Today Newspaper St Maarten

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The daily newspaper for Country St. Maarten
Updated: 1 hour 48 min ago

MPs show concern over practicality of electoral laws

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 03:51

St. Maarten – The Electoral Council of St. Maarten gave a presentation to the Central Committee of Parliament yesterday on its role in the upcoming elections. St. Maarten is the only constituent country in the Kingdom of the Netherlands to have such an institution. Chairman of the council, Bert Hofman, presented and gave an explanation of its tasks to the committee.

Hofman said that the council functions independently of Parliament, and is comparable to the other High Councils of State, like the Council of Advice and the National Ombudsman. It consists of three members, all of whic ... Read more

Innocent suspects Spelonk-murders get almost $2 million in damages

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 03:49

KRALENDIJK – The Common Court of Justice awarded two men who spent years in jail for a double murder they did not commit damages totaling almost $2 million. Kabes Melaan spent 8 years in jail, received a bit more than $1.2 million. Nozai Thomas, who spent 6 years behind bars, received close to $680,000. One of the attorneys for the two men, Carry Knoops-Hamburger, released this information late on Sunday evening.

In 2005 two brothers were murdered on Bonaire. The crime became known as the Spelonk-murders. Investigators assumed that the killings were related to drugs criminality. No ... Read more

Court handles election fraud trial on Monday August 4

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 03:41

St. Maarten – The Court in First Instance set Monday August 4 as the date for the election fraud trial yesterday during a pro forma hearing. In this trial, a representative of the United People’s party, Roy H., is accused of giving money in exchange for votes prior to the September 17, 2010 elections to Glinda Patricia W., Ashwin Rodney Wilfred M., Cernick Jan Lionel C. and Robert Charles Henry J.

Four of the five suspects appeared in court yesterday afternoon. Only Roy H. did not show up, but his attorney Eldon Sulvaran was present.

In February, the court severely critici ... Read more

After forty months, parliament approves its new rules of order

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 03:39

St. Maarten – Parliament needed another two-and-a-half hours yesterday morning but then the curtain finally fell after around forty months of deliberating about its own rules of order. The ad hoc committee chaired by MP Dr. Lloyd Richardson concluded its work, but the Parliament still needed three adjournments to cross the last tees and dot the final i’s. Around 12.30 p.m. the Parliament approved the new version of the house rules that will from now on govern all proceedings.

The opposition got its way with an amendment to the rules. Initially the revised rules stated that Parlia ... Read more

Opinion: Desired response

Wed, 04/16/2014 - 03:36

Dear editor,

Seldom – if ever -  Mr. Hilbert Haar of the Today newspaper and myself agree on things – anything.
As a matter of fact, whenever, I submit a letter to the editor to his newspaper, it seems to have the effect of the proverbial ‘red cloth on the bull’ on Mr. Haar.
He flies of the handle, as in a knee-jerk reflex, giving his personal interpretation and spin to what I wrote.
Nevertheless, it makes for good sales of the otherwise lagging paper, I surmise.
However, his response to my last letter to the editor, of which, of cour ... Read more


Tue, 04/15/2014 - 05:30

St. Maarten – A large cross-section of the public turned out to the National Alliance Congress that was held at the Cay Hill Community Center yesterday evening.  It appeared to be the largest turnout for a congress held by any of the political parties to date.

The key note speaker, with the theme Rebuilding From Within, set the stage for the congress. In sharing his observations of the current situation of the island said that the current situation of the island leaves much to be desire and if one is to take an opinion poll it would reveal that it raises more questions than an ... Read more

DP holds congress “New board reflects party’s vision”

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 05:29

St. Maarten – The Democratic Party (DP) of St. Maarten held its congress last Saturday night. A packed Cultural Center saw the election of a new board against the backdrop of the party’s new logo and to the music of the party’s songs, adaptations of the popular songs Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke and Daft Punk’s Get Lucky.

The executive board positions will be filled by 3 young professionals, with their roots well planted in the Democratic Party, the DP said in a press release.

“The charismatic Hasani Ellis contested the president’s position unopposed, as ... Read more


Tue, 04/15/2014 - 05:28

St. Maarten – After a bout of illness, the Mighty Sparrow – real name Francisco Slinger – is not as active as he once was, but after his superb performance under the tent at the Princess Port de Plaisance last Friday, most would agree that the Calypso King of the world still has the ability to captivate the audience even when he is sitting.

The promoters of the concert, and M&M Production knew that the “Birdie,” as he was  popularly known, would attract a mature audience and with that in mind, they catered for 40 elderly clients from the St ... Read more

Tripartite consultation books results

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 05:24

ORANJESTAD – The Parliaments of St. Maarten, Aruba and Curacao have reached agreements about all agenda points they discussed this week during their tripartite consultation.

For some topics, this means further study for continued deliberations later this year. This applies to appeals in fiscal disputes and the rights of the child.

Several ministers have been put to work to make decisions the three parliaments agreed upon a reality. An example is the establishment of the Legislation Academy.

The parliaments furthermore set up committees to work on the free trade agreem ... Read more

Pensioner desperately looking for sponsored new eyeglasses

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 05:23

St. Maarten – Swinda Abram is not alone – there are hundreds like her. The pensioner, who has spent her working life as a security guard, a cleaner and as someone doing odd jobs, needs reading glasses. The problem: she is living on a pension of 640 guilders a month and the quote for new the glasses she so badly needs from Chic Optic amounts to $615. She does not have that kind of money.

Mrs. Abram came with her friend Julian Rollocks to this newspaper to ask for help. While we do not have spare reading glasses, or money to help her out, we do understand her cry for help. If you a ... Read more

Dutch MP van Laar wants strong commissioner for the BES-islands

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 05:22

THE HAGUE – The Netherlands must send a fully-fledged Queen’s Commissioner to replace the current supervisor to the Caribbean islands Bonaire, Saba and Statia. The current system with a Dutch representative does not function, says PvdA-parliamentarian Roelof van Laar. He pleaded yesterday for a Commissioner for Caribbean Netherlands, comparable to the Queen’s Commissioner in Dutch provinces. This functionary will have to decide up to what point the Kingdom should interfere with the islands. “Right now every ministry is doing its own thing,” NRC Handelsblad quoted Van Laar yesterda ... Read more

Court moves trial of serial robber to August

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 05:09

St. Maarten – The Court in First Instance yesterday moved the trial of serial robber Dion Olysses G. to August 6 and to have the 23-year-old suspect in the meantime subjected to a psychological evaluation.

Between August 1 and December 18 of last year, the defendant committed eight armed robberies, mainly at supermarkets in Simpson Bay, Cole Bay and on the Pondfill. He threatened his targets with a firearm and came away with cash, jewelry and phone cards. The prosecution accuses the defendant not only of the eight robberies, but also of firearm possession.

Prosecutor Karola ... Read more

Hassink to Curacao for talks about Central Bank

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 05:08

St. Maarten – Finance Minister Martin Hassink will visit Curacao next week for a final meeting about the report from Price Waterhouse Coopers about the Central Bank, Prime Minister Wescot-Williams said yesterday.

Curacao has indicated its wish to have its own Central Bank and therefore to step out of the troubled monetary union with St. Maarten, but Wescot-Williams has apparently other ideas. “We are keen on further expansion of Central Bank activities in St. Maarten.”

The process to dismantle the monetary union “will be carried out jointly” the prime minister said, ... Read more

Laville’s Dominica-memorandum in limbo

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 05:07

St. Maarten – The Council of Ministers has not yet approved a Memorandum of Understanding with Dominica that independent Member of Parliament Romain Laville accompanied by Tourism and Economic Affairs Minister Ted Richardson presented with much ado during a press conference on Wednesday, March 26. Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams said yesterday that the minister has not yet submitted the memorandum for approval to the Council of Ministers.

Wescot-Williams said that the council would not sign the memorandum just like that. ‘It requires advice from the minister of education, an ... Read more

Work on Down Street harbor project stopped

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 05:06

St. Maarten – Construction on the Harbour Group of Companies’ much touted Down Street Cruise Heritage Development has ground to an absolute halt. Reports reaching this newspaper are that the funds for the estimated $2 million project have dried up for one reason or another, and until they flow again contractor Windward Roads Infrastructure, the company hired to execute the works, will not continue to build.

The project was approved and signed into effect on February 7 of this year by Minister of Tourism Ted Richardson and made public through a press release to local media on Febr ... Read more

Editorial: No law enforcement capacity left

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 05:10

Chief Prosecutor Rick Noordhoek offers a realistic picture of the situation in the local land of law enforcement in the interview we publish today.

It is an inconvenient truth: there is not enough manpower, not enough expertise and not enough prison cell capacity to tackle crime efficiently on all levels. There is no capacity left to deal with criminal organizations.

The lack of resources is due to political decisions and to the apparently reluctant attitude of the Netherlands. As Noordhoek points out, criticism while staying on the sidelines as the Netherlands is apt to do, w ... Read more

The challenges of St. Maarten’s Chief Prosecutor Rick Noordhoek: “No capacity left to deal with criminal organizations”

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 05:03

St. Maarten / By Hilbert Haar – “There is an awful lot to do here, though things work differently than they do in the Netherlands. There are a lot of hardworking people of good will in St. Maarten, but there is also something going on.” These are the first impressions of Chief Prosecutor Rick Noordhoek, the successor of Hans Mos and interim-pope Hans Wesselink. He started his 3-year contract on February 1, and sat down yesterday morning for an interview with Today.

Too much work an ... Read more

Curacao reluctant to give up UTS Eastern Caribbean

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 05:02

St. Maarten – The Government of Curacao still has not taken a position on the proposal by minority shareholder St. Maarten to give up 12.5 percent of its shares in telecom provider UTS in exchange for complete control over UTS Eastern Caribbean. Curacao already holds 87.5 percent of the shares in UTS.

According to Curacao’s Minister Earl Balborda (Traffic, Transport and Urban Planning), the proposal requires further study.

St. Maarten sent its proposal for the swap in the beginning of March to Curacao, but in Willemstad there is little enthusiasm for the deal. This is main ... Read more

Brains and beauty on display at pageant

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 05:01

St. Maarten – When it comes to pageantry, the combination of beauty and brains can make a huge difference between one contestant and another. Both, however, were on display after witnessing the teen and senior speech and cultural wear competition this past Sunday at the Sonesta Great Bay Hotel and Casino.

While the results of what happened that day will not be known until the night of the pageant on April 23, most would agree that all of the contestants in the competition sponsored by TelEm, Motorworld, Manrique Capriles, and DIVICO were articulate in their presentations, and t ... Read more

Sea turtle nesting season begins

Wed, 04/09/2014 - 04:54

SIMPSON BAY – The St. Maarten Nature Foundation would like to remind the community that sea turtle nesting season is once again here. “We are urging the limiting of beach bonfires and artificial lighting on nesting beaches,” the foundation said in a press release yesterday. Each year between March and November, female sea turtles return to lay their eggs on the major nesting beaches of Simpson Bay, Guana Bay, and Gibbs Bay. There are three sea turtle species which nest on St. Maarten’s beaches, including the green sea turtle and the largest sea turtle species, the leatherback.Read more