Grid List

PHILIPSBURG--It has been six months and United People’s (UP) party Member of Parliament (MP) Franklin Meyers says he is still awaiting a response from Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labour Emil Lee on a number of questions about the project to build a new hospital for the country.

PHILIPSBURG--The 20-year-old man held responsible for the armed robbery of Caribbean Gems jewellery store on Front Street on December 5, 2016, was sentenced Wednesday to three years.

What happened in Curaçao’s Parliament on Thursday (see related story) is obviously completely unacceptable. If elected representatives can’t even debate without becoming violent, what can be expected from the people they are supposed to represent?

Mind you, it’s by no means the first scuffle or fight ever in legislatures and something similar actually happened in Aruba not too long ago. It is in any case a bad development for democracy that must definitely not be followed on the other islands.

Of course, there are some contributing factors that should be noted. One is that members may remain in office while suspects in a criminal investigation and even after being convicted if they file an appeal.

Things are a bit different in St. Maarten because pre-trial custody leads to automatic suspension, but here too persons suspected of wrongdoings and with a conviction have not only been able to stay in Parliament, but take part in elections to be voted back into office.

A second issue is that a parliamentarian who did not earn his or her own seat outright can easily break with the party, keep the seat he/she occupies on its behalf and can then join with others to form a new coalition and bring about changes in government.

This problem is difficult to tackle, because the parliamentary system is based on a free individual mandate whereby legislators can’t be made to toe the party line. Last year’s snap election in St. Maarten was actually postponed for electoral reforms to deal mainly with this matter, but these never materialised.

Then there’s the possibility that a Council of Ministers forced to resign due to lack of legislative support can still dissolve Parliament and call early elections by national decree, despite the existence of a new legislative majority willing to form another government. This possibility was clearly intended for crisis situations without resolution, yet was used twice in Curaçao and once in St. Maarten when arguably such gridlock did not really exist.

However, none of the aforementioned is a valid excuse to physically attack one another, setting a very poor example in the process. The voters deserve better from their politicians.

It seems like it took forever, but Parliament’s adoption of protective timeshare legislation (see related story) is a milestone in efforts to help safeguard this important part of the island’s tourism economy. Less-than-positive developments and experiences in the past years had created an unfavourable image of the sector that represents the vast majority of St. Maarten’s room inventory.

Of course, the initiative law still has to be ratified in the Council of Ministers and scrutinised by the Ombudsman. Extending bankruptcy protection to the timeshare owners would in any case seem to make all the sense in the world, basically as best possible preventing guests from being ripped off.

There are said to be real checks and balances for regulating matters like maintenance fees and service levels. For one thing, developers must fully disclose all projects to buyers to avoid unpleasant surprises later, while deceptive marketing is prohibited and will incur fines to be levied under the still-to-be-established Timeshare Authority.

The sooner the latter is done obviously the better, to also give the National Ordinance some “teeth.” This new body is to offer a practical tool for resolving potential disputes within the industry in the near future.

So there is still a lot to be done before the Dutch side’s main visitor accommodations offer is up to par with that of similar products in other vacation destinations, including the US, but a very big first step has now at least been taken.

PARAMARIBO--A coalition parliamentarian has taken offence with statements a VHP politician made earlier this week in a Dutch newspaper that “Suriname has become a ‘narco’ state again.” André Misiekaba, fraction leader for Desi Bouterse’s National Democratic Party (NDP), said on Wednesday a Dutch story that points to drug crimes in Suriname is hypocritical, because it’s the Netherlands that is in Europe’s top three of drug-producing, drug-consumption and drug-trans-shipment countries.

PORT OF SPAIN--Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley got a surprise calls from American President Donald Trump during which the leader of the twin-island republic was invited to Washington.

Although not much was disclosed about the conversation, the US Embassy in Trinidad said that in the call from Trump, which came around 4:40 p.m. on Sunday, the leaders “spoke about a number of issues of mutual interest to Trinidad and Tobago and the United States”.

It said the two agreed that both administrations would continue to strengthen the relationship which exists between the two countries. The Embassy also mentioned Trump’s invitation to Rowley on its social media pages.

“The two leaders reaffirmed the strong security partnership and agreed to continue close coordination in the fight against terrorism and transnational organized crime. President Trump invited Prime Minister Rowley to visit Washington, D.C., in the coming months,” it added.

Meantime, the Embassy announced earlier today that the US is working with the twin-island republic to fight money laundering and terrorism financing. It said that John Murphy, an economic crime advisor from US Treasury, is currently working with the T&T government regulatory, intelligence, investigative and prosecutorial entities to enhance capabilities and respond to concerns raised in the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force’s Mutual Evaluation Report.

The technical assistance is based on an agreement signed between the United States and Trinidad and Tobago in August 2016.

(Curaçao Chronicle)

NEW YORK-- The New York Times Co will air its first TV ad in seven years on Sunday's broadcast of the Academy Awards on ABC, as the 166-year old newspaper looks to highlight independent journalism amid U.S. President Donald Trump's attacks on the media as "fake news."

DANDONG, China- - As Beijing tightens its grip on trade with North Korea, the economies of Chinese towns along the 1,400-km border the two countries share are floundering.

 BRUSSELS- - Alphabet Inc's Google and subsidiary Jigsaw launched on Thursday a new technology to help news organisations and online platforms identify abusive comments on their websites.

LONDON- - Late music icon David Bowie was the big winner at the BRITs in London on Wednesday, taking the British male solo artist and album of the year prizes at the UK's top music awards.

CANNON BALL, N.D., -- Dozens of armed law enforcement officials swept through a protest camp near the site of the Dakota Access pipeline Thursday, clearing the camp that for months served as a base of opposition to the multi-billion dollar project.

CANNON BALL, N.D., -- A few dozen demonstrators opposed to the Dakota Access pipeline defied a Wednesday deadline to leave a protest camp they have occupied for months to demand an end to construction of the project, saying they were prepared to be arrested.

WASHINGTON- - President Donald Trump said on Thursday he wants to ensure the U.S. nuclear arsenal is at the "top of the pack," saying the United States has fallen behind in its atomic weapons capacity.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., - - Astronomers have found a nearby solar system with seven Earth-sized planets, three of which circle their parent star at the right distance for liquid surface water, bolstering the prospect of discovering extraterrestrial life, research published on Wednesday showed.

LONDON-- Tottenham Hotspur's Europa League hopes were crushed by mid-table Belgian side Gent, who booked their spot in the last 16 with a 2-2 draw at Wembley on Thursday as the hosts paid the penalty for Dele Alli's first-half red card.

LONDON-- Even by the standards of modern soccer management mayhem, the vertiginous rise and equally stunning fall of Leicester City coach Claudio Ranieri takes the breath away.

(Curaçao Chronicle)

Because inspection by Dutch aviation authorities has established that the Civil Aviation Authority in Curaçao is not based on the law but on arbitrary decrees of Minister Suzanne Camelia-Römer and is therefore illegal, whereas parts of the local legislation on aviation is provable not in compliance with international aviation standards, the Dutch government has now placed the civil aviation in Curaçao under Dutch supervision. The lack of a sound and transparent structural organization of the Civil Aviation Authority and its supervision of the aviation business in Curaçao have led to this situation.

The only person responsible is Minister Suzanne Camelia-Römer who has held the tenure for civil aviation for a year now and, notwithstanding our warnings, has spent well over NAf. 2 million upholding Oscar Derby as the also illegal head of the Civil Aviation Authority. NAf. 2 million down the drain without even the most basic document in order for Curaçao to ever reach the FAA Category 1 status, i.e. an approved business plan for the Civil Aviation Authority, being in place. Now it has even resulted that the Civil Aviation Authority has neither inspectors nor a Director of Safety in its employment, but rather has consultants with limited experience in the field working as inspectors.

It has now also resulted that there are one or more inspectors engaged by the Civil Aviation Authority doing private, commercial business with the private company InselAir. This, in the meantime, has also led to the firing by InselAir of its Head of Maintenance Mr. Oduber, who together with his partner/spouse, is also employed by InselAir as its representative in Colombia and a former employee of InselAir, a certain DiAngelo Maduro, who was to be appointed to the position with InselAir presently held by Mr. Juny Sluis. Oduber, his partner/spouse Liz Castaño Tamayo and the said Maduro are engaged in the sale and other business deals with the inspectors of the Civil Aviation Authority in question via their company M & O Aviation Services N.V.

The same InselAir, which, in the past has instructed Minister Suzanne Camelia-Römer, in writing, not to grant an economic licence to AVA Airways; surprisingly, the Public Prosecutor in Curaçao has refused to investigate this matter of public servant corruption which leads us to the conclusion that also the Public Prosecutor in Curaçao is a corrupt organization, which same as Suzanne Camelia-Römer, the Civil Aviation Authority, Oscar Derby and InselAir, need urgent political attention and criminal investigation of itself.

Another reason found to impose the Dutch supervision was found in the fact that out of the total of 80 pilots employed by InselAir no less than 45 have left the airline. The remaining pilots, at a certain point, due to the lack of safety with the aircraft of InselAir, refused to fly the hazardous InselAir aircraft and grounded these.

In the meantime, this situation continues to exist while all of the US $33million which the Curaçao government, represented by again the same corrupt Suzanne Camelia-Römer and her cronies Minister Rhuggenaath and Minister Gijsbertha, has gifted to InselAir will evaporate in payments for the wet-lease of aircraft for InselAir, while InselAir has refused to grant the Dutch supervisors each and all insight into the wet-lease agreements with Dominican Wings, Surinam Fly Allways, Venezuela Estelar Latino America and Swift Air.

It is, therefore, justified to conclude that this $33 million will disappear in the pockets of the gangsters headed by Suzanne Camelia-Romer, where after InselAir will most likely be declared bankrupt with the loss of jobs for the InselAir employees…again, $33 million down the drain.

The Dutch supervisory authorities have established that Minister Camelia-Römer has not undertaken any or any recognizable action to turn the negative tide within InselAir or the Civil Aviation Authority. Mrs. Camelia-Römer has not only tolerated this “gangsterism”, but has stimulated it and also participated actively in it.

By Olivier Arrindell

AVA Airways

Dear Queenie,

My sister who died recently was a single mother with 2 kids. Now my mother wants to take custody of the kids, but I worry about this because she drinks too much and I’m afraid of what might happen to the kids when she is too drunk to notice or to deal with them properly. I don’t want to offend her, but I don’t want to risk the kids’ wellbeing.

Queenie, how can I arrange to get custody and keep them away from their grandmother?—Worried aunt

Dear Aunt,

Talk this over with your mother. If this does not convince her to get her drinking under control, consult the Court of Guardianship.

And if you do get custody, do not keep the children completely away from their grandmother. Surely you can arrange for her to have supervised visits – even outings – with them.

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