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The St. Maarten Fire Department and the St. Maarten Police Force KPSM were called out to Walter Nisbeth Road (Pondfill) on Monday morning because of a car fire. The cause of the fire is yet unknown. Luckily, nobody was hurt in the incident and firefighters quickly had the blaze under control. Photo of firefighters by Sjorensly Valies.

Caretaker Minister of Justice Perry Geerlings (2nd from left) during the signing of an agreement with the unions that represent law enforcement officials.


POND ISLAND--Caretaker Minister of Justice Perry Geerlings signed a ministerial decree to pay out an advance on an expected retroactive payment to a group of members of the St. Maarten Police Force.

Two stories in the newspaper inspire hope that the 550-million-euro Trust Fund made available by the Netherlands to help St. Maarten rebuild from the devastating passage of Hurricane Irma in September 2017 will be used effectively. Over two years later, the complaint that too little is happening too slowly has become the prevailing narrative.

The National Recovery Programme Bureau (NRPB) announced the tender for the salvaging, decommissioning and disposing of around 80 boat wrecks in Simpson Bay Lagoon and Mullet Pond. Supervising the removal of shoreline and shallow water debris is also included.

This project has been long in coming and realistically won’t start until next year, possibly even after the high season. It’s nevertheless important to help revive the marine industry that took a big blow from Irma as well.

The second case is outgoing Finance Minister Perry Geerlings’ proposal to stimulate micro-, small- and medium-size businesses with US $10-15 million in relief subsidy or grant based on loss in turnover in the12 months following Irma compared to the year before. He expects some 2,500 applications, so the impact would certainly be widespread.

One ought to keep in mind that the minister not only has caretaker status but is making this announcement on practically his last day in office and the new interim government being installed today could – understandably – have something to say about the matter. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad plan and should not be executed.

Take for example draft amendments recently submitted by acting Prime Minister Wycliffe Smith to bring the Electoral Ordinance and Law on the Registration and Financing of Political Parties in line with the Constitution regarding the dissolution of Parliament and calling snap elections. This is something Governor Eugene had also given as task for the transitional cabinet to be presented by “formateur” Silveria Jacobs.

In general, St. Maarten would do well to step away from making political footballs of major issues including the airport, hospital and dump, by embracing what’s ultimately best for the country and its people, regardless of whom that came from. It’s high time to get over the crab mentality.

An interim cabinet will be sworn in Tuesday (see related story) to manage the country’s affairs until the new Parliament to be elected on January 9 takes office per February 10 and appoints a next one for the usual – intended – term of four years. That the incoming Council of Ministers has only five instead of the normal seven members is no big deal considering its transitional nature and short duration, also in terms of saving some money to limit the extra cost involved with these frequent premature changes in government.

It’s interesting that three of the five are current National Alliance (NA) Members of Parliament (MPs), while a fourth was a candidate on the same party’s list. The fifth is current VROMI minister of the former UD/SMCP coalition Christopher Wever, who has been permitted to stay on just as he was excluded from the motion of no confidence against the Romeo-Marlin Cabinet.

It thus appears that neither the two independent – former UD – parliamentarians Mercelina and Brownbill nor the United St. Maarten Party (US Party) that are part of the current legislative majority of nine will – at least for now – have a cabinet member they nominated, unless Wever represents one or more of them. That may have something to do with the two ministers’ posts still to be filled, plus that of plenipotentiary minister in The Hague.

Having several MPs join the executive branch at this time might not be a bad development. For one thing, it allows them to carry responsibility for helping to bring down the outgoing government.

Their main priorities have also been clearly laid out by Governor Eugene Holiday in the task he gave “formateur” and future Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs, which includes executing agreements with the Netherlands on financing the national recovery, specifically the all-important rehabilitation of Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA). The new ministers consequently have their work cut out for them.

GEORGEOWN, Guyana--Minister of State Dawn Hastings-Williams on Sunday joined representatives, supporters and other well-wishers of the Give Another Chance Foundation (GACF) in their Second Annual World Children’s Day Awareness Walk and pop-up festival

PARAMARIBO, Suriname--A woman was injured on Sunday morning, when an armoured vehicle of the National Army NL ran off the road and crashed into a couple of buildings in Paramaribo. The vehicle, a Brazilian made “Urutu,” was coming off the steep Jules Wijdenbosch Bridge, when its driver lost control.

LONDON/BRUSSELS--Fatih Birol, the head of the International Energy Agency (IEA), faced renewed pressure on Monday from investors and scientists concerned about climate change to overhaul the agency's projections for fossil fuel demand.

AMSTERDAM/London--Tata Steel plans to cut up to 3,000 jobs across its European operations, the company said on Monday, as the sector wrestles with excess supply, weak demand and high costs.

NEW YORK--A woman who accuses Jeffrey Epstein of sexually abusing her as a child on Monday said Britain’s Prince Andrew should tell U.S. authorities what he knows about the financier.

LONDON--Television series "The Crown" might have won millions of fans across the globe with its dramatisation of the life and reign of Britain's Queen Elizabeth but one royal historian has accused it of peddling a subversive republican message.

WASHINGTON--The United States on Monday effectively backed Israel's right to build Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank by abandoning its four-decade-old position that they were "inconsistent with international law," a stance that may make Israeli-Palestinian peace even more elusive.

WASHINGTON--Democrats responded skeptically on Monday to President Donald Trump's declaration that he might be willing to testify in his impeachment inquiry and also said they were examining the truthfulness of his testimony in the Russia 2016 election interference probe.

SAO JOSE DOS CAMPOS, Brazil--Deforestation in Brazil's Amazon rainforest rose to its highest in over a decade this year, government data on Monday showed, confirming a sharp increase under the leadership of right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro.
  The data from Brazil's INPE space research agency, which showed deforestation soaring 29.5% to 9,762 square kilometers for the 12 months through July 2019, sparked an uncharacteristic admission by the government that something needed to be done to stem the tide.

HONG KONG--Dozens of Hong Kong protesters staged a dramatic escape from a university campus sealed off by police on Monday by shimmying down plastic hosing from a bridge and fleeing on waiting motorbikes as the police fired projectiles.

St. Maarten U15 National Soccer team receiving their award for Best Overall Team from Government Sports Department Head, Janelle Richardson.


COLE BAY—Bodybuilder Maudienne Profas and Kickboxer Omar Marsham were named female and male athletes of the year at the 4th Annual Brown Pelican Sports Awards ceremony held in Port de Plaisance Sunday evening.

PALERMO, Italy-- Italy thumped hapless Armenia 9-1 on Monday to complete their Euro 2020 qualifying group with a perfect record and extend their record-breaking run to 11 successive international wins as they looked forward to next year's tournament.

Voice for the children/kids/teens of SXM


Dear Editor,

  As most of you know that I started my business Coffee Lounge for the love of all the children of St. Maarten when I saw someone trying to sell the wrong stuff to a teenager. I realized that we need a nice safe chilled out place for them.

  When I went to drop a 17-year-old at 7:00pm she told me that she could walk from the supermarket to her house which was right behind the supermarket. I insisted to take her bags and drop her to the house in my car. It was pitch dark and in an area (Sucker Garden) where there are many houses, but all the road lights were off at 7:00pm. On asking her she says it’s always this dark. I was shocked because these teenage girls are walking up and down and what if something happens to any one of them. Who is responsible? Is this the kind of security we are giving our children walking on the streets?

  Secondly, Three Palm Plaza is an area where teenagers hang out after the movies to grab Domino’s pizza and I realised that a lot of them are sitting again in the car or standing in the open and smoking the wrong stuff. Other smaller kids are being exposed and influenced to second-hand smoking.

  Can someone in authority please make it a safe better environment for the children since they are our future and next upcoming generation for the betterment of our Country St. Maarten.


Seema Mirchandani

Dear Queenie,

  I like to make things out of wood, and a friend of mine who stops by to visit while I am working at it often asks me if I’ll make him something like that for a wedding present, and I always tell him, “When I get an invitation to the wedding.”

  Well, he got married and I didn’t get invited.

  He still stops by sometimes and once when I was making a toy for a child he asked if I would make one for his new baby.

  Queenie, I have never mentioned not being invited to the wedding. How should I answer this?—Insulted


Dear Insulted,

  Just say, “When I get an invitation to his (or her) birthday party.”

  As for the wedding, is it possible that the happy couple had a very small wedding, perhaps family only, possibly for financial reasons that they would prefer not to discuss?