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Youth Brigade members and their instructors met at the VKS headquarters and were transported to the University of St. Martin parking lot on Sunday.

VKS and Youth Brigade members.

Members of the two organisations together formed one marching band.

PHILIPSBURG--The Voluntary Corps of St. Maarten VKS conducted a drum and marching training exercise with the Youth Brigade on Sunday, October 23, in connection with the upcoming November 11, St. Maarten Day, parade when uniformed services and Scout groups from both sides of the island march in a parade across the border.

  VKS is a paramilitary organisation funded by Government. It provides assistance to the police and other Government entities in times of need and structurally on a day-to-day basis. It has a close bond with the Youth Brigade, especially because several VKS leaders also take time to also mentor and train the young adults in the Youth Brigade in their spare time.

  Youth Brigade project leader Patricia Arrindell explained, “The Youth Brigade SYB focuses on the youth. The purpose of our organisation centres around the implementation of seven core values in all activities and all that we do in public.

  “The values are: Good conduct, Responsibility, Team Spirit, Reliability, and Professionalism through acquiring knowledge, skills and a positive attitude.

  “With the help of volunteers (coaches and mentors), we support our young people in contributing to our society and guide them in becoming productive and responsible citizens in the community.

  “We have an upcoming bivouac October 28-31 and this exercise will help the members prepare for the camp. We have an open-door policy whereby the public can come and get information about our organisation and young people are welcomed to sign up. You can contact SYB at 1-721-542-3228 or email

VKS and Youth Brigade members.page6b136 . The office is located above Island Finance on Walter Nisbeth Road.”

  Some of the older members of the Youth Brigade who are turning 18 are now candidates for recruitment into the VKS. This provides these young adults with ways to continue to develop themselves and serve the community. It is a great pathway into other uniformed services because in the VKS, members get first-hand experience in working on a part-time basis in various law enforcement tasks and many have decided to make a full time career of it afterwards.

Members of the two organisations together formed one marching band.page6c136

PHILIPSBURG--All is set for the 15 Members of Parliament (MPs), elected a month ago, to take the oath of office before Governor Eugene Holiday on Monday. They will form the country's Third Parliament since attaining country status within the Dutch Kingdom six years ago.

There’s an interesting story in today’s paper on a speech by Council of State Vice-President Piet-Hein Donner. His assertion that one should ask not what good the Kingdom does, but rather for what it can be used makes all the sense in the world.

Too often the focus is on problems in the relationship between the coloniser and its former colonies, rather than possible benefits. If one looks at, for example, the historically strong ties of the Netherlands with the United States, the Dutch Caribbean plays a key role.

By calling separation “the easy way out,” the former Minister of – among other things – Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations hit the proverbial nail on the head. It’s not only about less or greater autonomy, but about making better use of modern-day opportunities the current constitutional structure offers.

When it comes to the term “Unity in Diversity” a lot of emphasis is placed on the latter and very little on the former, or what actually binds the kingdom countries. These common values are fundamental and must be guarded, which to a certain extent can indeed mean involvement with and in each other’s affairs.

Of course, the traffic is in practice often one-way from The Hague to Curaçao, Aruba and St. Maarten, due to the vast difference in scale and because the Kingdom Council of Ministers is dominated by the Dutch Cabinet. That’s why a Dispute Regulation remains very important.

Donner’s arguments in any case show that not all persons of authority in the Netherlands see the islands as just a costly nuisance to be gotten rid of as quickly as possible, even though populist politicians there obviously tend to score well with such a simplistic and to a large degree inaccurate message. In reality there is considerably more to being part of the Kingdom than meets the eye and it’s high time this be publicly acknowledged on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

They happen so often one almost doesn’t want to even discuss them anymore, were it not so annoying and unacceptable in this day and age: The frequent dump fires (see related story) are an outrage.

The latest one lasted practically the whole weekend. The Fire Department said Saturday morning that it was monitoring the blaze on Pond Island and the company responsible for the management of the landfill had been working diligently to get it under control, yet smoke could still be seen coming from “Mount Trash” up to Sunday evening.

At one point residents in areas downwind, including the Cul de Sac basin and Cole Bay, were also advised to close windows and doors because of the potentially damaging fumes, especially persons with respiratory difficulties like those suffering from asthma, shortness of breath, etc. That’s undoubtedly good advice, but for households without air-conditioning it can also be quite a challenge to do so for any length of time due to the heat, never mind the also-frequent GEBE power cuts.

A long-term solution for St. Maarten’s garbage dilemma has become more than urgent, yet successive governments don’t seem able to deal with the problem effectively despite long-standing plans for a waste-to-energy plant. Certainly with large-scale projects such as Pearl of China coming on line, this issue deserves the highest priority from both the incoming Parliament and Council of Ministers.

However, immediate measures that can improve the current situation also should be possible and were suggested recently. In fact, a review of the agreement with the contactor in charge of the facility was even mentioned to see whether that might have anything to do with it, also because it had been awarded for a considerably lower amount than the former arrangement.

However, the public rarely hears much about the results of such announced intentions except to once again be confronted with yet another smelly reminder of the local political authorities’ obvious continued incompetence regarding this matter.

BOGOTA, Colombia--Colombia’s Avianca airline was avoiding Venezuelan airspace after a flight from Spain was approached by at least one warplane on Friday, creating a diplomatic incident, according to flight data, an airline source and authorities.

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados--Cut out the religious mumbo jumbo! That’s the call of University of the West Indies (UWI) political scientist Tennyson Joseph, who says it’s time to end religious teachings and introduce a fully secular curriculum in Barbados’ schools.

 CAIRO-- Egypt has seized 9,000 tonnes of sugar in recent raids on factories and warehouses, the prime minister said on Monday, describing the move as necessary to deal with a shortage of the commodity.
  Sugar has all but vanished from supermarkets, prompting media talk of a crisis and pushing the state to rapidly increase imports despite an acute dollar shortage and soaring global prices of the sweetener.
  Egyptian authorities have raided sugar factories and distributors in recent days as they blamed traders and suppliers for hoarding and smuggling supplies.
  Prime Minister Sherif Ismail told Egypt's CBC channel in an interview that the raids have had a "positive impact" and sugar stocks were enough to cover the country for three months.
  "There are some negative points that we are dealing with but they were a limited number of cases," he said. "We can't leave the market without supervision. ... Monitoring is necessary."
  Edita Food Industries, Egypt's maker of Twinkies, said on Monday its sweet factory in Beni Suef had been shut for three days after authorities seized its sugar.
  Edita said it was holding normal levels of sugar stocks obtained legally from the private sector and not the black market, which the government is trying to dry up through the ongoing raids.
  Egypt consumes around 3 million tonnes of sugar annually but produces just over 2 million tonnes. The gap is filled by imports, usually between July and October when local beet and sugar cane supplies have wound down.

WASHINGTON- - AT&T Inc's proposed $85 billion takeover of Time Warner Inc generated skepticism among both Democrats and Republicans on Sunday, making it more likely that regulators will closely scrutinize the effort to create a new telecommunications and media giant.

LOS ANGELES- - Veteran social activist and politician Tom Hayden, a stalwart of America's New Left who served nearly two decades as a California state lawmaker and gained a dash of Hollywood glamour with his marriage to movie star Jane Fonda, has died after a lengthy illness. He was 76.

LOS ANGELES-- It was a battle of the sequels at the multiplexes this weekend, as "Boo! A Madea Halloween" narrowly edged out "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back" to claim first place at the domestic box office.

MANCHESTER, N.H./ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla., - - U .S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton slammed rival Donald Trump on Monday for saying that the week-old effort to retake the Iraqi city of Mosul from the control of Islamic State was going badly.
  "He's basically declaring defeat before the battle has even started," Clinton said at a campaign event in New Hampshire. "He's proving to the world what it means to have an unqualified commander in chief."
  In a tweet on Sunday, Trump, the Republican nominee for the Nov. 8 election, said the "attack on Mosul is turning out to be a total disaster. We gave them months of notice. U.S. is looking so dumb."
  Iraqi and Kurdish forces, backed by the United States, have mounted a huge assault on the area surrounding the city, the last stronghold of Islamic State forces in Iraq. They have retaken about 80 Islamic State-held villages and towns since the offensive was launched on Oct. 16, but have yet to move on the city itself.
  Trump reiterated his position during a rally on Monday in St. Augustine, Florida, where he also urged supporters to vote early and declared his campaign ahead of Clinton's.
  "So now we're bogged down in Mosul. The enemy is much tougher than they thought. They've had a lot of time to get ready," Trump said. "It's a horrible, horrible situation that's going on. Why did we have to tell them we're going in?"
  The operation could last weeks, or even months. Islamic State on Monday mounted counterattacks across the country against the Iraqi army and Kurdish forces, trying to deflect attention away from the Mosul campaign.
  Trump suggested last week during the final 2016 presidential debate that the U.S.-backed attack on Mosul was orchestrated to help Clinton in her White House bid.
  With just over two weeks to go until the U.S. election, Clinton, President Barack Obama's first-term secretary of state, is ahead of the New York businessman in national opinion polls. Both candidates have been focusing on a small set of political swing states that could decide the contest.
  Seeking to cement a wide advantage she holds with women voters, Clinton enlisted the help of firebrand U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who blasted Trump over allegations that he tried to grope or kiss several women without their consent over a 20-year span.
  "He thinks because he has a mouthful of Tic Tacs that he can force himself on any women within groping distance," Warren told a raucous crowd of 4,000 at St. Anselm College in Manchester. "Well, I've got news for you, Donald Trump. Women have had it with guys like you."
  At least 10 women have said Trump made unwanted sexual advances, including groping or kissing, in incidents from the early 1980s to 2007, according to reports in various news outlets. Trump has denied the women's allegations, calling them "totally and absolutely false" and promising on Saturday that he would sue his accusers.
  Warren's mention of Tic Tac mint candies referred to a moment in a 2005 video that surfaced earlier this month in which Trump was heard boasting about groping and kissing women.
  Warren also referenced Trump calling Clinton "a nasty woman" at last week's debate, a phrase that quickly caught fire on social media, sparking hashtags and T-shirts.
  "Get this, Donald, nasty women are tough," Warren said. "Nasty women are smart. And nasty women vote. And on Nov. 8 we nasty women are gonna march our nasty feet to cast our nasty votes to get you out of our lives forever."
  Clinton praised Warren for taking the fight to Trump. "She gets under his (Trump's) thin skin like nobody else," the candidate said.
  At an event for farmers in Boynton Beach, Florida, earlier in the day, Trump disputed multiple national and state polls that show him lagging Clinton and accused the media of distorting poll results to discourage his supporters from voting.
  "I believe we're actually winning," Trump said.
  Just the day before, Trump's campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, acknowledged that the candidate was trailing in the race, saying in a TV interview, "We are behind."
  According to the Reuters/Ipsos States of the Nation project, which surveys the vote in battleground states, Clinton leads Trump in most of the states that Trump would need to win to have a chance of amassing the minimum 270 Electoral College votes needed to capture the White House.
  According to the survey, she had a better than 95 percent chance of winning, had the election been held last week. The mostly likely outcome would be 326 votes for Clinton to 212 for Trump. The Electoral College votes represent a tally of wins from the states.

CHARLOTTE, N.C./NAPLES, Fla.,-- Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton called Donald Trump a "sore loser" on Sunday because of his refusal at their debate last week to commit to accepting the results of the Nov. 8 election.

MANILA-- Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte ended a recent speech in Manila with a now-familiar claim: Two policemen were dying every day in his violent battle to rid the country of illegal drugs.

LUCKNOW, India-- When Amit Shah, president of Narendra Modi's ruling party, meets with the Indian prime minister, he is sometimes asked a question he struggles to answer: "What is behenji thinking?"

St. Maarten defeated Curacao 1 in the Kingdom Baseball Tournament in Aruba Monday. Team St. Maarten won 3-0.

PHILIPSBURG—It was another excellent turnout for the 34th My Guardian Group Run and Walk on Sunday in Belair with some 200 persons taking on either the 10K or 3K Run distances.

Dear Editor,

The loss of human life and the devastation caused by Hurricane Matthew in southwestern Haiti on October 4 are no longer among the hot news of the day. But we can still help to relieve the hardships that the storm piled on the people of our fellow Caribbean country.

Having personally responded to calls earlier this month from relief organizers to contribute hurricane relief goods for Haiti, I have faith in the St. Maarten people and their historical generosity.

I’m calling on the people of St. Maarten to continue supporting the call from known local relief organizers to aid Haiti during what is still for many families in dire need, a perilous time.

Our beautiful island is home to a number of people of Haitian descent. There are certainly those among us with family and friends in Haiti who have been affected by the hurricane.

Hurricane Matthew’s reported death toll stands at 1,384 people – from at least six of the countries reporting deaths due to the passage of the hurricane.

The human fatalities, disruption of livelihood and destruction of property, the threat of disease, and the pain and suffering wrought by Hurricane Matthew through Haiti, affecting in like ways parts of the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Jamaica, The Bahamas, and the USA are just plain heartbreaking.

St. Maarten is not sheltered from the experiences of a category 4 and 5 hurricane. We still remember the terror and destruction of Hurricane Luis in 1995. So let’s continue to contribute in whatever way we can, and to pray, in response to the call and needs of a nation in need after bearing the brunt of the deadly Hurricane Matthew. God Bless the people of Haiti. God bless the people of St. Maarten. God bless the people of our whole island.

Gracita Arrindell,

Leader People’s Progressive Alliance (PPA)

Dear Queenie,

Lately I’ve noticed that my husband takes an awful long time going to the bathroom.

Queenie, what do suppose he’s doing in there?—Curious wife

Dear Curious,

He could be masturbating, or just reading a good book. Or he could be constipated, which could be a symptom of intestinal problem, or just having trouble passing his urine, which could be a symptom of a prostate problem.

Ask him about it. If it is one of the latter two possibilities a trip to the doctor would be highly advisable.

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