Grid List

SIMPSON BAY--Presidente Beer’s free benefit concert was well attended on Sunday as international and local artistes entertained the thousands on Kim Sha Beach. Proceeds of Presidente beer sold during the event were donated to various relief organisations in St. Maarten such as the St. Maarten Youth Brigade, Red Cross and K1 Britannia.

PHILIPSBURG--Prime Minister William Marlin said on Sunday following a phone call from Dutch Minister of Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk that it is not right for the Dutch government to hold the people of Sint Maarten hostage over the issue of establishing an Integrity Chamber controlled by the Dutch and reporting to the Dutch.

One does not need to be a brain surgeon to figure out that there is some urgency involved in getting St. Maarten’s hospitality industry at least somewhat back on track. With no other sources of income to speak of, the Dutch side depends almost completely on what visitors spend while here.
As several large resorts are not opening until after winter and others only partially, the upcoming season promises to be a difficult one at best. This makes convincing cruise ships to start calling on the island again that much more important and current efforts to do so certainly deserve support.
However, the marine sector is also a key player in the tourism economy and reportedly contributes no less than 15 per cent of such. With that in mind, today’s story on a letter sent to the Council of Ministers and Parliament by yachting professionals is clearly reason for concern.
The local marinas need to recover quickly so they can receive visiting boats, and removing sunken wrecks is obviously paramount to that process. While rules and regulations must in principle always be respected and enforced, the passage of catastrophic Hurricane Irma has created an exceptional situation.
Under the circumstances, being a bit flexible about the paperwork when allowing barges and cranes to do salvaging work doesn’t seem too much to ask, providing proper precautions and supervision regarding safety and the environment are ensured. Ultimately, having the yachts return in numbers as soon as possible is in everybody’s best interest.

There is some good news on the educational front today. For one thing “Dienst Uitvoering Onderwijs” (DUO) in the Netherlands announced a grace period for study debt payments by former St. Maarten students. Of course, those involved must be properly registered, but they can at least get relief from this financial obligation until December 2018.
The move will no doubt be welcomed by the professionals in question. It’s no secret that these debts are a considerable burden to many of them, partly because for years the euro rose in value compared to the US dollar to which the Antillean guilder is pegged, making for an unfavourable exchange rate.
Also positive is Tuesday’s reopening of Philipsburg Jubilee Library, despite the building having suffered substantial damage. Especially with electricity, cable television and Internet still not available everywhere, being able to access reading materials is a great necessity.
What’s more, the facility has an Internet Café and DVDs visitors can use there. Outreach services like book boxes for day-care centres and afterschool programmes as well as puppet theatre and reading activities are resuming too.
Touching was the report about Saba’s Queen Wilhelmina Library holding a bake and food sale to benefit St. Maarten’s library. It shows that while perhaps constitutionally a bit further apart since 10-10-10, ties between the two islands remain strong.
In addition, donations to aid local schools, pupils and their parents continue, as for example seen in stories about 1,000 composition books and other learning materials supplied by Office World and the initiative of a student in the Netherlands. Various similar contributions have been made since the passage of Hurricane Irma, not in the last place three pavilion tents to house 36 classrooms and school furniture brought in by Dutch navy ship Karel Doorman on October 1 paid for with European Union (EU) funds.
Unfortunately, there is also some bad news at University of St. Martin, where President Francio Guadeloupe tendered his resignation after having earlier warned that closure would be imminent without a significant subsidy increase.
Hopefully, a solution can be found for that situation, because it’s the island’s only institution of higher learning. The importance of education, particularly in times of relative economic uncertainty, shouldn’t be underestimated.
All in all, despite having to miss close to a month of classes, it appears that – with a little help – most schools are quickly getting back on track.

ROSEAU, Dominica--Despite the hard hit from Hurricane Maria last month, Dominica’s tourism sector is getting back on track, with some properties open for business.

GEORGETOWN, Guyana--“The decision of the President to act unilaterally and independently of the submissions of the Leader of the Opposition poses a clear threat to democracy and will inevitably divide the nation and lead to economic instability. It is a dangerous decision.”

BEIJING--China's unemployment rate has hit its lowest point in multiple years at 3.95 percent by the end of September, but employment still face challenges as the economy pushes ahead with structural reforms, China's labour ministry said on Sunday.

BAGHDAD--Saudi Oil Minister Khalid al-Falih made a high profile visit to Iraq on Saturday, calling for increased economic cooperation and praising existing coordination to boost crude oil prices.

LONDON--A personal letter found on the body of a man killed in the sinking of the Titanic sold at auction on Saturday for 126,000 pounds ($166,000), a record price for correspondence from the doomed liner.

HAVANA--A play parodying the lengths some Cubans will go to in order to earn a few tourist dollars set against the backdrop of socially critical graffiti is adding punch to Havana’s annual theater festival.

WASHINGTON--The U.S government issued a rare public warning that sophisticated hackers are targeting energy and industrial firms, the latest sign that cyber attacks present an increasing threat to the power industry and other public infrastructure.

NEW YORK--There were only a few minutes left before baggage carousel No. 4 jolted to life at John F. Kennedy International Airport, soon to be ringed with people coming from Puerto Rico on one-way tickets they never would have bought if not for the hurricane.

MILAN--Two wealthy regions of northern Italy voted overwhelmingly on Sunday for greater autonomy in referendums that could fan regional tensions in Europe at a time when Spain is striving to prevent Catalonia from breaking away.

TOKYO--Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling bloc scored a big win in Sunday's election, bolstering his chance of becoming the nation's longest-serving premier and re-energising his push to revise the pacifist constitution.
Abe's Liberal Democratic Party-led (LDP) coalition won a combined 312 seats, keeping its two-thirds "super majority" in the 465-member lower house, local media said.

MARIGOT—President of the Collectivité Daniel Gibbs received a visit on Friday from Noël Le Graët, President of the French Football Federation (FFF), who arrived with a delegation from the Football League of Guadeloupe.

MADRID- - A Marco Asensio-inspired Real Madrid crushed Eibar 3-0 to close the gap on La Liga leaders Barcelona to five points on Sunday, with Karim Benzema starting on the bench.

Dear Queenie,
Everyone in my family thinks my sister’s husband is just about perfect and I did too until I saw him in a restaurant with another woman and they were acting like they were more than just co-workers or casual friends.
I feel awful knowing what I saw, but I would feel worse if telling her would break up their marriage.
Queenie, should I tell my sister what I saw?—Ambivalent

Dear Ambivalent,
How would you feel if your positions were reversed? Would you want your sister to tell you what she saw? If you would, tell your sister (tactfully) what you saw. It might actually help to save their marriage.

A few months before Irma, I got a request from the VROMI Minister on his official VROMI Government letterhead (with what appears to be a Black Power fist as part of that official letterhead??), requesting a donation of FLS. 5,000.00 towards a plan to put two very tall flagpoles with huge Miami- dealership-style SXM flags in strategic locations: one on the Bell property above what was once Harold Jack's look-out stand and one in the (now not so) Great Salt Pond, at the combined cost of well over US$ 150,000.00.
The idea was to before November 11, 2017, have a prominent display of our National Flag in places where if people took selfies, the flag would proudly be displayed in the back ground, in an effort to increase National Pride awareness. Nothing wrong in my opinion with the basic premise or idea, but I questioned the huge price tag of this project, knowing all the other more pressing needs of the country. A simpler version, even then (pre-Irma), would send the same message of national local pride.. But now post Irma, with so much suffering throughout the community still very much in play and us as a nation asking third parties to send help and funds to re-build SXM, for our Minister of Infrastructure to press on with this project using taxpayers Guilders is nothing short of ludicrous and irresponsible behavior in my opinion. Unless of course I am missing something and he has gotten 100% private sector funding for his pet project. Then I apologize in advance to the Minister and question the sanity of the lunatics that are providing the cash.

Michael J. Ferrier

Attached is a picture taken at the Ex-Harold Jack location on Saturday October 21, 2017 at around 5:15 PM. Notice the VROMI Dept car and the Minister's dark tinted MR-6 official vehicle at the site.

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