Grid List

PHILIPSBURG--Members of St. Maarten AIDS Foundation Youth Wing urged lawmakers on Tuesday to look into several issues that affect sexual and reproductive health and rights of teenagers in a Central Committee meeting of Parliament.

PHILIPSBURG--Minister of Justice Raphael Boasman has appointed acting police spokesman Inspector Steven Carty and former prison guard Wilfred Williams to run the day-to-day operations at the Pointe Blanche prison on a short-term basis.

News that Rolando Brison is the new Head of Tourism no doubt raised an eyebrow or two. After all, when he was announced as director of the newly established St. Maarten Tourism Authority (STA) mid-2016 there were allegations of embezzlement during his time at Winair.

The airline later said it no longer had any problems with the marketing expert, but the appointment at STA never materialised. In fact, Brison was taking legal steps based on promises made and expectations created, but had to resign the legal claim on that position to be considered for his new function.

In that sense this latest development prevented a potentially difficult court case for Government, in effect killing two birds with one stone. Moreover, Brison is obviously qualified for the job with a degree in Tourism and Recreation Management, while he has already produced relevant reports that were apparently well-received.

Perhaps the best part is that he was contracted for only one year. This gives him the chance to prove he is worth the confidence, but keeps both parties’ options open for afterwards.

It is actually quite normal that persons are hired for a set period rather than in regular service when it comes to these types of functions where fresh ideas and approaches play an important role. On the other hand, should things go well there is no reason the work relation can’t be continued.

The complaint is often heard that locals, particularly young professionals, don’t get enough opportunities within the island’s hospitality industry. In this case one could even see it as a second chance, which should serve as example and certainly not be wasted.

Although everyone is, of course, entitled to their opinion, for now Brison has been given the benefit of the doubt. The public will be watching.

News coming out of the Routes Americas conference in Las Vegas last week seems relatively positive for St. Maarten/St. Martin. Southwest Airlines is supposedly serious about adding Princess Juliana International Airport SXM to its ongoing expansion into the Caribbean in 2018, although there are a number of conditions on which work must start immediately.

The importance of this new airlift possibly out of Fort Lauderdale should not be underestimated, considering the carrier’s extensive reach into parts of the US where the destination’s current market share certainly leaves room for growth. The Northeastern seaboard, particularly the tri-state area, has always been the main source of visitors to the island, but targeting other American regions more through the availability of favourable connections makes all the sense in the world.

Also JetBlue’s service to the destination appears to be going well. Here too flights from Fort Lauderdale are an option, but solid commitments will require further discussion.

The end of the carrier’s flights from Puerto Rico last year was regretted for obvious reasons, but the arrangement with Seaborne Airline is said to be satisfactory. The latter has announced increasing the frequency to daily on the San Juan-SXM route for the rest of the year, which could mean a drop in fares but also enhanced service and reliability.

Of course, the reality remains that flights will only start and be maintained as long as there is sufficient demand. That’s why ensuring “The Friendly Island” continues to offer a good product is essential.

What also help are new developments and attractions that create interest among travellers, such as Rainforest Adventure Park. It’s therefore highly desirable to provide clarity on other major ventures that remain pending such as the “Pearl of China” at Belair and the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line (RCCL) US $100-150 million project at the harbour sooner rather than later not just locally, but for key stakeholders abroad that contribute to the tourism economy.

PARAMARIBO--The flash floods that have inundated villages in the hinterland, are slowly subsiding, Colonel Jerry Slijnhaard, National Coordinator Disaster Management NCCR has reported. Some 1,500 residents of Maroon villages in the Lower Marowijne river area have been relocated to higher grounds in recent days, after heavy downpours over the weekend.

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti--Dozens of emaciated men with sunken cheeks and protruding ribs lie silently in an infirmary at Haiti’s largest prison, most too weak to stand. The corpse of an inmate who died miserably of malnutrition is shrouded beneath a plastic tarp.

NEW YORK--Verizon Communications Inc said on Tuesday it would buy Yahoo Inc's core business for $4.48 billion, lowering its original offer by $350 million in the wake of two massive cyber attacks at the internet company.

ROME--Investigating magistrates in Italy on Tuesday froze millions of euros worth of assets belonging to a prominent Italian banker they believe used the Vatican bank and another Holy See financial department for market manipulation.

LOS ANGELES--Angelina Jolie said on Tuesday she hoped her family would be stronger after her divorce from Brad Pitt, but that the actress still thinks of him as a wonderful father.

LOS ANGELES--It's not just women who are getting ready for the Oscars' red carpet on Sunday.

BERLIN--In the week before U.S. Vice President Mike Pence visited Brussels and pledged America's "steadfast and enduring" commitment to the European Union, White House chief strategist Steve Bannon met with a German diplomat and delivered a different message, according to people familiar with the talks.

WASHINGTON--U.S. President Donald Trump delivered his first public condemnation of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States on Tuesday after a new spate of bomb threats to Jewish community centers around the country and vandalism in a Jewish cemetery.

LONDON--A heterosexual British couple who object to what they call the patriarchal nature of marriage narrowly lost a court bid on Tuesday to be able to enter into a civil partnership after judges upheld a ruling that such unions were only eligible to those of the same sex.

PARIS--A senior Socialist minister said on Tuesday he might back centrist Emmanuel Macron in France's presidential election, a new blow to the left's hopes that could help Macron as he battles to maintain his campaign's momentum.

Guadeloupe’s Eddy Boulate won the 14th edition of the St. Martin 15K Run organised by Avenir Sportif Club on Sunday. Boulate (in photo with male category winners) completed the course in 53:01 just a few seconds in front of Omarco Robinson. In the women’s category, first across the finish line was Calme Sunilda from the Citizen Club of Basse Terre in 1:01:49. 102 runners took part in this edition with all completing the course. A large delegation came for the race from Guadeloupe, mostly from the Foulées Vertes du Rond Point de Petit Bourg. The next race coming up is the 5th Saint Martinoise all-female run on March 11, 2017.

ENGLAND-- Facing Europe's most potent strikeforce would cause some managers to man the barricades but for Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola there was only one option in Tuesday's Champions League clash with Monaco - "attack, attack, attack".

Dear Editor,

When a minister consistently focuses on new initiatives, rather than restoring the broken relationship with those whom she is mandated to guide, then the minister has lost her focus and the process is like applying paint to a dirty wall. It is logical, that the success of any ministry depends heavily on the value that a minister places on the team players within that institution. If the members are feeling deserted, it is a sure sign that the ministry is in jeopardy.

This view reflects the course of direction within the Ministry of Education. At present, Minister Silveria Jacobs seems to have lost all authority regarding education. The Minister repeatedly and proudly announces that the buck stops with her, yet there is no evidence to support this claim. The person, who appears to be in total control of education, is the Department Head, while Minister Jacobs looks as if she is the subordinate. Why is this?

Personally, the gravest mistake that the Minister has made was when she chose to be quiet on the disappearance of documents that were sent to the governor regarding the dissatisfaction of the Department Head of Education. Here is where the Minister lost her authority. The Minister had to test the integrity of the governor to the limit; whether the matter involved a family member or not. To talk about it now has no significance because her failure to be assertive and decisive back then has led to the fortification of the status quo.

To illustrate further, a few months ago, some teachers reached their breaking point with the inefficiencies of the Department Head. As the last resort, they tried to seek the Minister’s intervention directly, in order to solve the conflict. Instead of Minister Jacobs enforcing her authority, she sent them flying to the same individual to resolve the problem – the very one, who teachers are complaining about. How sensible was such a decision, Minister Jacobs? Prior to that, some teachers took their grievances to the MP who stood up in Parliament during the budget debate and announced that you are doing a good job.

Minister, this was just a teaser, because UP’s little poodle is the one who feeds her with information about the many deficiencies within the Ministry of Education. And, have you noticed that the other MP (now minister), who stood up in Parliament and commented that it (children from abroad who are flooding the classrooms) is an immigration problem, also attended the meeting in support of teachers? How is it that he chose that route instead of standing with you? Again, his comment was just a leg-puller. Minister, I dare you to tell him how to run his ministry, now that the shoe is on the other foot.

How do you think teachers feel about this spinning-in-mud situation? As it stands, whatever is decided upon by the Department Head is sent to you as a done deal. Minister, are you paying attention to the consistent flow of teachers from these two countries that are swimming in child molestation? Why is this situation so prevalent and how do you plan on stemming this current state of affairs?

Minister Jacobs, I’ve heard your comments with reference to last week’s article and so I know that you are annoyed. Here is something to consider: Oftentimes, the catalyst that drives a new course of direction is when someone points out our defects. But, the success of change depends on how the individual takes the critique. The most appreciative comment I have ever received pertaining to my articles was when Gerard Bijnsdorp told me in this newspaper that I cannot write. His comment stemmed from my reaction to an article that his friend wrote.

Next to Gerard Bijnsdorp is my friend Jacintha Brice, who contacted me shortly after his post and said, “I do not agree with him, but, if you can find something within his article that you can use to your advantage, take it.” I ignored the rest of his comments and focused on the one line that related to me not writing well.

Minister Jacobs, inter-ministerial collaboration is plausible, but the core of your ministry is embedded within the sector of Education. If that is off-track, your entire ministry is lopsided. Teachers and administrators are fed up with issues that you failed to handle, because you have allowed prestige to cloud your judgment. How sad it is to see a Minister that came out of the classroom, one who was so vocal about the challenges that she and her colleagues faced, has now turned her back on the very ones who were and still are part of the same struggle.

Minister Jacobs, this is your last chance to take charge of your ministry. Therefore, you need to go back to the place where you first started, because your lack of decision is hampering not only your effectiveness as the Minister of Education, but the proper functioning of the entire ministry!

Joslyn Morton    

Dear Queenie,

Many years ago my husband cheated on me and his byside had a son by him. We managed to keep our marriage together and he hasn’t cheated again (as far as I know).

He always gave his son’s mother financial support and visited his son occasionally. The son also comes to visit us occasionally during school vacations.

Queenie, my question is: How do I introduce this boy to strangers?—Puzzled wife

Dear Wife,

Technically, the boy is your stepson. You can just introduce him by name, with or without adding that he is your stepson or that he is your husband’s son.

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