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Civil servants still in the Government Administration Building late on Tuesday afternoon were evacuated by security after their smoke detector alarm went off. The reason behind the alarm activation was not clear, but the Fire Department rushed to the scene with three vehicles as a precautionary measure. The building was inspected and cleared after 5:00pm by the firefighters, who said there was no indication of a blaze in the building. Minister of Education, Wycliffe Smith was the only minister seen outside the building with his staff while officials inspected the building, making sure it was safe to re-enter.

POND ISLAND--Eight hurricane shelters and five recovery shelters have been identified by government ahead of the peak period of the annual Atlantic Hurricane Season. The hurricane shelters will be open ahead of a weather event while the recovery ones will be available after the event has ended to house those severely affected by a tropical storm or hurricane.

  The opening of the hurricane shelters will be announced prior to a direct storm hit on government’s official information avenues: Facebook.com/sxmgov, www.sintmaartengov.org/hurricane, SXMGOV Radio 107.9 FM and via other media organizations.

Government provided two useful bits of information on Tuesday. One is a list of shelters that will be used in the event of approaching serious inclement weather, published going into the usual peak of the Atlantic hurricane season.

The eight designated emergency shelters seem well-chosen enough regarding geographical distribution, although it is not entirely clear to what extent they have been made more storm-resistant. Their opening if needed will be announced beforehand and they are to include law enforcement personnel to keep order.

Interesting is the addition of five “recovery sites” where people can go once the natural disaster has struck. These are large sports halls obviously meant to temporarily house people forced to leave their homes due to damage, for which the regular shelters were not intended.

This resolves the problem that occurred at the time of Hurricane Irma, when the public had been told shelters would only be available afterwards. The latter was a mistake not likely to be repeated.

So at least in that sense it appears the country is better prepared this year, while investments in local emergency services from the Dutch-sponsored Trust Fund managed by the World Bank continue. The chance that, for example, local authorities will be left largely without effective communication means is much smaller than it was on September 6, 2017.

The other valuable release is one about the obligation to report occupational accidents. Although no connection with the incident was made, a man’s recent death when a wall where he was doing construction work collapsed on top of him shocked the community.

Many speculated that building safety guidelines requirements had probably not been fully applied, but one can’t judge without being privy to details on precisely what took place. An investigation is in any case underway.

Meanwhile, employers have now been told exactly what they are supposed to do if on-the-job accidents do occur. “I didn’t know” as an excuse is thus no longer valid.

Today’s news from the St. Maarten Timeshare Association (SMTA) is most encouraging, as a steady increase in room inventory is foreseen. Expectations that the 2020-2021 season will start with no fewer than 2,050 units on the market should help inspire confidence in the future of the local hospitality industry and economy in general.

Of course, a lot still needs to happen, most notably construction of Sunwing Group’s Planet Hollywood on the site of the former Sonesta Great Bay Beach Hotel. But with Flamingo Beach Resort and Royal Palm Beach Resort scheduled to reopen in the second quarter next year plus other resorts fully back online, prospects for the dominant stayover tourism product seem good.

Currently 1,240 units are available, down from 1,910 pre-Hurricane Irma. The reported average occupancy of 87 per cent during the first six months of this year can be considered favourable as well, certainly under the circumstances.

These figures once again illustrate the importance of getting the restoration of Princess Juliana International (PJIA) to its former glory going sooner rather later. It simply makes little sense to keep putting more “heads in beds” if the destination is unable to comfortably fly them in and out.

One must therefore hope that recent developments in Parliament do not have any negative impact on rebuilding the terminal with a soft loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and a grant from the Dutch-sponsored Trust Fund managed by the World Bank, for US $50 million each. The project ought to be elevated above local politics.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico--Puerto Rico officials on Tuesday executed search warrants for the mobile phones of Governor Ricardo Rosselló and his top associates amid scandals that have provoked ten days of protests demanding his resignation and took a toll on tourism.

NWS National Hurricane Center Miami FL   

...DEPRESSION DISSIPATES...

...THIS IS THE LAST ADVISORY...

SUMMARY OF 1100 AM EDT...1500 UTC...INFORMATION

-----------------------------------------------

LOCATION...29.0N 80.0W

ABOUT 60 MI...100 KM ESE OF DAYTONA BEACH FLORIDA

ABOUT 100 MI...160 KM SE OF ST. AUGUSTINE FLORIDA

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...35 MPH...55 KM/H

PRESENT MOVEMENT...N OR 360 DEGREES AT 17 MPH...28 KM/H

MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...1014 MB...29.95 INCHES

 

WATCHES AND WARNINGS

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There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect.

 

 DISCUSSION AND OUTLOOK

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At 1100 AM EDT (1500 UTC), the remnants of Three were located near latitude 29.0 North, longitude 80.0 West. The remnants are moving toward the north near 17 mph (28 km/h). A turn toward the north-northeast is expected later today.

 

Maximum sustained winds are near 35 mph (55 km/h) with higher gusts. The remnants are expected to continue producing gusty winds through tonight.

 

The estimated minimum central pressure is 1014 mb (29.95 inches).

 

 HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND

----------------------

RAINFALL:  Additional rainfall amounts of 1 to 3 inches are possible across the northwest Bahamas today.

 

 NEXT ADVISORY

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This is the last public advisory issued by the National Hurricane Center on this system.  Additional information on this system can be found in High Seas Forecasts issued by the National Weather Service, under AWIPS header NFDHSFAT1, WMO header FZNT01 KWBC, and online at ocean.weather.gov/shtml/NFDHSFAT1.php

 

Forecaster Brown

NEW DELHI--India moved on Tuesday to overhaul decades-old labour laws, some dating from British colonial rule, by introducing two key measures in parliament that aim to make it easier for industry to meet labour standards and create more jobs.

NEW YORK/SANTIAGO--The IMF on Tuesday slashed its economic growth expectation for Latin America in 2019 by more than half compared with estimates from just three months ago, citing its downgrades to growth in both Brazil and Mexico, the region's largest economies.

LOS ANGELES--Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande dominated nominations on Tuesday for the MTV Video Music Awards (VMA) with 10 apiece, but some K-pop fans cried foul when best-selling Korean bands were placed in a separate category.

NEW YORK--A pair of 1972 running shoes, one of the first pairs made by Nike Inc, sold for $437,500 on Tuesday, shattering the record for a pair of sneakers at public auction.

WASHINGTON/GUATEMALA CITY--U.S. President Donald Trump said he is considering a "ban," tariffs and remittance fees after Guatemala decided not to ink a safe third country agreement that would have required the poor Central American country to take in more asylum seekers.

WASHINGTON- Advanced brain scans of U.S. Embassy employees who reported falling ill while serving in Havana revealed significant differences from a control group, according to a new study published on Tuesday.

LONDON--Boris Johnson, the Brexiteer who has promised to lead Britain out of the European Union with or without a deal by the end of October, will replace Theresa May as prime minister after winning the leadership of the Conservative Party on Tuesday.

MOSCOW/SEOUL--Russia carried out what it said was its first long-range joint air patrol in the Asia-Pacific region with China on Tuesday, a mission that triggered hundreds of warning shots, according to South Korean officials, and a strong protest from Japan.

ANGUILLA--Three international tennis coaches are currently in Anguilla assisting with Anguilla Tennis Academy’s (ATA) 24th annual summer camp. This is the second week of the camp which is being held for more than seventy children between the ages of three and seventeen.

NIMES, France- - Australia's Caleb Ewan claimed his second victory in this year's Tour de France when he prevailed in a bunch sprint at the end of a crash-hit 16th stage on Tuesday.

Dear Editor,

  Over the last few months the following newspaper headlines about Statian affairs have caught my attention:

  “Stuco needs to work on better governance”

  “Healthcare system on Statia falls short”

  “Shortage of drinking water result of limited maintenance”

  “Knops says: Bonaire, Saba, Statia can never be autonomous”

  These headlines remind me of one of my favorite African Proverbs, “Until lions learn how to write, Hunters will tell their stories for them”. In reflecting on the above headlines, one can definitely understand the significance of the African Proverb.

  These are the narratives that dominate our daily lives on these so called “Dutch Caribbean” islands. Narratives that consciously and/or subconsciously create an illusion that things managed and controlled by locals are inadequate, inefficient or not up to par.

  It is hard to change the narrative when we ourselves believe that the stories being told about us are “absolute truths”. Embracing these stories without question truly wounds the soul. The result of this soul-wounding is quite evident within our small communities today.

  The ancestors never accepted “these absolute truths” because they purposed in their hearts that, even though their physical bodies were in chains, their mind, spirit and soul would never be. It behooves those of us who are “wide awake” to continue planting seeds of resistance, pride and hope so that one day said seeds will blossom into trees that give great shade with solid and deep roots.

  In honor of those who have gone before us and in honor of those not yet born, I therefore purposefully change the headlines:

  “Stuco working hard to improve governance structure”

  “Healthcare system on Statia – a case of small successes”

  “Improving maintenance will decrease drinking water shortage”

  “Knops says: We must work together with Bonaire, Saba, Statia to realize the best possible autonomous arrangement” …

 

Xiomara Balentina

Dear Queenie,

  I have relatives who own a shop that sells lovely expensive clothes and every year for my birthday and Christmas they give me lovely things to wear. My problem is that my husband’s mother wears the same size clothes as me and she keeps wanting to borrow things from me, sometimes before I even have a chance to wear them myself.

  Queenie, it’s not as if she can’t afford to buy such things for herself. How do I get her to stop asking for mine without causing a big falling-out in the family?—Stylish daughter-in-law

 

Dear Daughter-in-law,

  It is okay to refuse to lend your mother-in-law your clothes. Just tell her, sorry, you are planning to wear whatever-it-is yourself.

  If your relatives’ shop is near where you live, you might offer to take your mother-in-law shopping there so she can pick out some nice things of her own and not have to borrow yours.

  And, when you have an occasion to give your mother-in-law a gift, give her a piece of clothing like one she has borrowed from you – from your relatives’ shop if you can afford it. Perhaps your relatives would even give you a discount if you explain the situation to them.