Today Newspaper St Maarten

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The daily newspaper for Country St. Maarten
Updated: 1 hour 37 min ago

Court bypasses departure-policy argument, but: Attorney Knoppel wins case against justice ministry

Mon, 01/26/2015 - 01:16

St. Maarten – The Ministry of Justice had no reason to fire attorney Ellen Knoppel in 2014, the Court in First Instance ruled yesterday. On Friday the court ruled in summary proceedings that the previous Minister of Justice, Roland Duncan, had granted the attorney a permanent labor contract under the so-called departure policy, which made the contract invalid. In the regular lawsuit, the court ruled the other way, establishing that the ministry had no valid reason to fire Knoppel.

The court gave the attorney the opportunity to further specify her claim for damages – consisting o ... Read more

Second Customs officer in court for drugs smuggling

Mon, 01/26/2015 - 01:15

St. Maarten – The Court in First Instance adjourned the trial of Customs officer Alexander Maximilliano Ernesto L. yesterday until February 25 to give the defense the opportunity to present documentation to substantiate the defendant’s medical condition. L. is a suspect in the January 30, 2014 transport of 268 kilos of cocaine into St. Maarten on an Insel Air flight from Curacao. Earlier this month, L.’s colleague Nestor Sanchez was sentenced to 7 years of imprisonment for the same drugs transport.

The prosecution charges L. with the transport of 268 kilos of cocaine, membersh ... Read more

Independent MP Cornelius De Weever defends counterpart policy

Mon, 01/26/2015 - 01:14

St. Maarten —Criticism leveled at the Governments Counterpart policy has resulted in Independent Member of Parliament Cornelius De Weever coming to the defense and making it clear that “the counterpart legislation is a law and not just a policy.”

MP De Weever explained that the ministry used the law in one case. “The company took us to court and government lost because according to the judge we did not have a policy on how the law would be used so the labor policy department wrote the counterpart policy in consultation with the Social Economic Council and the Tripartite Comm ... Read more

Lenny Priest on appointment of Ministers: UP has no confidence in its own candidates

Mon, 01/26/2015 - 01:12

St. Maarten —A vote of no confidence in almost its entire slate of candidates in the 2014 elections has unwittingly been expressed by the United People party, according to leader of the One St. Maarten People Party Lenny Priest, who explained that this is his conclusion after noting that out of the 23 candidates on the UP list only one has been appointed as a minister in the new UP lead cabinet.

“Each party that contested the 2014 election was allowed to carry 23 persons on the list. They placed the best qualified persons at the time on their list. What is very strange is that a ... Read more

Budget debate last Friday

Mon, 01/26/2015 - 01:10

St. Maarten – Parliament met Friday to discuss the draft national budget from 9:00am. The draft 2015 National Budget is set at Naf.445.000.000 with investments and capital goods set at Naf.111.031.451.

Members of the budget were also able to download the draft budget from the parliament site. The site was down for reconstruction but is anticipated to be back online in time for the start of the budget debate. The Parliament website –  and residents and those residing abroad can follow the debate via this we ... Read more

Bar fight trial adjourned

Mon, 01/26/2015 - 01:07

St. Maarten – The Court in First Instance adjourned the trial of 32-year-old Carlos Adolphus I. yesterday to allow time for hearing a witness and for a forensic investigation of a knife.

The defendant was involved in a fight in a bar on October 22 of last year whereby the eventual victim had been assaulted with a knife and a broken bottle.

The witness to the fight the defense wanted to hear did not show up and the defendant claimed that he had wrestled a knife from his assailant and that he had cut himself in the process. He denied that he had stabbed anyone and that the kn ... Read more

St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce has new board

Mon, 01/26/2015 - 01:04

St. Maarten —The results are in and Peggy Ann Brandon is the president of the Executive board of the Chamber of Commerce and industry following the election on January 20th.

The  Vice-President of the board as per the election results is Stanley Lint, with Anastacio Baker as the treasurer.  The other board members are Sidharth “Cookie” Bijlani, Louis Bute, Pamela Annuska Illis-Friday, Nzinga Lake, Charlise Philips and Ajay Rawtani.


... Read more

Winair passes on fuel reduction

Mon, 01/26/2015 - 01:02

St. Maarten – Winair has taken the initiative and decided to pass its savings from the reductions in international fuel prices to its customers.

“Winair will be decreasing its fuel surcharges by 30% for travel after February 1, 2015. This is due to ongoing developments on the international level, where crude oil has been experiencing price adjustments. With the decrease in the prices of fuel Winair has taken this decision. Customers will enjoy a decrease in fuel surcharges on tickets booked for travel effective February 1, 2015,” a Winair press release states.

A new ... Read more

Night of the hit makers back for its third year

Mon, 01/26/2015 - 01:01

St. Maarten – Xtratightℱ Entertainment presents its 3rd edition of TelCell night of the hit makers—carnival’s premier dance experience and show– offering an Xtatic experience for St. Maarten Carnival 2015. Xtratightℱ has brought a blend of artist together that according to organizers, guarantees to set the dance floor in Carnival Village on “fyah”. This year the event will feature Era, Carimi, Kerwin Du Bois, Destra and last but not least: St. Maarten’s very own: Youth Waves. The festivities is carded for Friday April 24th, at the Carnival Village and doors wi ... Read more

Opinion: Consumer protection

Fri, 01/23/2015 - 03:17

In 2011 and 2012, a group of timeshare owners approached government and discussed a series of eleven legislative proposals which we felt should be included in the proposed timeshare owners’ consumer protection legislation. We were intentionally excluded from the discussions in formulating this legislation. One of those changes specifically provided protection to the timeshare owners or users in the event that a resort was sold to a new owner. The timeshare owners’ rights of ownership would have been protected. While we met with two parliamentarians and provided a copy to the prime minis ... Read more

Demand for report about Bureau Telecommunication and Post: BTP-statement exasperates MP Sarah Wescot-Williams

Fri, 01/23/2015 - 03:12

St. Maarten – Democratic Party MP Sarah Wescot-Williams has reacted rather exasperated at the press release the Bureau Telecommunication and Post (BTP) sent to the media just before the weekend. In the release, the BTP-board denies fraud-allegations and claims that the responsible minister (the now departed Ted Richardson) has failed to provide integrity-researchers with the appropriate information, even though this information is available.

“Events in rapid succession are demanding Parliament’s attention,” Wescot-Williams writes in a press release, “and government is calle ... Read more

Caravanserai timeshare owners join forces for legal battle

Fri, 01/23/2015 - 03:10

St. Maarten – Timeshare owners who were robbed of their rights at the former Caravanserai resort in Beacon Hill (now Alegria) have formed an association that will initiate legal procedures against Alegria and its beneficial owner Ray Sidhom. Currently Toca (Timeshare Owners of Caravanserai Association) has 67 members. Its president is Carol Anne Lee-Desmarais.

“At the request of Jeff Berger we have been asked to reach out to owners who are stunned, surprised and shocked at what has transpired with our timeshare ownership rights at the Caravanserai Resort,” Lee-Desmarais writes ... Read more

Vacation Expo – again – without St. Maarten

Fri, 01/23/2015 - 03:08

UTRECHT – Since Friday there is finally a peak in attendance at the Vacation Expo in Utrecht, representatives of the Caribbean islands (minus St. Maarten – ed.) say. At the large Curacao Village a long row a visitors is waiting at the snack stand, John Samson reports on Caribisch Netwerk.

Reports about the chikungunya-virus in Dutch media – the killer mosquito as visitors call it – have their effect at the Vacation Expo, especially at the stands in the Curacao Village.

“Unfortunately we are getting a lot of questions about chikungunya, but we know how we have ... Read more

Gumbs reiterates integrity is top priority; Submits notifications of assets to council

Fri, 01/23/2015 - 03:06

St. Maarten —Three days before the legally stipulated deadline, Prime Minister Marcel Gumbs submitted to the Council of Advice the written declarations and notifications (assets/holdings, secondary positions/interests) of the new ministers as well as those of the ministers of the former cabinet in accordance with the National Ordinance Promotion of the Integrity of Ministers (Landsverordening Integriteitbevordering Ministers).

The law stipulates that these declarations were to be submitted within 30 days from when the ministers were sworn in and accepted the appointment as a minist ... Read more

Aruban ministers could be prosecuted for corruption

Fri, 01/23/2015 - 03:04

ORANJESTAD – The Public Prosecutor’s Office will decide shortly whether it will prosecute Tourism Minister Otmar Oduber, Infrastructure Minister Benny Sevinger, the management of the Aruba Investment Bank and Prime Minister Mike Eman, AriĂ«n Rasmijn reports on Caribisch Netwerk.

The reason for this is the complaint about corruption with the construction of the Hard Rock Hotel that UPP-politician Jan de Ruijter recently submitted in a letter to the prosecutor’s office. An Angela, the spokesman for the prosecutor’s office has confirmed this. De Ruijter filed a complaint against ... Read more

Gumbs to Wescott-Williams: screening happened under your tenure

Fri, 01/23/2015 - 03:02

St. Maarten —Current Prime Minister Marcel Gumbs has pointed out to former Prime Minister that the screening of candidate ministers was done under her tenure and that since taking office he has not made any statements regarding the role of the Dutch Secret Service in the screening process.

The Prime Minister responded, via official letter, to the questions by former Prime Minister and Member of Parliament Sarah Wescot-Williams as submitted to the Chairman of Parliament via letter dated January 13.

“It should be noted that I am not accountable for statements of Minister Pl ... Read more

Dutch Kingdom-countries join forces to fight crime

Fri, 01/23/2015 - 03:00

THE HAGUE – The judicial cooperation between the Netherlands, Aruba, Sint Maarten and Curacao gets a more structural character, Pieter Hofmann reports on Caribisch Netwerk. This is the conclusion of the Judicial Four-Country Consultation according to the Justice Ministers Ivo Opstelten (Netherlands), Arthur Dowers (Aruba), Dennis Richardson (St. Maarten) and Nelson Navarro (Curacao).

Navarro: “Up to now we have incidentally asked for assistance and it is about time that we embed that assistance structurally, with attention for the specific problems in each country. In Curacao, we ... Read more

Naf 1.742 per liter for gas

Fri, 01/23/2015 - 02:59

St. Maarten —Customers at the pumps will be able to get more fuel for their money today as gas prices drop even further to reflect the international drop of oil prices.

Effective January 19th, the price of a litter of unleaded gasoline is Naf1.742 with the price of diesel dropping to Naf 1.524 per litter. A government press release states, “The Government of St. Maarten regulates the price of petroleum products by imposing a maximum price at which wholesalers and retailers can sell these products on St. Maarten. Taking into account our local prices follow international ... Read more

Court denies attorney’s claim for damages: Departure-policy makes labor contract invalid

Wed, 01/21/2015 - 00:37

St. Maarten – Eight days before Justice Minister Roland Duncan left office on May 18, 2013 he granted attorney Ellen Knoppel a permanent labor contract. The incoming government however – Wescot-Williams III – considered the contract invalid, arguing that this was part of so-called departure policy and it fired the attorney. Knoppel went to court, demanding 20,000 guilders (around $11,175) in damages for unjust dismissal. Yesterday the Court in First Instance denied the claim, because it sees no reason to get ahead of next week Wednesday’s ruling by the Common Court of Justice in a ... Read more

DP-leader criticizes Heyliger’s statements on concession fees

Wed, 01/21/2015 - 00:36

St. Maarten – Democratic Party MP  Sarah Wescot-Williams questions that United People’s party leader Theo Heyliger has no knowledge of the draft 2015 budget that has been sent to the governor and is from thereon on its way to parliament. A Central Committee meeting about the budget is expected next week.

Wescot-Williams stated in a press release that ‘something is not right” with Heyliger’s media-statement that the government must collect concession fees from all government-owned companies. That call comes after “repeated calls by his minister of finance for a dividend ... Read more