Grid List

PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST FOR ST. MAARTEN
DATE ISSUED: Monday, June 26, 2017 @ 12:00 LST (16:00 UTC)
VALID UNTIL: Tuesday midday (12:00 LST) June 27, 2017

WEATHER:
This afternoon: Cloudy and breezy with an isolated shower possible.
Tonight through Tuesday morning: Partly cloudy to cloudy, hazy and breezy with brief local showers possible.

ANGUILLA--On Saturday, June 24, Fishermen’s Day was celebrated in Anguilla with the theme “The Future of Anguilla is in the Hands of the Fishers.” The celebration included awards to fishers, safety equipment presentation, the sale of fish dishes, a bingo and string band music.

Not everyone will probably be jumping for joy over Saturday’s front page headline that financial supervision has proven its success. After all, some spoke out strongly against this safety measure negotiated with the Dutch Government as part of the agreement to dismantle the Netherlands Antilles per 10-10-10, for Curaçao and St. Maarten to become autonomous countries within the kingdom.

The opponents argued that no such provisions had been made when Aruba gained its separate status in 1986. However, one cannot overlook that – contrary to back then – sorely-needed relief provided by the Netherlands for an Antillean debt of no less than five billion guilders was part of the deal seven years ago.

Moreover, in the end Aruba too ran into budgetary problems and had to accept a similar Kingdom Financial Supervision with oversight from its own version of the committee CAFT (see related story).

Of course, the huge national debt of the former Netherlands Antilles had been created mostly by the former Island Territory of Curaçao and the – no longer existent – Central Government in Willemstad. Nevertheless, St. Maarten politicians were part of practically all the ruling federal coalitions under whose watch such a huge national debt was allowed to accumulate.

It’s also true that St. Maarten did not get its complete share of the debt relief, but this was mostly due to administrative shortcomings. The fact that locally full contributions were not always paid to the then-public-sector pension fund APNA (now APS) and social insurance bank SVB (now SZV) didn’t exactly help create an ideal starting position for the new constitutional entity either.

Against this background, many actually felt comfortable with a certain degree of external control on public finances. The fact that Country St. Maarten had major budgetary issues since it came into existence up until last year would seem to indicate they were right.

It’s one thing to want more freedom and authority, but quite another to also carry the great responsibilities that come with them in a manner that best serves the long-term general interest.

Today’s story about five youngsters ages 17 to 20 years standing trial on robbery charges is symptomatic of the current situation in St. Maarten. Youth delinquency with all its consequences has become one of the island’s most pressing problems.

Many reasons are often given, such as poor parenting, an inadequate education system, lack of recreational possibilities, few job opportunities and no real prospects for the future, but also gangster rap and violent video-games. Still, the highly aggressive manner in which these robberies were allegedly committed makes one wonder how things could have come to this in a relatively peaceful community.

And it’s not incidental either. Members of the group in question are said to be responsible for a string of armed robberies and other serious offences, while there have been several similar cases in the recent past.

More undoubtedly needs to be done about the circumstances mentioned that contribute to so many youths ending up on the wrong path. Prevention in this sense is very important, but those involved must also be punished severely regardless of their age, to teach them a hard lesson that such antisocial behaviour doesn’t pay and, in the process, send a loud and clear message to others who might want to follow in their footsteps.

It’s probably tough for families, relatives and friends of the suspects to read the latter. However, the general interest must ultimately prevail and certainly a tourist destination with a one-pillar economy can ill afford to allow the kind of lawlessness in the streets that undermines the feeling of public safety on which the hospitality industry largely depends.

In other words: Do the crime, do the time.

WASHINGTON, United States--Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) director Carissa Etienne warns that we should be ready for future waves of the Zika virus epidemic.

She made the statement in a new perspective piece for the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, “Zika Virus Disease in the Americas: A Storm in the Making.”

“Future epidemic waves of Zika virus, which will put additional people at risk, remain likely,” Etienne said.

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad--With the number of people living with dementia projected to reach 74.7 million in another thirteen years and 131.5 million in 2050, a group of Caribbean healthcare professionals has come together to form an association to tackle the problem here in the region.

TOKYO--Embattled airbag maker Takata Corp on Monday filed for bankruptcy protection in Japan and said it would seek $1.588 billion in financial aid from U.S.-based auto parts supplier Key Safety Systems (KSS).

CALGARY, Alberta--In the boreal forests and on the remote prairies of Alberta, a handful of firms are running pilot projects they hope will end a two-decade drought in innovation and stem the exodus of top global energy firms from Canada's oil sands.

GLASTONBURY, England--Barry Gibb brought some Sunday afternoon fever to the legends slot at Glastonbury Festival when he entertained a huge crowd with Bee Gees hits "Stayin' Alive", "How Deep is Your Love", "Night Fever" and "Tragedy".

OSTEND, Belgium--A beach in Belgium has been transformed into a giant sandy gallery, featuring larger-than-life super heroes, cartoon characters and Cinderella's castle, for one of the world's biggest sand-sculpture festivals.

WASHINGTON--The U.S. Supreme Court is set to issue the final rulings of its current term on Monday, including one on religious rights, amid talk that swing voter Justice Anthony Kennedy is considering retirement.

WASHINGTON--Conservative activists held a pair of rallies in Washington on Sunday to decry the handful of celebrities who have joked about violence against President Donald Trump and to protest efforts to stop contentious speakers at colleges.

MAO COUNTY, China--Rescue workers in southwestern China pulled bodies out of piles of rock and mud on Sunday as they searched for 93 people missing after a landslide buried a mountain village, with some residents giving up hope of finding survivors.
  A huge landslide crashed down on the village of Xinmo, in mountainous Sichuan province, as dawn broke on Saturday.

LAHORE, Pakistan--An oil tanker crashed and exploded on a road in Pakistan on Sunday, killing 146 people, many of whom were collecting leaking fuel before it ignited, government officials and rescue workers said.
  The speeding tanker overturned on a sharp bend on a highway on the outskirts of the city of Bahawalpur. The driver lost control when the vehicle blew a tire, a provincial government spokesman said.
  A large crowd of people gathered, many to collect fuel in containers, and the tanker exploded in a huge fireball about 45 minutes later. Rescue workers said that about 80 people had been injured.
  "People of the area and passers by had started gathering fuel when it exploded, burning everybody," provincial government spokesman Malik Muhammad Ahmed Khan told Reuters. An estimated 20 children were among the dead, he said.
  The accident happened the day before Pakistan celebrates the Eid al-Fitr festival, when families get together to celebrate the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. Many bodies were burned beyond recognition and television pictures showed piles of burnt out motorcycles, apparently those of people who were collecting fuel or watching events unfold.
  Police had tried to clear the area before the tanker exploded but people ignored them, Khan said, adding that the initial crash had blocked the road, causing a traffic tailback. The driver of the tanker survived the accident and was taken into police custody, he said.
  The explosion took place on a stretch of highway cutting through the village of Ramzan Joya. Khalil Ahmed, a 57-year-old former government employee who lives in the village, said he had lost 12 relatives in the fire, which firefighters extinguished in two hours.
  "One body has been recovered and 11 others are still missing," Ahmed said. "After the spill, people began calling their relatives to come and gather the oil, and some showed up from nearby villages as well. There must have been 500 people gathered when the fire began."
  Oil is a precious commodity for villagers in Pakistan, where more than 60 percent of the population survives on $3 a day, according to a World Bank survey. "People were collecting oil in bottles, cans and household utensils. We tried to get them to move back before the fire started but no one was listening," Ahmed said.
  He estimates that about 100 people from the small hamlet are missing. "The day of judgment has arrived for our village," he said.

MARIGOT—It must have been an ecstatic déjà vu moment for the crew of Yellow Whip to be declared overall winners of the 20th St. Martin Billfish Tournament on Saturday night, six years after they won it in 2012.

CAY HILL--A skilled Aruban girls soccer team were crowned the Dutch Caribbean Soccer Champions after completing three straight wins over the weekend at the Roaul Illidge Sports Complex in Cay Hill.

Dear Editor,

We are at a point and time, where we have to seize the momentum and exercise our right to demand of our government that they do the right thing and if they chose not to, and if they choose not to, then it’s also our right to remove them from office. Maybe it’s time for a Henry the second moment here in which he says of Becket, “Will no one remove this meddlesome priest?” And I say to you my fellow Anguillians, will no one remove this incompetent government?

In the coming months we are faced with several possibilities, many of which will determine where we go from here. It is obvious that we are mired in a downward spiral from which we can’t seem to emerge. Those tasked with looking out for our well-being have been standing on the sidelines while the ship continues to flounder on the rocks. We are contemplating a new constitution and electoral reform, and from the looks of things probably won’t get anything accomplished. We have a government that continues to function in a way that’s not conducive to our well-being.

We have a press whose coverage is at best very spotty, with the advantage going to the government. It is the job of the press to keep the government honest, and when you see major events happening as was the case during the Anguilla Day week, with hardly any mention, then one has to ask the question, were these events not newsworthy? Is it not the job of the news media to shape public opinion and not follow it? It is the job of the newspaper editor to not suppress the news because it might upset some people or the government in power, but that it might force the government to reconsider its policies. That there were several notable events occurring without any mention by the local press, speaks volumes. Shame on you!!

There are many things going on right now which ought to raise all kinds of red flags. Our country is being sold out to the highest bidder. We have lost our moral compass, and as one citizen said on the radio that: “we are selling out our right to existence.” There are those who are fronting for foreign entities, a practice that former Chief Minister Sir Emile Gumbs admonished us about exactly ten years ago in the Anguilla 40th Anniversary Commemorative Magazine. He said: “The wholesale importation of foreign labour, the “fronting” by our people for foreign business, coupled with the impression that all of Anguilla is for sale, does not bode well for our future. If these trends are not arrested, we may soon become an endangered species in our own home.”

We surely didn’t listen then and for all intents and purposes we are not listening now, and as the old saying goes that he or she who doesn’t listen surely will feel.

So the question to all stakeholders is this, do you really care what happens to Anguilla?

Will the efforts of people like my father, Walter Hodge, Atlin Harrigan, Jeremiah Gumbs, Ronald Webster, Ruby Gumbs, Bevan and Cardigan Hodge, John Webster, Etienne Gumbs, Peter Adams, Bob Rogers and a host of others be for naught. Can we tell them if they ‘don’t like it they can lump it?’

Folks the whole world is in turmoil right now and it can’t be business as usual. A change has got to come sooner rather than later. Mr. Banks keeps talking about his mandate and the margin of his victory and he’s right this is about his victory, a victory that he was able to achieve under false pretenses.

We the people are not sore losers, we are angry as hell sore losers, because sir you won under false pretenses, and not only did you win under false pretenses, you proceeded to destroy our homeland and we will not forget or forgive you for that. You have probably won your last campaign and you probably won’t have to face an electorate again, so you could care less, but let me remind you sir, this is still supposed to be a democracy and as such we the people still have the ultimate last say in what happens to your government, and as we said in our letter to the Governor General of the West Indies back in 1958 and I quote that: “a people cannot live without hope for long without erupting socially.”

So here it is, that in the fiftieth year of our existence, despite the rosy pictures that have been painted by some, we seem to be headed in the opposite direction. Our people are starving; many households can’t afford to pay for the modern conveniences of simple everyday existence while our government spends money like drunken sailors at liberty on shore leave. We have work to do and the sooner we get down to it, the better off we’ll be, so again, if we don’t step up to the plate, no one else will and Anguilla as we once knew it will cease to exist and our homeland will be nothing more than a mirage. It’s up to each and every one of us. Don’t follow the party line. God gave each of us a brain to think, let us do that and make our own choices.

The bible tells us that we are our brother’s keepers and as such we ought to care for each other. We used to be that way at one time or another, but we are badly misguided right now. When I think of the effort that was put forth back in ’67, the hard times that we had to endure as young people growing up with no future on the horizon, that a lot of us, under the age of twenty were fortunate enough to find a host country that willingly opened its arms to take us in, it pains me to see that our leaders have brought our pigs to fine market, and yet we continue to allow this unfettered abuse of power to continue.

Folks in the words of the calypso by The Mighty Gossip, “the revolution ain’t done.”

Tyrone Hodge

Dear Queenie,

There is a boy in my son’s class at school that he likes to play with that likes to roughhouse and play-fight with other children and uses foul language. I suppose he talks like that and behaves like that because that is what he sees and hears at home, but I don’t want my son to pick up such habits.

Queenie, should I forbid my son to play with this boy?—Worried mother

Dear Mother,

You cannot keep your son away from this boy at school, but I suggest you talk to the school authorities about the boy’s behaviour and vocabulary.

Outside of school, do not let your son go to this boy’s home to play, and if his parents ask why, tell them what you object to. However, you might let the boy play at your house after explaining to him clearly what you consider unacceptable and insisting that he abide by your rules when he is in your home. It might be good for him to learn how people outside his family do and do not behave and talk.

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