Grid List

MARIGOT--Commandant of the motorcycle brigade of the Gendarmerie, Christophe Schalbretter, disclosed as of January 1, 2017, cars will be prohibited from the French side roads if transparency of the tint on the windows is less than seventy per cent. That is according to Decree No. 2016-448 of April 13, 2016.

THE HAGUE--Aruba Governor Fredis Refunjol was promoted to Commander in the Order of Oranje Nassau for his exceptional contribution to the Dutch Kingdom during his farewell reception in The Hague on Thursday.

Simpson Bay Lagoon Authority Corporation (SLAC) made recommendations for Government to alleviate traffic in Simpson Bay and Cole Bay (see related story), partly based on 2014 study regarding the causeway. Contrary to initial scepticism, a daily average of about 4,200 vehicles pass over the road-bridge, said to represent almost half the volume of the most congested Union Road/Welfare Road region.

The case of former Immigration and Border Protection (IBP) Service Director Udo Aron (see related story) appears to be a typical example of authorities abusing their power and the trust placed in them by society. When high-ranking officials fail to do things in the correct way it erodes public confidence in society and its key institutions, with all possible consequences.

On the other hand, the Immigration officer who tried to stop Aron from bringing in a foreign woman without the required visa and filed a complaint after being overruled by a superior deserves support for sticking to the rules. This stance ultimately received backing from the Justice Minister, which led to Aron’s suspension and subsequent dismissal. Although the court called the manner of termination “far from elegant,” it was considered justified in light of the serious nature of the allegations.

The ruling did order outstanding payments of NAf. 40,000 in substitution allowances and NAf. 35,495 in vacation allowance, to which Government had already agreed. However, while Aron’s reputation may have been tarnished, the judge saw no reason for damages, as Aron caused all the commotion in the first place.

It’s by no means the first scandal in St. Maarten’s judicial sector and probably won’t be the last. Catching and punishing those responsible at least shows people that the entire system isn’t rigged.

The lesson to be learned here is that nobody can claim to be above the law, no matter what their function. Everyone must simply learn to play by the book, one way or the other.

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados--One of Barbados’ popular south coast beaches has been reopened, five days after officials closed it over concerns about poor water quality.

Worthing Beach was closed on December 3, following claims that it had been compromised by raw sewage. But Thursday morning, Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy officially reopened the beach, saying that sea bathers had nothing to fear and assuring that no sewage was going into the water.

Sealy, who lives nearby, said reports that raw sewage had been leaking into the sea were totally untrue.

“This is not raw sewage,” the Minister said as he looked at the brownish water which had settled several feet from the sea. “Raw sewage is grey; that’s why they call it grey water. If that was raw sewage, there was no way that we would be able to stand up so close to it because the smell would be [unbearable – Ed.].”

Sealy, along with Minister of Health John Boyce, took a swim in the water shortly after the beach was reopened.

Following a trough system which dumped six inches of rain on the island last week, several sewage wells along the popular tourist area overflowed into the streets, causing a stink.

But Boyce has insisted that the brackish water being released into the sea at Worthing Beach had nothing to do with overflowing sewage on the landward side. He told Parliament Wednesday that the discolouration of the water at the Worthing Beach was coming from the nearby Graeme Hall swamp.

“When the mixing occurs, naturally the brownish colouration of the swamp would interfere with the beautiful pristine waters of our beaches. And this has occurred from time to time and this is not anything new,” he said.

“Whenever there is an over-collection of water in the swamp it is necessary to allow that runoff to occur.” ~ Caribbean360 ~

FLORIDA, United States--Interest is building for the 2017 Caribbean Travel Marketplace, the Caribbean’s largest marketing event which will take place at Atlantis Paradise Island in the Bahamas from January 31 to February 2, 2017.

Produced by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) in collaboration with the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association, the Nassau/Paradise Island Promotion Board and the Paradise Island Tourism Development Association, the event features two days of business meetings that match buyers and suppliers through a busy programme of thousands of pre-scheduled appointments.

“These business appointments set the tone for meetings, groups and vacation packaging for the entire year,” said Frank Comito, Director General and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the regional association, who explained that Caribbean tourism stakeholders will meet face-to-face with wholesalers from around the world selling Caribbean vacation travel.

Comito underscored that the one-on-one pre-scheduled appointments, which all take place in one location within a 48-hour period, drive “an incredible amount of business to the region.” “It is vital, therefore, that companies register early to maximise their participation,” he said.

Building upon the region’s largest gathering of tour operators, wholesalers and online travel agents, CHTA is seeing an increase in attendance of new buyer companies. The CHTA CEO confirmed the participation of six new buyer companies for the event to date, including AZUZOO Limited and Love Holidays from the United Kingdom; Germany’s EWTC GmbH; Luxury Resorts Collection from Russia; Island Consulting from France; and Ireland’s Caribbean Blue.

“Some of these companies are expanding into the region, an indication of the continued interest in and demand for the Caribbean’s diverse product,” Comito noted.

In response to high interest by hotels, CHTA has added a Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) industry component to Caribbean Travel Marketplace. Early indications point to strong representation by MICE buyers.

Regular registration for Caribbean Travel Marketplace is currently open through today, December 6, after which rates will increase.

For registration details, visit www.chtamarketplace.com/registration-fees or call +1(305) 443-3040.

The Conference opens on the evening of Tuesday, January 31, and will be preceded by educational sessions that day. An event schedule is available at: http://www.chtamarketplace.com/event-schedule

Caribbean Travel Marketplace is sponsored by the Islands of the Bahamas, the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association, JetBlue Getaways, MasterCard, Interval International and Sandals. Platinum Sponsors include AMResorts, Bonnier Corporation, Marketplace Excellence Corporation, OBMI, Tambourine and Travelzoo; while Adara, Brides, Figment Design, Seekda, Simpleview, SiteMinder, The New York Times, Time Inc. and Travel Channel have joined the event as gold sponsors. ~ Caribbean360 ~

FRANKFURT--Technical trade secrets were stolen from the steel production and manufacturing plant design divisions of ThyssenKrupp AG in cyber attacks earlier this year, the German company said on Thursday.

OTTAWA--Viola Desmond, a black businesswoman who challenged racial segregation in Canada in 1946, will be the new face of the C$10 bill, making her the first Canadian woman to be featured on a bank note.

NEW YORK--Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger became a father for the eighth time on Thursday when his ballet dancer girlfriend gave birth to a son in New York, his publicist said.

LOS ANGELES--"Modern Family" star Sofia Vergara is being sued by her two frozen embryos in an unusual lawsuit as part of a three-year battle by her ex-fiance to see the embryos brought to life.

NEW YORK--Almost 60 percent of transgender Americans have avoided using public restrooms for fear of confrontation, saying they have been harassed and assaulted, according to the largest survey taken of transgender people in the United States.

WASHINGTON--John Glenn, who became one of the 20th century's greatest explorers as the first American to orbit Earth and later as the world's oldest astronaut, and also had a long career as a U.S. senator, died in Ohio on Thursday at age 95.

SYDNEY/HONG KONG--Vietnam has begun dredging work on a disputed reef in the South China Sea, satellite imagery shows, the latest move by the Communist state to bolster its claims in the strategic waterway.

TOKYO--At first glance, the Tsukamoto kindergarten looks like any other school in Japan, but its unique curriculum is reminiscent of pre-war Japan.

CUL DE SAC--When Future Champs and Winair Conquerors clash on Saturday in the final Playoff match, the results will be highly significant because the loser will have many regrets while the winner will advance to the final.

SABA--Kevin Baldauf won the Sea to Scenery race that was a part of the Saba Day Weekend schedule of events. Baldauf, who finished in 51 minutes and 30 seconds, ran the course along with 10 other participants from the Cove Bay, located just below the Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport, to the summit of the highest point within the Kingdom, Mt Scenery 0n December 3The course went through the heart of Windwardside with a total elevation gain of 900 meters.

Dear Editor,
St. Maarten needs change. This week Parliament has been debating the budget and going back and forth on the same issues previous Parliaments and governments did not solve. The financial situation is dire and requires a conservative budget. However, without a plan for economic growth, falling national income will soon reach a tipping point. This means further deterioration of basic public services, the loss of our earnings potential and eventually our fiscal autonomy. While we still have a fighting chance to improve our economy, Parliament should take control immediately.
“How much do we make in profit tax?” was one of the questions raised in Parliament. The answer is so little that we should be asking “How much do we lose because of our profit tax?” To collect a meagre NAf. 24 million we get top marks in rankings of undesirable investment destinations. Our rate of 34.5% is one of the highest in the world and makes us the biggest fool in our Kingdom. The rate in the Netherlands and Aruba is 25%, in Curacao 22% and for the BES-islands a cool 0%. In Gibraltar, which is comparable in size and constitutional make up, a 10% profit tax rate has propelled economic growth (12%) per year!
In other words, our profit tax is damaging our existing businesses and preventing foreign companies and investors from setting up shop here. Our profit tax is so high that most local business owners admit they do not want to make profit in St. Maarten. Next to that our firm has seen numerous potential investors backing away from St. Maarten because of the tax rate. Noting that Tortola is open for business and levying no profit tax at all. This means that no new jobs were created, no new opportunities were given and no new tax revenues were generated. To be blunt ... it means that we are the least savvy of the lot.
The global consensus is that a low profit tax is good for business, for growth and tax revenues. Our rate is 245% higher than Gibraltar’s.
Lowering the profit tax to 10% will increase the revenue to NAf. 45 million due an incentive to run a profit and even more if new investments are made. This would change St. Maarten’s international appeal overnight. However, if our politicians can’t stomach a big bet, the rate should be lowered to the level of Curacao (22%). We expect this to be budget neutral while still beneficial to our investment climate.
In June, after a presentation to Parliament we (BERMAN Consultancy Legal & Trust) noticed broad support for a lower profit tax; in Parliament and the community. However, the government didn’t address the issue in the budget. Parliament has the legislative power to amend the budget to include a lower profit tax rate. No further legislation is needed; it could be fixed before the end of the year. It’s time for Parliament to take control and budget for growth.

Lucas G.J. Berman
BERMAN Consultancy Legal & Trust

Dear Queenie,

My father is cheating on my mother. I found out by accident while I was using his computer and there is no mistake about it. I told him I would tell Mom if he didn’t make an end to it, but I know she will stick with him anyway.

Now I’m having trouble trusting my boyfriend because of the idea that all men are alike even though I have no real reason to doubt him.

Queenie, help!—Cheater’s daughter

Dear Daughter,

Not all men are like your father, as I am sure you realise in your calmer moments. Professional counselling probably would help you ease your mind on that issue.

Meanwhile, do not interfere in what is entirely your parents’ business. You cannot control what your father does or does not do, your mother may or may not know what he is up to and, if she knows, what she does about it is entirely up to her.

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