, 1.9 million people die yearly from cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in most of the region’s countries.  


Nature Foundation Installs Numerous Coral Nurseries

COLE BAY, Sint Maarten - Through the assistance and backing of luxury horlogier Hublot and the Alwani Family of the Little Europe chain of stores the St. Maarten Nature Foundation over the past eighteen months researched, installed and managed coral nurseries at various locations around St. Maarten.  The Coral Nurseries have been installed in order to provide fast coral growth so that new coral fragments can be transplanted both on reefs within the Man of War Shoal Marine Protected Area and closer to shore.

Due to rapid coastal development and climate change St. Maarten has lost nearly 80% of its near shore coral reefs. Coral reefs are an essential part of the Marine ecosystem as they provide habitat for numerous creatures and are often described as the ‘rainforests of the sea. Coral reefs also form a barrier to rising sea water levels caused by climate change and can act as a very important mitigating factor for the effects of sea level rise.

Additionally, the man of War Shoal Marine Park and the coral reef areas within it are of significant environmental and economic importance as diving in Marine Parks is globally on the rise and generally accepted by the diving tourist as a “must do” vacation activity. An economic valuation study conducted by the Nature Foundation of St. Maarten’s coral reef ecosystem has placed the monetary value at close to US$58 million in contributions to the economy of the country.

With proper management and restoration the area will increase the St. Maarten Tourism Product and local fisheries will also be enhanced through the regeneration of the depleted fish stock surrounding St. Maarten. Research has shown that Marine Protected Areas increase fish populations and fish size of commercial species in nearby fishing grounds.

Through a donation from luxury watchmaker Hublot and the Alwani family the Nature Foundation has been growing and transplanting coral at various locations throughout the island, both inside and outside of the Man of War Shoal Marine Protected Area. Specific species were chosen that provided a maximum of success in repopulating the country’s near shore environment with coral reefs.


Govt of Sint Maarten never issued a tsunami warning or watch for the country on Friday

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – The Department of Communication hereby informs that the Government of Sint Maarten and or its related entities responsible, did not issue a tsunami warning or watch on Friday in connection with the 6.0 magnitude earthquake that took place Friday morning (7.02AM) in the vicinity of the islands of Antigua and Guadeloupe.

During the course of Friday, a rumor started on social media that the country was under a tsunami watch/warning.  This rumor created a lot of unnecessary panic among some of the populace.

The United States National Weather Service (NWS)-National Tsunami Warning Center (NTWC) in a public tsunami information statement issued at 7.07AM on Friday stated that: there is no tsunami danger for the area listed above (U.S., Canada, East Coasts, Gulf of Mexico, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands); based on earthquake information and historic tsunami records, the earthquake is not expected to generate a tsunami.

The community is advised to only pay attention to official government communications when issued via its relevant departments.


Minister Richardson congratulates telecom workers on World Telecommunications Day 17 May

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – Minister of Tourism & Economic Affairs, Transport & Telecommunications (Ministry TEATT) Hon. Ted Richardson congratulates all telecommunication sector workers on World Telecommunications and Information Society Day (WTISD), which is being internationally observed on 17th May.

The theme for WTISD is “Broadband for Sustainable Development.” Digital development is a transformative tool to fast-track sustainable development.  In order to realize its full potential it is essential to roll-out high speed broadband networks, making it affordable and universally applicable.

“I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all telecommunication workers as well as all those working in other fields where telecommunications are also being used to reach potential customers.

“The application of ICT is beyond anything anybody could imagine.  Investments have been made and the country has also cooperated with others to facilitate more potential for our people where ICT development is concerned.  It is indeed a day to reflect upon where technology had brought us and what the future may behold,” Minister Hon. Ted Richardson said on Friday.

The purpose of WTISD is to help raise awareness of the possibilities that the use of the internet and other information and communication technologies (ICT) can bring to societies and economies, as well as of ways to bridge the digital divide.

17 May marks the anniversary of the signing of the first International Convention and the creation of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

World Telecommunication Day has been celebrated annually on 17 May since 1969, marking the founding of ITU and the signing of the aforementioned convention in 1865.  It was instituted by the Plenipotentiary Conference in Malaga-Torremolinos in 1973.

In November 2005, the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) called upon the United Nations General Assembly to declare 17 May as World Information Society Day, and to focus on the importance of ICT and the wide range of issues related to the information Society raised by WSIS.  The General Assembly adopted the resolution in March 2006 stipulating that World Information Society Day shall be celebrated every year on 17 May.  


Minister Lake to address Beacon Hill Street Flooding

BEACON HILL, Sint Maarten – Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure (Ministry of VROMI) Hon. Maurice Lake is busy visiting the different residential districts throughout the country with respect to infrastructural issues.  This week the Minister was informed about street flooding in Beacon Hill due to the heavy rainfall experienced earlier in the week.  Minister Lake has his ministry already looking into the matter with respect to possible solutions.


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