CMOORE Journal News interviews and Public information Wed, 17 Oct 2018 16:55:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 CMOORE Journal 32 32 How St. Maarten can take advantage of Hub Possibilities Fri, 05 Oct 2018 11:32:43 +0000 Economist Caryl Monte gave a presentation to a cross section of the Business community Wednesday October 3rd in which he outlined the possibilities that St. Maarten has, as a result of its strategic location in the Caribbean region, and the hub possibilities that exist, even in a rebuilding stage after the devastation of Irma.

Economist Mr. Caryl Monte says the post Irma situation for St. Maarten has the potential of making the Island ready to climb to the next level even in the face of the technology era. E-commerce, business and on line technology is threatening the jobs of the working class in the traditional business and enterprise that have drastically changed into electronic commerce. But these merchandise that are bought on line and the service to move these goods to the Islands needs a hub like St. Maarten to help get them to their final destination in the quickest possible time. The Postal service that at the moment seems dead can be part of the logistics to make this happen but it must happen with all players having their nose pointed in the same direction.


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Minister Lee meets head on with labor violations. Thu, 27 Sep 2018 01:40:39 +0000 Minister of VSA Emil Lee said on Wednesday that he experienced ‘gross non-compliance’ during his recent field visit with the Labor inspectors of VSA. Lee says that the inspectors were even denied access to conduct their inspections of a Government owned entity.

Lee says he finds it unfortunate that something like this is happening and he intends to bring this matter up with the management of that company. Lee occasionally joins the field inspection in order to get a better understanding and to assess the challenges faced by the inspectors and also to understand what is going on in the community.

“As a Government, we need to try and ensure compliance and we are looking at it as a phased approach. Certainly, for people who are paying their taxes and premiums, we would work along with the employer in terms of how we can improve their compliance in terms of work permits and residence permits. For those companies who are not paying their taxes and social premiums – that is unforgivable. For the country, that is something we just simply cannot afford to let happen.” Minister of VSA, Emil Lee said.

He advised that employers and employees alike are to adhere to compliance regulations. The general observation according to Lee is that employees who were addressed, were under the impression that they were being compliant. However, when asked to provide appropriate documentation such as pay slips and labor agreements they were unable to show proof. “It is troubling to see that a lot of these workers are in a way being taken advantage of. Imagine, many of the employees couldn’t even provide the name of the company that employed them.”

Employees are reminded and encouraged by the Minister to be sure to receive a pay slip from their employer, to always have a valid form of identification on hand and to have a copy of their labor agreement“If you have a smart phone, take a picture of your last pay slip and labor agreement and have this on hand.” Employers are reminded that they must understand that they have a responsibility, regardless of the legal status of an employee – taxes and social premiums must be paid, and it is a legal obligation. The press statement concludes.


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The Dutch meddling responsible for my demise Sat, 22 Sep 2018 04:03:30 +0000 The former Prime Minister of St. Maarten MP William Marlin has blamed the Dutch with some help from local politicians for having him removed from Office after hurricane Irma of 2017. Mr. Marlin was at the time being interviewed on the Popular 12 O’clock radio show “View Point” when he outlined the series of events leading to his departure as Prime Minister. According to MP Marlin, the hurricane was used by the Dutch to gain more control of St. Maarten when they decided to attach conditions on their obligations to help the country after a disaster of this magnitude. The Parliament as well used the moment to side with the Dutch and gave Marlin’s cabinet of Ministers a vote of no confidence and forced their resignation.

Marlin said he objected to the manner in which the Government of the Netherlands laid down the conditions when it appeared that the Dutch Government was not talking about immediate help but rather asking to give up control of some autonomous areas of his government to be handed over to the Dutch.  There was nothing wrong on his part other than charges of him stalling the help promised by the Dutch from coming; one year later, there is still no substantial help that came from the Netherlands other than to park the relief funds at the World Bank that requires supervision from Dutch persons attached to every committee connected to accessing the money.

When the MP was asked if that means the Dutch are in control, Marlin said “the Dutch have been giving the International community the impression that The Kingdom of the Netherlands is made up of 4 countries but internally they act as though the kingdom is Holland and three colonies. That’s how much they want to be in control. The Dutch, he said, certainly do not regard Curacao, Aruba and St. Maarten as equal partners in the Kingdom when at all political levels they seek to gain control and interfere in the government actions in these countries.

Although MP Marlin along with the other Ministers resigned immediately after the vote of no confidence, he was asked to stay on until another government was in place, but the Dutch pressured the governor to have Marlin removed since he was objecting to their control. He was then asked a second time to submit a resignation letter and vacate the position because the Dutch wanted no dealings with him. But the MP says to get out of the control of the Dutch, the citizens will have to understand their roll and our political leaders will have to clean up their acts themselves without having to be told by others what they are doing wrong. It’s the only way we can be in control of our destiny and sit at the United Nations like most Caribbean countries and be seen as equal. Until that happens the Dutch will always act as though they are the ones in control.


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Buss Association drive to organize Public Bus Service Thu, 13 Sep 2018 14:44:53 +0000 The United St. Maarten Bus Drivers Association held meetings with the Ministry of Transportation seeking to get a consensus on the part of Government to help organize and regulate public bus transportation on the island.  The President of the Bus Association, Mr. Claude Omenus, says for the first time he felt confident that the new Minister of TEATT, Mr. Stewart Johnson, seems willing to work with the association to regulate public buses running in an organized way to the different districts.

Public Transportation on St. Maarten for all intent and purpose has been in the hands of individuals who have been issued Bus and Taxi licenses to operate on the public roads without any specific frame work for service that they have to abide by. The only rules they are to follow are the traffic guidelines by law. Taxis on the other hand have established themselves putting in place organizations of which taxi drivers are encouraged to become members and work within their organization’s structure.

Busses however, are running arbitrarily where they feel they can make the most money and at whatever times they feel like doing so. This system has turned out to be more of a hustle rather than providing a structured bus service. As a result some districts get no bus service and gypsies run rampant and uncontrolled. Another complexity within the bus service system on St. Maarten has come from politicians giving Bus licenses to themselves and family members who then rent these permits to drivers who are not willing to cooperate and work in a systematic way but hustle on the road to pay their monthly fees. That situation has led to an over saturation of busses especially in light of the politicians’ practice of giving out Bus licenses as favors.

Since the inception of The United St. Maarten Bus Drivers Association, attempts have been made to regulate public bus service throughout the island but that has been met with constant failures due to Government not showing interest in wanting to regulate the Public Bus Service on the island. The sitting current Bus association members are pushing hard to involve the Ministry of Transportation to implement certain procedures such as a color code system for districts, a bus terminal for Philipsburg and the involvement of more districts, to give teeth and a show of support to the Association’s effort, and finally give commuters the trusted bus service they so deserve.


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Naomi Osaka beats her Idol Serena to win first Grand Slam Sun, 09 Sep 2018 05:00:44 +0000 Naomi Osaka defeated Serena Williams in straight sets to win the U.S. Open on Saturday. The Final will be long-remembered for an emotional Williams getting a game penalty for verbally abusing the chair umpire, but it should not take away from Osaka’s triumph.

Osaka won an amount of $3.8 million in prize money for the event, but that is likely just the start as she seems almost destined to succeed Williams as the world’s highest-paid female athlete. Her off-court earnings are likely to soar ten-fold over the next couple of years from $1.5 million to more than $15 million.

Osaka is the first Japanese person man or women to win a Grand Slam final. The underdog Osaka did not shy away from the challenge, saying after her semifinal win over Madison Keys, “This is going to sound really bad, but I was just thinking, ‘I really want to play Serena.’”

Osaka’s strong showing for the 2018 tennis season, including a title at Indian Wells, has raised her marketing profile. The U.S. Open win sends her to another level for endorsements.

The 20-year-old Osaka has the potential to be the face of global tennis for the next decade, with Williams turning 37 this month.

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Is It A Stand for Heyliger or for St. Maarten? Sat, 01 Sep 2018 16:27:39 +0000 Although it is not quite clear to many what was the real reason for the march in Philipsburg Wednesday, one thing is clear, the turn out and the people attending suggests that it was more a show of support for Heyliger’s situation, as a sitting MP, than it was for any other reason.

MP Heyliger seen participating in the march

Shortly after the government was formed, Heyliger being the one named as formateur, charged with the responsibility of putting the government together, it was published that the prosecutor’s office was seeking permission from the joint court to prosecute MP Heyliger for allegations of vote buying. That became as a shock to many in the community and people began expressing feelings of the Dutch taking down the leaders of political groups whom they often refer to as corrupt. MP Heyliger was the recipient of the most personal votes in the recently held election but he is bared from becoming a minister in the government of St. Maarten.

Other leaders and key political personalities that were picked up for questioning in other cases of corruption includes, MP Frans Richardson, former MP Matser, former MP P Illidge, former MP L Laveist, former MP Romain Laville and some other former ministers, none of whom were seeing in this march. According to sceptics who are questioning the validity of the demonstration, no one marched when they were picked up.

Rhoda Arrindell and demonstration leaders after delivering pettition to Parliament

Rhoda Arrindell one of the organizers of the march who was directly involve with putting the petition request together, made it clear that the green light that was given to prosecute Heyliger was the proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s back” and set the motion in gear to stage the march.

So then, if this protest action was inspired by the Prosecutor’s office seeking to prosecute a sitting member of Parliament, are we to see this happening again if another MP is to be picked up? Or is this a call for St. Maarten and its people to come together and take to the streets and say enough is enough with the way the justice system has been treating those in leadership voted into office by the population?


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Is this about prosecuting Theo or there is more to it? Thu, 23 Aug 2018 04:03:45 +0000 Another person who have suffered at the hands of the prosecutor’s office weighs in; This article was written by Fabian Badejo.

The decision of the Joint Court of Justice to grant the Public Prosecutor’s Office permission to prosecute United Democrats leader, MP Theo Heyliger is in line with previous decisions of the same court concerning other sitting Members of Parliament, and thus, does not come as a surprise. Theo is “suspected of having committed bribery in 2012-2013,” the Public Prosecutor’s Office said in a terse press release issued on Tuesday, August 21, 2018, in which it added that it would “not be issuing any further statements.”

This is rather unusual for a Public Prosecutor’s Office that has mastered the art of using the media to influence public opinion, however, my concern here is more about the obvious pattern of targeting prominent St. Martiners for criminal prosecution on charges that always have to do with integrity.

Perhaps a random list of such prominent people would refresh our memory: the late Dr. Claude Wathey, his son, businessman Al Wathey, attorney and former Lt.-Governor Ralph Richardson, former managing director of the airport, Frank Arnell, former MP in the Parliament of the now defunct Netherlands Antilles, Crastell Gumbs, former Commissioner Rene Richardson, former MPs, Louie Laveist, Patrick Illidge, Silvio Matser, as well as sitting MPs Chanel Brownbill, and Frans Richardson. On this random list are also former Minister Maria Buncamper-Molanus and her husband, a top civil servant, attorney Brenda Brooks, former Managing Director of the harbor, Mark Mingo, and former SXM Airport Managing Director Regina LaBega… and the list goes on. We could of course add former Notary Elco Rosario and for full disclosure, yours truly as well.

What is evident from this list is the fact that it is made up of mainly politicians, and professionals charged with the management of the two most important strategic assets of St. Maarten: the harbor and airport.

Another fact that jumps out of this list is that it does not include the names of any Dutch nationals from Holland. With at least 3,000 Dutch people residing and working in St. Maarten, it is highly remarkable that only two or three of them have been charged with any criminal offense in the last two decades during which period the Prosecutor’s Office has spent millions of dollars to prosecute about 20 prominent St. Maarteners.

The logical deduction from this is that Dutch people (from Holland) are squeaky clean, incorruptible, epitomes of integrity and probity, saints that do no wrong, and never commit a crime. On the other hand, our political leaders, chosen by the people, including those like Claude, and Theo, who were elected by acclamation time and time again, are all fraudsters, whose corruption knows no limit. Of course, the latter has been the prevalent narrative about St. Maarten for decades now in The Netherlands, resulting in epithets like “puinhoop” (mess) and “mafiosi” to describe the island.

Not that the Dutch haven’t tried in the past to clean up the so-called “mess”: as a matter of fact, they imposed “higher supervision” on St. Maarten in the 1990s but after years of this extraordinary measure, I guess we can safely conclude from the current insistence on integrity and prosecution that they have failed miserably in their clean-up efforts. Dutch “experts” failed big time to run the airport effectively and it took St. Maarteners (drs. Eugene Holiday and Regina LaBega) to build it up into the best airport in the Caribbean before Hurricane Irma. The harbor, it must be pointed out also, grew by leaps and bounds under the stewardship of a St. Maartener (Mark Mingo), making the island one of the leading cruise destinations in the region.

Now, at a time when St. Maarten needs ALL its best minds to dig it out of the near complete destruction caused by the September 2017 storms, we’re back to where we were almost 30 years ago with the prosecution of the so-called “Big 4” (Claude, Ralph, Al and Frank), only this time, the individuals are being targeted one by one.

This is, therefore, NOT just about Theo. This is about taking over absolute control of St. Maarten – making it the next “S” in the BES Islands. How many more of our leaders shall they prosecute like this while we stand aside and look?


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Pollution dropped Water quality in Simpson Bay lagoon Sun, 19 Aug 2018 09:05:00 +0000 The St. Maarten Nature Foundation has been monitoring an algal bloom within sections of the Simpson Bay Lagoon over the past few weeks. Boaters in the area have been complaining to the Nature Foundation of algae clogging the intakes of their vessel engines and a few isolated fish die-offs have been occurring due to the presence of the algae. During two research dives in the Lagoon it was established that the probable identity of the algae is likely Ulveria oxysperma and Ulva Linza, both species are indicative of an increase in pollution levels and a decrease in water quality for the wider Simpson Bay Lagoon.


Based on the probable identification of the species, water quality was tested in order to determine the possible cause of the algal bloom and a correlation to water quality. “We are a bit concerned that we have seen an increase in algae in the Lagoon, which is related to a drop in water quality and in increase in pollution levels. Our preliminary results have shown that indeed there was a drop in water quality with an increase in temperature related to us entering the hottest part of the year. We are also trying to determine whether or not the current algae bloom is related to the effects of the hundreds of boats and other types of infrastructure being sunk or damaged after Hurricanes Irma and Maria. This is definitely possible considering the type of stress the Simpson Bay Lagoon has been undergoing as an ecosystem and we expected the environment in the Lagoon to react to that huge environmental stress. Nature Foundation President Tadzio Bervoets in his release indicated that for the moment they will keep an eye on the situation and hopefully within a few weeks the bloom will dissipate.


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PJIA Board placed on inactive duty Thu, 02 Aug 2018 14:36:46 +0000 The rippling effect of the news going through the community that the entire supervisory board of directors of PJIA have been sent home, is now publicly confirmed in part by this release, as to the intension of the Council of Ministers to terminate the board. In a press statement from the Tourism Minister Stuart Johnson Shareholder Representative, while addressing the intention of the Shareholder to terminate the service of the Supervisory Board of the Princess Juliana International Airport Holding (PJIAH) Company, he says it is essential to address the “precarious situation” at the airport.

On Tuesday this week, the Council of Ministers held an urgent decision-making session that was attended by members of the Supervisory Board of Directors of Princess Juliana International Holding Company NV (“PJIA Holding Company”). The main topic of discussion was the existing bond loan of the 100% subsidiary of PJIA Holding Company, (“the Operating Company”) and to move forward with the necessary measures to safeguard the well-being of both companies.

While the Council of Ministers initially decided to dismiss the Supervisory Board Members of PJIA Holding Company, with immediate effect, in further deliberations and considering all interest at hand, they have decided to amend that decision.

The amended decision states, “The Members of the Supervisory Board of the Holding Company are placed on notice of the intention of the Shareholder to terminate their function, as soon as possible. The Shareholder will further seek the advice of the Corporate Governance Council on this subject, forthwith. Meanwhile, the Members of the Supervisory Board of the Holding Company are placed on inactive duty for a period of up to two months, starting August 1, 2018.”

The shareholder decided that the interest of PJIA Holding Company, the Operating Company, and Country Sint Maarten will be protected by immediately replacing the entire Supervisory Board of PJIA Holding Company. In case of immediate dismissal, logically no advice can be requested and as such obtained beforehand from the Corporate Governance Council.

In the interim, the Managing Board of the PJIA remains in place, and three individuals have been appointed to temporary positions as Supervisory Board Members, to ensure that urgent work needed for the return of the airport to full function, can be done.

The Shareholder has identified these individuals as Michel Hodge, Patricia Lourens, and Cleveland Beresford.


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Court ruled Airport to get 33 Million advance settlement Tue, 31 Jul 2018 08:47:17 +0000 Simpson Bay, St. Maarten: In a judgment of 30 July 2018, the Sint Maarten Court of First Instance ordered NAGICO to pay to Princess Juliana Airport (PJIA) an advance of USD 33,2 million. This amount is in addition to an advance of USD 25 million that was already paid by NAGICO.

In its judgment, the Court considered that, although the dispute between PJIA and NAGICO is complicated both legally and technically, PJIA has a pressing interest in obtaining an advance on the insurance payments that it is entitled to, so that it can continue the restoration of the airport. In addition to the advance of USD 33,2 million, NAGICO was ordered to pay PJIA an amount of ANG 20,000 in legal costs.

“We are very satisfied with the Court’s judgment”, Mr. Ravi Daryanani, Acting CEO and Michel Hyman, COO of PJIA stated. “Not only has the Court awarded a significant advance on the total damages suffered by PJIA, but as a result of these proceedings NAGICO was forced to finally review PJIA’s insurance claim, which it has consistently refused to do until legal proceedings were started”.

PJIA’s attorneys, Eric de Vries and Michiel van den Brink of HBN Law, explained that the Court’s judgment is a preliminary decision: “Summary proceedings like these are intended to provide interim relief on short notice. Given that nature, Courts must be cautious with awarding monetary claims. Typically, a monetary claim is only allowed if there is no reasonable doubt that the claim would also be awarded in ordinary proceedings on the merits”. De Vries and Van den Brink pointed out that, although a considerable amount has been awarded, this only represents part of the amount that PJIA is entitled to: “In view of the nature of the proceedings against NAGICO, the Court has awarded only part of the amount that it expects NAGICO to be liable for”.

The Managing Board of the Princess Juliana International Airport- SXM stated that they expect that the settlement of PJIA’s insurance claim will from now on be handled more expeditiously by NAGICO. They also expressed their expectation that the further settlement of the claim can be carried out in a more amicable atmosphere: “Our loss experts and NAGICO’s loss adjuster have continued discussions on the settlement of PJIA’s insurance claim during the proceedings. We expect that PJIA’s claim will be settled amicably and hope that no further legal actions will be necessary. That would not only be in PJIA’s interest, but also that of Sint Maarten.”

Lastly, the Managing Board would like to take the opportunity to thank the entire staff of the Princess Juliana International Airport- SXM, for their work ethic and for standing by management during this time, as we return to be the regional leaders in the airport industry.


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