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The daily newspaper for Country St. Maarten
Updated: 16 min 23 sec ago

Carnival foundation reacts to subsidy cut “Perfect example of why we engage the private sector”

Thu, 02/04/2016 - 23:51

GREAT BAY – The St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) on Wednesday said that the recent cut in subsidy as announced by government, underscores once again why the foundation continues to seek long-term private partnerships to ensure the sustainability of carnival. The foundation also said that it only learned yesterday through remarks by the Minister of Finance about the subsidy cut.

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New arrest in Casablanca trafficking investigation

Thu, 02/04/2016 - 23:51

St. Maarten News – Investigators have made a new arrest in the human trafficking investigation dubbed Papegaai (Parrot). The suspect is a woman identified in a police report as N.J.P. No further details were provided.

On November 16, investigators raided the Casablanca brothel in Oyster Pond. Owner Carmen P. and three others, identified as her son Quincy, her daughter Jessica and David E. Jr. were arrested.

The raid at the brothel was the result of a long investigation whereby the prosecutor’s office in St. Maarten worked together with prosecutors from the Dominican Republ ... Read more

Sucker Garden Road and Arch Road close

Thu, 02/04/2016 - 23:50

St. Maarten News – Road works will be carried out on Sucker Garden Road and Arch Road starting Saturday until next week Tuesday.

The intersection of Sucker Garden Road/Arch Road will be closed for through traffic from both directions.  Concrete barriers will be placed at 6 a.m. on Saturday; they will be removed next week Wednesday at 6 a.m.< ... Read more

Animal Welfare hosts wine and cheese party

Thu, 02/04/2016 - 23:49

GREAT BAY – The St. Maarten Animal Welfare Foundation hosts its annual wine and cheese party at Taloula Mango’s on the Boardwalk this Saturday, starting at 7 p.m. Tickets are $55.

“We are really looking forward to this event,” says Heather Caputo, Foundation Press Secretary, “This event started at Kangaroo Court as a wine tasting but has evolved into our annual wine and cheese party. Once again, it should be a most enjoyable, as well as an informative eve ... Read more

Finance Minister Gibson: “Major task comes after approval of the budget”

Thu, 02/04/2016 - 23:49

St. Maarten News – Finance Minister Richard Gibson has forwarded a copy of the 2016 budget to financial supervisor Cft to speed up the process of getting it approved, he said at yesterday’s Council of Ministers press briefing. The Central committee will handle the budget in a meeting on Monday.

“It is a lean and mean budget, but it is realistic,” the minister said. “The major task comes however after it has been approved. We have to make sure that everyone sticks to the budget.”

The 20 million guilders surplus in the budget is an amount the minister expects to have ... Read more

St. Maarten Government meets with Dock Maarten

Thu, 02/04/2016 - 23:48

St. Maarten News:  The Council of Ministers will meet with Dock Marina director Brian Deher today to discuss the dispute about developments in Great Bay, where the port is fighting a building permit Dock Maarten obtained for building a breakwater on its own water rights, while the port does nothing against illegal construction activities by Dock’s neighbor Bobby’s Marina.

New construction activities by Bobby’s Marina have met with a stop order from the Vromi-ministry, but in spite of this, the work still continues.

The pictures show how far the development of Bobby’s ... Read more

Finance Minister Gibson: “Very frugal budget with room for expansion”

Wed, 02/03/2016 - 22:18

 

 

St. Maarten News:  The government intends to sell the new administration building on Pond Island for around 50 million guilders to social insurance agency SZV. With the building, SZV will also acquire the adjacent terrain of more than 15,000 square meters and the parking lot that borders on the TelEm property of 5,000 square meters. A parcel of land bordering on this parking lot of 1,800 square meters is also part of the deal. This appears from the explanatory notes with the draft 2016 budget that Governor Holiday submitted to the parliament on Monday.

I ... Read more

Government slashes 2016 travel budgets

Wed, 02/03/2016 - 22:17

St. Maarten News:  The draft 2016 budget that was submitted to parliament on Monday proposes serious slashes in the travel budgets of all government departments. Across the board, the travel budgets have been cut by 16.7 percent. For the high councils of state, the cut is even 43.5 percent, but this number is slightly misleading.

In 2015, the high councils of state – parliament, Council of Advice, General Audit Chamber and Ombudsman – spent 733,000 guilders on travel while there was a budget of 1,250,000. Compared to the real expenditures, the cut is just 3.7 percent.

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St. Maarten Justice-related departments escape austerity measures

Wed, 02/03/2016 - 22:17

St. Maarten News – The austerity-driven 2016 draft budget has hit some departments and organizations pretty hard, but justice-related ones have in general been spared and given higher budgets.

Standing out is the national security service VDSM. It spent 1.6 million guilders in 2015, out of its 2.4 million budget. This year the country’s secret police will have 4.1 million guilders to spend – an increase over last year’s budget of 70 percent.

The National Detective Agency (Landsrecherche, not to be confused with the RST) sees its budget shoot up 59.5 percent from 1.7 to ... Read more

Plasterk about dispute regulation “Kingdom cannot deviate from decisions, unless …”

Wed, 02/03/2016 - 22:16

 

St. Maarten News:  The Kingdom Council of Ministers cannot deviate from an advice issued by a dispute regulator, unless such a deviation is properly motivated,” Kingdom Relations Minister Ronald Plasterk said at a press conference yesterday at the end of his visit to St. Maarten. With this statement, Plasterk seems to come back from his earlier stance that the Kingdom Council of Ministers should always have the last word in disputes between the countries in the kingdom.

The only issue that separa ... Read more

Casinos major contributors to increased state revenue

Wed, 02/03/2016 - 22:16

St. Maarten News: The government projects an increase in state revenue of 3.1 percent this year compared to (still budgeted) 2015-revenue of 445 million guilders. The real revenue in 2014 was 422 million, but this year the government expects to pull in 458.9 million.

Most of this income stems from taxes – 363.8 million, but that is not where the increase comes from, since the budgeted tax-revenue in 2015 was slightly higher at 364.8 million. In 2014, tax-revenue was 352.4 million.

The bulk of the increase has to come from the casinos. Under the budget line hazardspelen (gam ... Read more

Focus on compliance not on higher taxes

Wed, 02/03/2016 - 22:15

St. Maarten News:  “For the time being” the government will not focus on higher taxes to increase state revenue. Instead, the focus will be on compliance, it appears from the explanatory notes with the draft 2016 budget.

“In general it is assumed that not enough is done against free-riders to escape from their duty to contribute to the community. The tax inspectorate is working on a stricter approach.”

For 2016, the government projects 1 million guilders in additional revenue from higher tax compliance. In 2017 the additional revenue increases to 6 million guilders an ... Read more

Minister Lee wants study unemployment insurance

Wed, 02/03/2016 - 22:14

St. Maarten News: Minister Emil Lee (Public Health, Social Development and Labor) intends to merge the social services and the labor department to promote integral services.” This appears from the explanatory notes with the draft 2016 budget.

The ministry will conduct a feasibility study into unemployment insurance. “The jobless employee currently does not enjoy benefits linked to his unemployment. Research is necessary to determine whether such a regulation is profitable for the country,” the chapter about labor market policy states.

The ministry furthermore wants to im ... Read more

Timeshare fees and car rental tax drop

Wed, 02/03/2016 - 22:13

St. Maarten News: Judging by the numbers presented in the draft 2016 budget, the pain for the fledgling timeshare industry on the island is becoming visible.

For 2015, the budgeted timeshare fees stood at 5.9 million guilders, but this year the government expects to collect only 4.3 million – a decrease of 27.8 percent.

With the timeshare fees tax revenue from rental cars also drops dramatically. In 2015 this was good for 1.6 million, this year the projection is just above 1 million guilders – a drop of 34.1 percent.

... Read more

Know Your Political History for all secondary schools

Mon, 02/01/2016 - 23:28

The legacy of Edgar Lynch

St. Maarten News – The book Know Your Political History by Edgar H. Lynch, and co-authored with his brother Julian, will be distributed to all secondary schools and the Univer ... Read more

Ministry launches study into education needs

Mon, 02/01/2016 - 23:27

 

Jacqueline Louis and Silveria Jacobs - HHSt. Maarten News – The ministry of education has hired consultancy company I. M. Brace to conduct a study of labor market and community needs. This study will form the basis for the 2017 study financing priority list. The study is a 3-month project and Minister Silveria Jacobs expects a final report in April, she said at a press conference yeste ... Read more

Syrians still on island

Mon, 02/01/2016 - 23:25

Court denies request to suspend deportation to Haiti

St. Maarten News – Three Syrians who traveled from Haiti to St. Maarten on forged Greek passports on November 14 of last year are still on the island. On December 16, the Court in First Instance sentenced the men to a 3-month conditional prison sentence and they were handed over to immigration for deportation to Haiti.

Two days after the court ruling, on December 18, the Syrians – Shanto Bahi (34), Rasste Issa (26) and Salaiman Hasan (22) – received notice that they would b ... Read more

Slurpy ready for service in Simpson Bay Lagoon

Mon, 02/01/2016 - 23:20

SlurpySt. Maarten News – Boats in and around the Simpson Bay Lagoon can now properly dispose of onboard sewage by using the services of the sewage pump out boat Slurpy.  The boat is owned b ... Read more

Jeff Berger: “Business is down 25 percent compared to 2014”

Mon, 02/01/2016 - 23:19

Blames bad (and no) decisions in timeshare and cruise sectors

St. Maarten News – Dutch St. Maarten has no timeshare owner consumer protection laws. So when timeshare resorts “screw” timeshare owners (to use a word said on-air by the island’s most popular TV talk show host, Oral Gibbes), not only does the government usually fail to act, but also the timeshare developer receives no real punishment. Thus begins a story by Jeff Be ... Read more

St. Maarten Carnival honors Labega, Carti and corporate sponsor Scotia

Mon, 02/01/2016 - 23:17

cleoSt. Maarten News: St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) has named as this year’s honorees its former president Erno Labega, mainstay reveler Cleo Carti and long-time corporate partner Scotiabank.

“There is a huge pool of stakeholders we choose from every year. People who has given so much to carnival. There is never a wrong ... Read more