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A vehicle engaged in public transportation without correct licence plates.

 

 

 

~ NAf. 6,650 in fines given out ~

 

PHILIPSBURG--The Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications (TEATT) Control Unit executed several controls over the past week on public transportation and economic activity, where they made use of the “fine book” which was prepared in collaboration with the Prosecutor’s Office.

  A total of NAf. 6,650 in fines were issued last week, including fines issued to four persons found illegally “vending” on Mullet Bay Beach and around Sunset Beach Bar. The fines were issued for braiding hair, selling tourist articles and massaging a tourist without the correct permits.

  Other violations for which fines were issued include transporting persons over the public road without a permit; operating a motor vehicle engaged in passenger transport without a licence plate issued under the Passenger Transport Ordinance; operating a motor vehicle without having a valid inspection certificate; a driver not in possession of insurance or unable to show proof of insurance on request; and lastly, annoyingly praising, calling, or acting in any other distasteful way to attract others’ attention or solicit in the search of a fare.

  TEATT’s Inspectorate reminds the public that engaging in economic activity – whether it be public street trade such as vending, operating a business or transporting persons over the public road – requires a permit from the TEATT Minister.

  The Inspectorate strongly advises the general public to first seek out information at the Economic Licences Department, located in the government building, before engaging in unlicensed economic activity.

  All permit holders are reminded to be familiar with and to abide by the conditions of their permit, because failure to do so is punishable under the applicable ordinances.

  The Control Unit announced on Wednesday that its controllers will continue to execute enforcement of the applicable ordinances with zero tolerance. The Ministry’s objective is to ensure a level playing field for law-abiding permit holders as well as to discourage illegal activity in all sectors of the economy.

In combination with the celebration of Father’s Day on June 16, Bishop of Willemstad Luigi Secco was in St. Maarten to administer the Sacrament of Confirmation to 25 candidates at St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church on Front Street. For two years the candidates attended confirmation classes, participated in church-related activities and carried out 40 hours of Christian service in preparation for their religious milestone.

News that the United Democrats (UD)/St. Maarten Christian Party (SMCP) coalition had asked several ministers to resign spread like wildfire. Many feared there might be a change in government or even another early election, but that is – at least for now – not the case.

It regards only two of the seven members of the Romeo-Marlin cabinet, the rest of whom can apparently still count on the current – minimum – majority backing in Parliament. Unless that changes there is thus no political crisis.

The sudden move is nevertheless highly unusual, while the reasons mentioned raise more questions than they answer. After all, Minister Miklos Giterson’s drunk-driving conviction doesn’t become irrevocable until after his appeal options have been exhausted and it’s not exactly corruption or murder either.

And blaming Justice Minister Cornelius de Weever for “Dutch infiltration in the justice system” sounds rather simpleminded and unrealistic. The large law enforcement presence from the Netherlands has more to do with agreements made by many of his predecessors and others, consensus kingdom laws, plans of approach, technical assistance and the simple lack of local alternatives for functions such as prosecutors and police officers.

Giterson making his position available to Governor Eugene Holiday in any case seems to indicate he is ready to step down. Refusal to do so would obviously result in a motion of no-confidence.

Whatever the motives behind this demand for their departure, the UD/SMPC coalition had better have some good successors ready for these two ministers who can be quickly screened and installed. The last thing the country needs as it continues to recover from the most powerful Atlantic hurricane on record is delays in decision-making and action by government due to newcomers still having to learn the ropes.

Whoever comes in under the present circumstances needs to very much hit the ground running.

That Diamond Resorts intends to reopen its two Hurricane Irma-damaged timeshare properties (see Tuesday paper) in June 2020 is welcome news. Although some might have hoped they could already be available for the next high season starting in December, the commitment reportedly made to a visiting government delegation for a return one year from now is what’s most important.

For one thing, former personnel who stayed un- or underemployed for more than a year now have at least some prospect of being rehired. What’s more, another six-month Emergency Income Support and Training Programme (EISTP) cycle following the one that recently started may still be required for this group and others so they can keep getting a bi-weekly stipend, small transport allowance and – crucially – medical coverage until then.

With 1,087 participants in the various courses and enrolment up by 36 per cent, the need to continue this programme financed from the Dutch-sponsored Trust Fund managed by the World Bank for the time being seems clear. The added benefit is a better-educated workforce and consequently enhanced service.

The Flamingo Beach and Royal Palm Beach resorts are a major part of the island’s room inventory that is slowly but surely rising back to pre-Irma levels. Other promising developments in that sense appear to be taking place at Sapphire Beach Club and The Cliff in the Cupecoy area.

It would also be interesting to know the plans of The Westin Dawn Beach Resort and Spa, where the main hotel remains closed and only the timeshare part is open. However, with construction on a bigger Planet Hollywood to replace the demolished former Great Bay Beach Resort starting soon, it’s safe to say the Dutch side’s hospitality industry is clearly rebounding strongly.

And it’s not just about rebuilding, but also upgrading visitor accommodations and facilities as well as human resources to deliver an improved tourism product.

NASSAU, The Bahamas--The Bahamas is making a bid to get a seat on the United Nations (UN) Security Council, but the vote it’s preparing for won’t be for another 12 years.

PARAMARIBO--The two siblings who were arrested in Paramaribo in 2017 on terrorism charges, walked out of court last week as free men. Raoul A. who received a two-year conditional sentence was released on Friday because he had already spent the entire term in pre-detention. His brother Nasr A. was acquitted, because the Judge did not deem it proven that he had been involved in his brother’s terrorism activities. Nasr had been released several weeks ago.

WASHINGTON--The U.S. Federal Reserve on Wednesday said it was ready to battle growing global and domestic economic risks with interest rate cuts beginning as early as next month, as it took stock of rising trade tensions and growing concerns about weak inflation.

LUXEMBOURG--Adidas has failed in an attempt to broaden trademark protection for its three-stripes symbol in the European Union as rivals seek to muscle into the market for striped shoes and clothing.

LONDON--An elderly woman is in hospital with serious injuries after she was struck by a police motorbike escort for Britain's Prince William and his wife Kate.

LONDON--Imagine a world where The Beatles never existed? That is what British director Danny Boyle asks audiences to believe in his new movie "Yesterday".

WASHINGTON--Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, who in 2009 landed a US Airways flight safely on the Hudson River in New York, told a congressional panel on Wednesday that pilots of the now-grounded Boeing 737 MAX should get new simulator training before the plane returns to service.

WASHINGTON--Hope Hicks, formerly one of President Donald Trump's closest aides, repeatedly declined to answer questions on Wednesday in an interview with U.S. congressional investigators, with lawyers at her side carefully orchestrating her responses.

NIEUWEGEIN, Netherlands--Three Russians and a Ukrainian will face murder charges for the deaths of 298 people aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 that was shot down over eastern Ukraine in 2014, the international investigative team said on Wednesday.
  The suspects are likely to be tried in absentia in proceedings set to start in the Netherlands next March. Dutch authorities said Russia has not cooperated with the inquiry and is not expected to surrender defendants.

GENEVA/RIYADH--Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and other senior officials should be investigated over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi given credible evidence against them, a U.N. rights investigator said on Wednesday.

CUL DE SAC--The Rev. John A. Gumbs Campus (JAG) defeated Hillside Christian Primary School by nine wicketsw to top the table in the annual Inter-elementary Schools Kiddy Cricket tournament.

BIRMINGHAM, England- - Captain Kane Williamson's patient unbeaten century led New Zealand to a tense four-wicket victory over South Africa in a low-scoring Cricket World Cup match at Edgbaston on Wednesday.

Dear Editor,

  I would like to thank Mr. Haar for revealing himself. That was a remarkably quick response from a man halfway across the world.

  About the only thing he got right was that I am the grandson of Claude Wathey. Again, Mr. Haar gets the important facts of Claude’s sentence and verdict wrong. That’s twice now. Mr. Haar’s source is likely a lazy journalist he looked up online that’s also living in the Dutch echo chamber.

  Was it the old Volkskrant article, Mr. Haar? I remember that article. It got the sentences among those involved in the case mixed up because the guy couldn’t be bothered to fact-check (as usual with a lazy journalist).

  Claude was indicted on a fantastically long list of ridiculous charges. After millions of taxpayer guilders spent looking for dead goats and God knows what else, they came up with perjury and 12 months suspended using methods that are now no longer permissible in a civilized country. That’s not a very good use of taxpayer money and state power. Once upon a time, journalists used to stand up to that sort of thing, not endorse it. 

  And it does matter who the sources are as well as their context when you write about the life of a man. Mr. Will Johnson was once a political opponent of Claude who has since moderated and reconciled his views with his onetime adversary. I’m sure today the two would be fast friends in a bar somewhere laughing at it all.  But a story made in jest about a dead goat or cow being passed around is not evidence of a lifetime of corruption.

  Then again, under the current atmosphere these days perhaps they’ll find a reason to investigate Claude again and detain his remains for 10 days while some straight-faced detective questions his bones over goat trafficking or whatever it was.

  And while Mr. Johnson may have joked that Claude was a dictator when he was a young member of the opposition, that doesn’t mean Claude was one or that our historian would agree if asked that today. In fact, Mr Johnson himself condemned your twisting of his words. Claude as dictator is an old smear that can’t pass the test of logic and factual scrutiny.

  With a little more practice, Mr. Haar may just yet become a real reporter. But he is not fit to write our history. And I’d rather not be lectured by a man who ran from St. Maarten after the first sign of real adversity.

 

Adrian Lista

Dear Queenie,

  My parents are always ready to babysit for their next-door neighbors, but they won’t even take our kids – their grandchildren – for an afternoon. They always say they are too busy, and once they said our children are too much for them to handle.

  Queenie, we think family should be more important than neighbors. And what do we tell our kids when they ask to visit their grandparents?—Offended

 

Dear Offended,

  Do you ever take your children to visit their grandparents with you, when you are there to look after – and control – the children? Perhaps your parents meant what they said: that without you present your children are too rambunctious for them to control.