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HELPING OUR PEOPLE EXCEL ASSOCIATION [HOPE] In The News

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HOPE
Source: The Daily Herald
04 Feb 2015 06:29 AM

Princess Heights celebrates pioneering eco-certification

Princess Heights Luxury Boutique Condo Hotel General Manager Emil Lee (centre) holds a Green Key programme plaque amongst key representatives of the hotel, Foundation for Environmental Education, Environmental Protection in the Caribbean, and the St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association as they all hold up a Green Key programme flag.


DAWN BEACH--Princess Heights Luxury Boutique Condo Hotel celebrated its milestone in becoming the first and only property on the island to be awarded the prestigious Green Key Eco-label certification on hotel premises on the evening of February 2, amongst a crowd of supporters and key stakeholders.

International Green Key Director Finn Thomsen of the non-profit Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), which owns and runs the programme, was on hand to mark the occasion Read more


Candidates in this article:
HOPE
Source: SMN-News
04 Feb 2015 06:22 AM
>PHILIPSBURG:--- After holding the Government of St. Maarten on a line for a while, Dutch Minister Plasterk has "come clean", to use a local expression.
I am of the opinion that nothing that St. Maarten has done with respect to tackling integrity issues has made any difference for Minister Plasterk and his colleagues in the Dutch cabinet as far as imposing a measure of higher supervision on St. Maarten. That's what an article 51 measure is.
It is a measure that Minister Plasterk has been fencing with for a long time and actually used the Government of St Read more

Candidates in this article:
HOPE
Source: SXMIslandTime
03 Feb 2015 02:00 AM

Former Pm, Mp Wescot-Williams Disagrees With Minister Plasterk On Integrity Approach

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - After holding the government of St. Maarten on a line for a while, Dutch Minister Plasterk has "come clean", to use a local expression.

I am of the opinion that nothing that St. Maarten has done with respect to tackling integrity issues has made any difference for Minister Plasterk and his colleagues in the Dutch cabinet as far as imposing a measure of higher supervision on St. Maarten. That's what an article 51 measure is.

It is a measure that Minister Plasterk has been fencing with for a long time and actually used the government of St Read more


Candidates in this article:
PPA
HOPE
Source: The Daily Herald
31 Jan 2015 06:26 AM

Editorial - Risk of delay

That the Kingdom Council of Ministers took the first step for a general measure of governance to impose an Integrity Chamber on St. Maarten should not come as a complete surprise, taking into account recent statements in this newspaper by Justice Minister Dennis Richardson on the issue. An attempt had been made by Prime Minister Marcel Gumbs to smooth things over a bit during the subsequent visit of Kingdom Relations Minister Ronald Plasterk to the island, but apparently this "bad cop, good cop" routine did not lead to a compromise.

According to Plasterk, the intended general measure does not require the consent of the country in question Read more


Candidates in this article:
USP
HOPE
Source: The Daily Herald
31 Jan 2015 06:26 AM

Is change really coming?

Dear Editor,

Anyone who looked in The Daily Herald of Friday, January 30th, and saw the commercial from Music Man thanking the people for voting them the best place to buy Electronics, would be under the impression that that was in India or some dependent of India. This has nothing to do with human discrimination whatsoever, but it is a classic example of what the hot topic is based on these days.

One of the MP's in his debate during the budget meeting made it clear, when he was making a point concerning the counterpart policy, that it did not take rocket scientists to sell TV's and watches, with which I concur Read more


Candidates in this article:
HOPE
Source: The Daily Herald
31 Jan 2015 06:26 AM

Proposal to analyze DNA from 1 million people

WASHINGTON--The United States has proposed analyzing genetic information from more than 1 million American volunteers as part of a new initiative to understand human disease and develop medicines targeted to an individual's genetic make-up.

At the heart of the "precision medicine" initiative, announced on Friday by President Barack Obama, is the creation of a pool of people - healthy and ill, men and women, old and young - who would be studied to learn how genetic variants affect health and disease Read more


Candidates in this article:
HOPE
Source: The Daily Herald
31 Jan 2015 06:26 AM

Plasterk says no desire to steer integrity politically

THE HAGUE--The Kingdom Council of Ministers does not feel the need to steer the integrity issue in St. Maarten politically. It merely wants to prevent the safeguarding of integrity from becoming politically susceptible, said Dutch Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk on Friday.

The Kingdom Government decided on Friday to start the process for a so-called General Measure of the Kingdom Government ("Algemene Maatregel van Rijksbestuur" AMvRB) to establish an Integrity Chamber in St Read more


Candidates in this article:
HOPE
Source: SMN-News
31 Jan 2015 06:22 AM
>PHILIPSBURG:--- This week students of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Primary School were given the opportunity to cast their ballots in a 'mock election', which was part of the Project Approach on Citizenship/Government. The Cycle 2 year 2 students along with their classroom Teacher Tracy Joseph worked diligently to create manifestos which highlighted the goals each party expected to achieve if they win the election.
The aim of this project was to enable students to be active learners as they demonstrate an understanding of some fundamental rights of the Dutch citizen, that is, the right to vote and be voted for Read more

Candidates in this article:
HOPE
Source: SXMIslandTime
30 Jan 2015 08:18 PM

Mlk Host Mock Election

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - This week students of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Primary School were given the opportunity to cast their ballots in a 'mock election', which was part of the Project Approach on Citizenship/Government.

The Cycle 2 year 2 students along with their classroom Teacher Tracy Joseph worked diligently to create manifestos which highlighted the goals each party expected to achieve if they win the election.

The aim of this project was to enable students to be active learners as they demonstrate an understanding of some fundamental rights of the Dutch citizen, that is, the right to vote and be voted for.

This activity also developed awareness of the election process and how a government is formed.

"We are equipping our students with the educational experiences to be ready for the democratic and political responsibilities of continuing to lead this country forward in the coming years," remarked School Manager Stuart Johnson.

As students campaigned throughout the school the core social values, such as, respect and fairness among peer were reinforced Read more


Candidates in this article:
PPA
USP
HOPE
Source: The Daily Herald
30 Jan 2015 06:24 AM

Editorial - Not too much

Judging by his statements in Parliament, the cabinet headed by Prime Minister Marcel Gumbs will be diligent about tackling misspending within the public sector. In answering questions during the 2015 budget debate on, for example, the use by officials of credit cards, cell phones and rental cars, he did not hide his disapproval of the apparently excessive cost involved, nor his intention to do something about it.

That must have sounded like music to the ears of many who have grown wary of watching obvious waste of taxpayers' hard-earned money year after year, while essential collective needs cannot be addressed properly due to lack of funds Read more


Candidates in this article:
HOPE
Source: The Daily Herald
30 Jan 2015 06:24 AM

Westin changes its tune on beach access

DAWN BEACH--The blocking of public beach access by The Westin St. Maarten Dawn Beach Resort and Spa changed quickly after its doing so landed the property on the front page of The Daily Herald's Wednesday, January 28 edition.

One resident who had sent a detailed complaint to this newspaper reported that beach chairs had been moved to make more space for beachgoers and that security guards had been especially welcoming and polite, even seeming "relieved." The chairs were said to have been pulled back "a good 25 yards from each end of the beach."

The resident, who previously had described being approached and harassed by security guards over the past three years about his and his wife's not being allowed to place their "own chairs and umbrella anywhere on the beach within the perimeters of their property" said there had been "no harassment and no restrictions" on where they could sit on Wednesday, when the article ran.

"It was a pleasure to spend a few hours enjoying the beautiful beach with no interference," he said Read more


Candidates in this article:
DP
PPA
HOPE
Source: The Daily Herald
29 Jan 2015 06:26 AM

SMTA calls for summit, decisive action on Timeshare Ordinance

SIMPSON BAY--"The time for decisive action is now," says St. Maarten Timeshare Association (SMTA) chairman Marcel Javois in relation to the Advisory Council's remarks on the Timeshare Ordinance brought to SMTA's attention recently. The SMTA is calling for a summit on the matter to discuss the best way forward.

"The SMTA has taken keen note of the recent comments and statements surrounding the Timeshare Ordinance. We believe that it is now time for urgent action, with this matter having been on the table for over 18 years," Javois was quoted as saying in an SMTA press statement released January 28.

SMTA said it had "just learned that the Advisory Council is unhappy with the Timeshare Ordinance Civil Code amendments and the Timeshare Authority Ordinance that will assist government and consumers in regulating the timeshare industry being drafted in the English language.

"At the time the laws were drafted for Member of Parliament [MP – Ed.] Leroy de Weever, the initiator of the laws, then-Minister of Justice Roland Duncan, and the supervising expert of the legislation, Judge Professor Jan de Boer, believed that there was ample justification for the laws to be drafted in English as it is one of our two official languages.

"In April of last year, the SMTA met with Minister of Justice Dennis Richardson, who said that many timeshare concepts were so English-specific and given that Holland has only one small timeshare property, that English should be used, but the law should be as a separate national law rather than part of the Civil Code, which needs to be as uniform as possible throughout the Kingdom.

"We understand that the Advisory Council is also not satisfied with using that as a solution.

"Given the late hour and the urgency of the issue as a national priority now that two large timeshare properties are having serious trouble and government has no tools to help, the SMTA hereby calls for an immediate summit to be convened."

SMTA called for the summit to include players that might have input, including current parliamentary initiator of the law Democratic Party (DP) through its leader MP Sarah Wescot-Williams, Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT) Claret Connor, Minister of Justice Dennis Richardson, the Advisory Council, the Ombudsman, Department of Legal Affairs and the SMTA, "in order to make a plan to get this legislation corrected and, if necessary, translated accurately to Dutch, and passed in the shortest time possible."

As reported in Tuesday's edition of The Daily Herald, the hold-up in the processing of the draft initiative laws to regulate the timeshare sector has come down to a matter of language Read more


Candidates in this article:
DP
PPA
HOPE
Source: The Daily Herald
27 Jan 2015 06:24 AM

Advisory Council wants timeshare law in Dutch

PHILIPSBURG--The hold up in the processing of the draft initiative laws to regulate the timeshare sector has come down to a matter of language. The two draft laws are written in English, one of the official languages of the country, but the Advisory Council has requested the law to be re-submitted by the Democratic Party (DP), the initiator, in Dutch.

All of the country's laws are in Dutch and the judicial system, which executes the laws, is almost entirely in Dutch.

DP Leader Member of Parliament Sarah Wescot-Williams said at a press conference held in Parliament House on Monday, she intends to take up the law with Tourism and Economic Affairs Minister Claret Connor, when they meet on February 5 Read more


Candidates in this article:
HOPE
Source: SMN-News
27 Jan 2015 06:23 AM
style="text-align: center;">Plans of Approach for Integrity reports, Approval of Integrity Chamber Ordinance, nomination of "Kwartiermaker"

PHILIPSBURG:--- Government on Monday, January 26th submitted to Parliament the plan of approach to implement the recommendations of the three integrity reports as instructed by Parliament in a motion that was unanimously passed by Parliament on October 22, 2014. The plan addresses the General Audit Chamber Report, the Wit-Samson "Doing Things Right" and the PwC report on Integrity.

The Council of Ministers also informed Parliament on Monday that it has approved a draft ordinance to establish an Integrity Chamber for Sint Maarten as well as nominated a so called "Kwartiermaker" by resolution (landsbesluit) who will be charged with preparing the implementation of the aforementioned ordinance Read more


Candidates in this article:
HOPE
Source: SXMIslandTime
26 Jan 2015 09:06 PM

Integrity Remains Priority For Gumbs Cabinet: Plans Of Approach For Integrity Reports, Approval Of Integrity Chamber Ordinance, Nomination Of "Kwartiermaker"

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - Government on Monday, January 26th submitted to Parliament the plan of approach to implement the recommendations of the three integrity reports as instructed by Parliament in a motion that was unanimously passed by Parliament on October 22, 2014.

The plan addresses the General Audit Chamber Report, the Wit-Samson "Doing Things Right" and the PwC report on Integrity

The Council of Ministers also informed Parliament on Monday that it has approved a draft ordinance to establish an Integrity Chamber for Sint Maarten as well as nominated a so called "Kwartiermaker" by resolution (landsbesluit) who will be charged with preparing the implementation of the aforementioned ordinance.

The ordinance has been forwarded to the Council of Advice in the regular trajectory to request advice.

The draft ordinance is of the utmost importance as it will establish an institution based on article 98 of our constitution to investigate breaches of integrity and will function as an advisory body for the Government in matters related to Integrity.

"This ordinance has been submitted today to the Advisory Council and we hope that within short the draft will reach Parliament for debate in order to be decided upon," Prime Minister the Hon Read more


Candidates in this article:
HOPE
Source: The Daily Herald
23 Jan 2015 06:28 AM

The Emilio Wilson Estate St. Maarten’s Heritage in peril

Dear Editor,

A number of people have called me over the past two days to express their frustration regarding the most recent turn of events in what some are now calling the Emilio Wilson Estate Saga.

The news as featured in the local media announcing that Rain Forest Adventures (RFA) has obtained or will soon obtain the long lease to Emilio Wilson Estate is of course extremely worrisome. The Honourable Prime Minister Gumbs' (a gentleman I hold in high regard) statement in the media yesterday that "no long-lease has been granted to Rain Forest Adventures" and that he has "not signed anything for or granted anything" does nothing to decrease my concerns Read more


Candidates in this article:
HOPE
Source: The Daily Herald
23 Jan 2015 06:28 AM

‘Integrity Chamber must be free of political influence’

THE HAGUE--Dutch Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk wants to be sure that the independent position of the Integrity Chamber is entirely safeguarded. In his opinion, the current version of St. Maarten's national ordinance to establish the Integrity Chamber doesn't completely secure its independent position, because the ultimate responsibility lies with the St. Maarten Parliament.

"I fear that the independence is not entirely secured if it is anchored in a national ordinance, because the Parliament of St Read more


Candidates in this article:
DP
NA
USP
HOPE
Source: The Daily Herald
23 Jan 2015 06:28 AM

William agrees with CFT’s lower budget assessment

PHILIPSBURG--National Alliance (NA) leader Member of Parliament (MP) William Marlin says his party agrees with the Committee for Financial Supervision CFT estimate of the draft budget. CFT has tagged the budget at NAf Read more


Candidates in this article:
HOPE
Source: The Daily Herald
21 Jan 2015 06:24 AM

Pledges of cooperation to new Dutch Representative

PHILIPSBURG--New Representative of the Netherlands in Curaçao, Aruba and St. Maarten Henk Brons was welcomed with pledges of cooperation and communication during an informal brunch at Sheer Restaurant in Philipsburg on Tuesday morning.

Hosted by acting Dutch Representative in Philipsburg Gert Versluis, the gathering also served to bid farewell to Dutch Representative Gerard van der Wulp, who served the Dutch Government in this capacity during the past three years and six months. He is now going into retirement.

Many dignitaries and government officials sat in on the brunch Read more


Candidates in this article:
DP
HOPE
Source: The Daily Herald
21 Jan 2015 06:24 AM

Sarah: Gumbs twisted truth about screening

PHILIPSBURG--"I had nothing to do with the actual screening of the Gumbs Cabinet ministers, and the Prime Minister knows this full well," stated Democratic Party (DP) Member of Parliament Sarah Wescot-Williams in a statement Tuesday.

"After all, he was not only informateur, he himself was candidate minister Read more


Candidates in this article:
HOPE
Source: The Daily Herald
20 Jan 2015 06:24 AM

‘Common ground’ sought on integrity regulations

PHILIPSBURG--The Dutch and St. Maarten Governments will seek "common ground" on the implementation of measures to ensure integrity of public servants and politicians.

Technocrats on both sides of the ocean will have a video conference later this week to try to connect areas in the ordinance and the areas outlined in the kingdom regulation containing general measures related to integrity.

Following the work of the technocrats, officials of both governments will review the results with the hope of coming to a solid agreement.

"We will see how we can probably merge the two of them or fit the two of them Read more


Candidates in this article:
PPA
HOPE
Source: The Daily Herald
19 Jan 2015 06:24 AM

Editorial - Louder than words

It appears St. Maarten and the Dutch Government are heading for a showdown again, judging from statements by Justice Minister Dennis Richardson in today's paper. This time it regards what he called a "draconic" proposal for an Integrity Chamber.

The Hague apparently is not satisfied with the current local plans that call for one representative of the Netherlands in the three-member chamber as well as one in the Progress Committee that is to monitor the integrity improvement course. Instead, the intention is reportedly for Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte to appoint the Integrity Chamber's chairperson and his cabinet a second member, leaving St Read more


Candidates in this article:
HOPE
Source: The Daily Herald
17 Jan 2015 06:24 AM

BTP wants end to fraud allegations

PHILIPSBURG--The Supervisory Board of the St. Maarten Bureau Telecommunication and Post BTP SXM has issued a press release saying that after prior consultation with Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT) Claret Connor, it has decided to make a public statement that "it is evident that crucial available information within Government is not made available to all, or considered, which leads to the continued unfounded allegation of fraud at the BTP SXM."

"In an effort to address these unfounded allegations once and for all the Supervisory Board of BTP SXM wishes to inform all that the laws applicable to the functioning of BTP SXM are followed Read more


Candidates in this article:
HOPE
Source: SMN-News
17 Jan 2015 06:22 AM
>PHILIPSBURG:--- The outcome of the Inter-parliamentary Kingdom Consultation (IPKO) that took place in Aruba recently, will be a topic of discussion on Friday morning in the House of Parliament when the Permanent Kingdom Affairs and Inter-parliamentary Relations Committee will meet for a debriefing.
The meeting is scheduled to start at 10.00am in the General Assembly Chamber, and members of the public are invited to attend the open session.
The next IPKO is scheduled for May 27 to 29 in The Hague, the Netherlands which will be attended by parliamentary delegations from the Netherlands, Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten.
Members of Parliament (MPs) will be sharing their opinions on Friday morning when the House sits for the debriefing.
On energy matters, delegation members fully support cooperation in the area of energy, and look forward to seeing the utility companies of Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten coming together to have discussions in exploring such cooperation.
After such discussions are held, it should lead to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) being signed by the three parties.
The delegation members then hope to be able to discuss the MOU at the next IPKO meeting.
A workgroup has been established with representatives from the following countries: Rasmijn (Aruba), Sulvaran (Curacao) and Bosman (the Netherlands) Read more

Candidates in this article:
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