CMOORE Journal News interviews and Public information Sun, 19 Aug 2018 09:05:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 CMOORE Journal 32 32 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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St. Maarten fall short of winning Battle of the Fittest 2018 Thu, 26 Jul 2018 12:58:23 +0000 Tortola Champions again. Fans came out and filled the auditorium to watch St. Maarten go up against the champion team Tortola for the final game of the regional basketball annual tournament “Battle of the Fittest” on Saturday night. Both teams met in the early stages of the tournament and St. Maarten was able to win that contest by a close margin. St. Maarten was unbeaten throughout the whole competition having won all their games until the final game to determine the championship.

Until half time the home team was down by only 5 points and looking still to be in the contest while heading to the locker room at the end of the second quarter. By the time they came back on the court to start the second half the feeling of a fight down to the wire was still in the minds of their fans until several turnovers of which Tortola capitalized and the lead begins to reach double digits. At this time those extra points push the lead high enough to put the game out of reach but St. Maarten continue fighting. Tortola never looked back and St. Maarten without two of their best players who were out due to injury were unable to build any kind of momentum to get back in the game.

St. Maarten had to settle for second place having lost the only game of the tournament when it counted the most. Final score St. Maarten 64 Tortola 88. Tortola champs again for a third time in a row. St Maarten had done well to reach this far when one considers how badly they have performed in the past tournaments and to have beaten Tortola this time around should send a message that they can win this tournament.


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The Graceful Intelligent 15 year old Queen Tue, 24 Jul 2018 03:58:45 +0000

Interview with Shakainah Pompier-Arrindell one day before leaving St. Maarten to represent the Island as the Miss Teen St. Maarten International.

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The Dutch and World Bank in control of spending first 55 million Euro… Sat, 21 Jul 2018 22:36:03 +0000 The first 55 Million Euro from the 470 Million Euro Trust Fund, was signed off By the Minister of General affairs and Prime Minister of St. Maarten Leona Marlin Romeo and the World Bank in the month of July 2018. But a statement coming from the State secretary for Kingdom relations Mr. Knops,” seems clear, they are the ones to determine what exactly the money will be used for. In a press Release from the World Bank, they listed the following as emergency projects for the released funds: Repair Public shelters, support rebuilding severely damaged homes of low income families and support and strengthening resilience of emergency response capacities. The role St. Maarten government is playing here is nothing more than an endorsement by the St. Maarten Trust Fund Steering committee.

One needs to take note of the regular visit of Dutch officials to the Island and the amount of Dutch civil servants working here, all of which seem to suggest they are in complete control of what goes on in Government at various levels. The question of taking over was put to State Secretary Knops while speaking to Reporters in the Netherlands and published in the Daily Herald of Saturday July 14th 2018. He is quoted again as saying “We are definitely not taking over. St. Maarten is a sovereign Country. But St. Maarten cannot do it on its own in certain areas, and if St. Maarten ask for assistance we (the Dutch Government) are willing to look at that seriously. But the request must come from St. Maarten”.

Minister of TEATT Mr. Stewart Johnson tweeted a picture of a delegation of Dutch Members of Parliament on a working visit to St. Maarten. Johnson did not say what exactly is the details of the working visit but our Ministers certainly are not in control of the recovery program when the Dutch and the World Bank are the ones in control of the released funds and how it is to be spent. Tweeting about the working visit is not telling us how much of what we are doing other than to show who is in control of the spending of the recovery funds. The Dutch wants to look over how their money will be spent.


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Geerlings: Restructuring government a priority… Mon, 16 Jul 2018 14:46:23 +0000 PHILIPSBURG—Minister of Finance Perry Geerlings outlined critical elements of his strategic plan focused on driving efficiency and restructuring government, during an introductory meeting with over 100 civil servants from the Finance Ministry, Thursday afternoon at the Government Administration Building in Philipsburg.

Geerlings told his team the roadmap for a healthy and sustainable St. Maarten has been laid out in the governing program 2018 -2022 entitled ‘Building a Sustainable Sint Maarten,’ and encouraged them to familiarize themselves with it, as their activities over the coming years will have to be aligned with strategic objectives of the governing program. The governing program can be downloaded from and contains the goals for each ministry for the Sint Maarten United Christian Democratic Coalitions governing period.

According to a press release issued by the Ministry, part of its restructuring process will be taking measures to simplify procedures for submitting tax returns while simultaneously improving customer friendliness. The use of technology will play a significant role in enhancing the level of service government provides to the public. At the same time, Geerlings will be looking closely at the internal processes within the Finance Ministry to find ways of improving efficiency.

Geerlings told his team to seize the opportunity during St. Maarten’s redevelopment, to redefine “how we do business and how we govern ourselves.” He said at this critical time after being devastated by hurricanes in 2017 “restructuring government is a top priority, and everyone will be held accountable, myself included.”

At present St. Maarten’s limited financial and human resource is a cause for significant concern. However, Geerlings said in keeping with his motto of “achieve more with less,” for there to be economic stability, everyone would be called upon to find creative means of addressing operational and liquidity challenges.

The Ministry of Finance will be taking measures to improve financial accountability and to provide efficient budget reporting, but Geerlings made it clear, he will be requesting an extension for the delivery of the 2019 budget as he is not intent on competing to bring out a swiftly generated budget with no real reflection on the islands financial reality. He said he requested additional time to prepare the 2019 budget because he felt it was more prudent to deliver a realistic budget. At the end of the session, Minister Geerlings promised to operate with an open-door policy and pledged to make routine visits to the various departments to get first-hand knowledge of their challenges and to find solutions collectively.


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Understanding how our Parliamentary Democracy in government works Fri, 13 Jul 2018 15:14:30 +0000 The nullifying of the Political crisis/dilemma
written by Julio R. Romney/Political Analyst

Knowledge is understanding – with the swearing in of the Council of Ministers on June 25, 2018, the ruling United Democrats/Sint Maarten Christian Party (UD/SMCP) coalition government found itself in a political dilemma with not having enough sitting MP’s in the Parliament to govern.

The 8 to 7 ruling coalition government resigned 2 of its sitting members of parliament and had them sworn in as ministers, leaving the coalition with a 6 to 7 minority support in the Parliament. Consequently, there were not enough MP’s to form a quorum to convene Parliament in order to review the credentials and approve and/ or appoint replacement parliamentarians.

Luckily, a degree of political sensitivity was displayed in our polity neutralizing the political dilemma as 1 of the 2 minority parties (the National Alliance) in Parliament afforded the governing coalition the necessary support/ attendance to form a quorum, review the credentials and approve and/ appoint the 2 replacement MP’s.

The problem of an inability to allow MP’s to transform to Ministers while simultaneously ensuring the maintenance of power in Parliament is an institutional one. Hence, it is a structural rather than a constitutional crisis. New laws cannot resolve the problem.

The problem that emerged was not based on any (narrow) interpretation of the Constitution or law but a political dilemma where ensuring and maintaining the balance of power in Parliament was not explicitly and adequately (strategic politically) handled.

In politics we have to be mindful that political dilemmas come with consequences which in this case could have very well been a vote of no confidence in the UD/SMCP (1 week old) coalition government. Without the unusual political sensitivity shown by the opposition bench in Parliament, the likelihood of new elections would not have been neutralized.

Talks that the political dilemma could have been avoided with a larger majority in Parliament is pointless. Having a large majority in parliament does not necessarily safeguard any government from political dilemmas that could result in finding themselves in a minority support position (in parliament). Granted, a larger majority in government/ parliament is always better which for the most part allows the governing party to better execute its governing program, pass legislation and withstand a vote of non-confidence.

Furthermore, as for the report that the Parliamentarians should turn to the courts to have or ensure that their credentials are reviewed, (thus allowing them to sit in Parliament) is problematic. It not only raises question of “separation of powers” but also the infringement of the judicial branch of government on the authority/ duties and responsibilities of the legislative branch.

It is the task of the courts to handle and resolve disputes. However, there were no disputes as to whether or not the credentials of the replacement parliamentarian would be reviewed – it was a political, procedural problem of the governing coalition not having enough sitting MP’s in the Parliament to form a quorum to convene Parliament, to review the credentials and approve and/ appoint their two replacement MP’S.

Alternatively, the ruling coalition Government could have been more politically conscious of the potential dilemma and first secure their balance of power (in Parliament). That is, not waiting until the eleventh hour where there would be a conflict of a minister simultaneously being a parliamentarian; in this case proceeding with the swearing in 5 of the 7 ministers. As such maintaining the balance of power in Parliament and reviewing the credentials and approving the replacement parliamentarians would have been possible followed by the resignation of the parliamentarian that would be replaced and swearing in them as ministers. Political crises averted.


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Point Blanche Prison Dangerous and Hopeless Wed, 11 Jul 2018 15:14:45 +0000

According to the Committee the Government of Sint Maarten won’t be able to achieve much improvement when it comes to Point Blanche Prison. Photo: Persbureau Curaçao

By Rene Zwart©

The Hague – The Committee, set up by the Council of Ministers to supervise the implementation of the improvement plan for the prison on Sint Maarten since 2010, has raised the alarm. The Committee finds the situation ‘unattainable’ and finds that the government of the island not able to achieve significant improvement. The committee therefore argues for ‘massive support’ from the Netherlands.

“The situation is downright negative. No progress can be detected, and the prospect of improvement only exists in theory. The theory, however, has the character of a mirage: the image is there, but it has no content”, according to the Committee which calls the security situation in prison “without prejudice very dangerous” and speaks of a ‘hopeless situation’. Incidentally, this is not only the result of the damage inflicted by hurricane Irma. The situation of Point Blanche prison has been characterized as being inhumane since 2010.

The Committee fears for the near future if (on August 1,2018 the second part of extra security guards from the Netherlands and the imminent return of detainees temporarily place in Curaçao and the Netherlands will come to an end. The Committee points to another danger: “There is a high risk that the judiciary or the Public Prosecution Service will no longer refer convicts to the Point Blanche prison. In the absence of a functioning juvenile detention, juvenile suspects of a serious crime have already been sent away. Time passes, and the problems only become more acute. ”

The Government wants to build a new prison but has no budget for it. With only new construction, the problems are not solved. The Committee believes that a completely new detention system must be put in place. “An integrated approach (prevention, juvenile detention, rehabilitation, probation, alternative punishment) is necessary to significantly reduce recidivism and prevent an even larger prison from being built.”

The Committee does not consider Sint Maarten capable of doing so. “The lack of knowledge, work capacity and financial resources makes structurally tackling the detention problem an impossible task. The Committee believes a massive support from the Netherlands is necessary to ensure the humane detention of detainees. Possible forms of cooperation with the Netherlands and France must be investigated. ”

Secretary of State for Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops has forwarded the alarming findings of the Committee to the Second Chamber without going into the content.

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New Tourism minister hold talks with Maho Mon, 09 Jul 2018 00:34:49 +0000 The new Minister of TEATT Stewart Johnson released information that he had met with Saro Spadaro from the MAHO group but the most  Johnson could have done at this stage is to get information on their intensions, outlining what their plans were in relation to the rebuilding of the property. The move however from the minister is a good one in that he was able to learn of the plans for the Resort which was relayed to him first hand.

The Issue of the Chinese laborers although not Johnson’s responsibility, was reported on in his release stating Maho was not cutting cost by employing Chinese contractors but the guarantee presented to complete the job was more important to them. According to the release Johnson says he had a “frank discussion with Spadaro” during which he commended the hotelier for his “commitment to rebuilding following the destruction of the resorts by the hurricanes. He told Johnson that his urgency to rebuild came from watching the increase of visitors to Jamaica, Aruba, St. Kitts and the Dominican Republic as a direct result of St. Maarten recovering from the hurricanes of 2017.

Spadaro also said marketing St. Maarten was still essential to ensure that the improvement of the tourism product including hotels reopening was consistent with increased airlifts and visitor arrivals to the destination.

Minister Johnson said his Tourism Department will continue to keep St. Maarten present in the minds of travelers.

The minister toured Casino Royal which will reopen shortly with the area that housed the former Tantra Night Club turned into two fine-dining restaurants and a 360-degree view lounge. Spadaro said the new design of Sky Tower Hotel and the Ocean Point maximizes the use of open spaces to create an improved “Caribbean experience.”

Giving full disclosure, Spadaro explained that the use of Chinese nationals did not save cost but guaranteed 40% faster construction speed with improved technology, and availability of high-quality material. Before construction began the Chinese contractors built two model hotel rooms in China which were critiqued by Sonesta before a final decision was made for the hotels’ new look, the release in part concluded.


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