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Minister Smith and Examinations Division head Yvette Halley with the 2019 top performers for each subject taken at the FBE exit exams.


PHILIPSBURG--St. Dominic Primary School pupil Mahika Ramchandani topped St. Maarten at this year’s Foundation-Based Education (FBE) Exit Examinations held earlier this year.

Education Minister Wycliffe Smith with representatives of USM Foundation and staff of the Ministry during the signing of the MoU.


PHILIPSBURG--Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports (ECYS) Wycliffe Smith last Friday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the board of University of St. Martin (USM) Foundation, with parties agreeing to the terms of government’s continued subsidy for the institution.

The initiative by Member of Parliament (MP) Claude “Chacho” Peterson for Dutch Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations State Secretary Raymond Knops to meet with the legislature in Philipsburg (see Wednesday paper) is interesting. Of course, the request backed by independent MP Franklin Meyers and United Democrats (UD) faction member Jules James had to be made through Prime Minister Romeo-Marlin and for the sake of protocol it might be wise to extend the invitation to Dutch Minister Kajsa Ollongren, even though it’s Knops that handles most day-to-day affairs regarding the island.

The reality is that decisions taken in The Hague these days have a bigger-than-usual impact on St. Maarten and its people because of the Dutch government’s role in the country’s continued recovery from Hurricane Irma via its Trust Fund managed by the World Bank, liquidity support, etc. For the responsible public administrator of the Netherlands to have consultations with the local legislature therefore makes all the sense in the world.

Knops should seriously consider accepting the offer in the interest of fairness. Keep in mind that there is no such thing as a Kingdom Parliament and the three Dutch Caribbean countries Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten have only one representative each in the Kingdom Council of Ministers dominated by Dutch cabinet members.

This so-called “democratic deficit” remains a reality within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, so it’s nice when efforts are made to give the islands a bit more input and a frank encounter with local legislators would seem a good way to do so. After all, talking can’t hurt.

That the Dutch government in its 2020 Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations budget committed to three crucial projects as part of St. Maarten’s ongoing recovery from devastating Hurricane Irma (see related story) sends a welcome signal both locally and abroad. In doing so it also addressed several concerns.

One of these was that apart from badly needed fire-suppression activities no long-term solution for the dump seemed forthcoming. However, the annual policy document of Minister Kajsa Ollongren and State Secretary Raymond Knops for the coming year clearly mentions sustainable waste management with input from the French side.

Equally important is the pledge to completely restore Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA), especially after a recent presentation on possible financing involving JPF Corporate Financing and Pension Fund Vidanova totalling US $240 million. This cast some undesirable doubt on the existing terminal reconstruction plans with a grant from the Dutch-sponsored Trust Fund managed by the World Bank and a soft loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) of $50 million each.

Vidanova in today’s paper clarified that it never offered to finance the whole amount alone, but as part of a consortium that could conceivably include the World Bank and EIB. The company said it had discussed possible funding for the airport twice before September 5 with representatives of government and was therefore interested when learning that JPF had been asked to look at other options.

It’s in any case good to know that the Netherlands continues to stand behind arrangements it helped make, especially because their implementation appears to be taking quite a while. That may be understandable, but so is an acute sense of urgency to get the island’s main gateway back to its former glory and allow the tourism economy to fully rebound.

GEORGETOWN, Guyana--Director of the Department of Energy, Mark Bynoe has announced that both Tullow Oil and ExxonMobil have made discoveries of oil in commercial quantities – and they were both made on Monday.



Hurricane Humberto Intermediate Advisory Number 23A

NWS National Hurricane Center Miami FL      

800 AM AST Wed Sep 18 2019




LOCATION...31.8N 68.9W












A Hurricane Warning is in effect for...

* Bermuda




At 800 AM AST (1200 UTC), the eye of Hurricane Humberto was located by satellite near latitude 31.8 North, longitude 68.9 West. Humberto has increased its forward speed and is moving toward the east-

northeast near 16 mph (26 km/h). This general motion with an additional increase in forward speed is expected through early Thursday, followed by a northeastward to north-northeastward motion through Friday. On the forecast track, the core of Humberto is expected to pass just to the northwest and north of Bermuda later tonight.

Maximum sustained winds are near 115 mph (185 km/h) with higher gusts. Humberto is a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Some fluctuations in intensity are likely during the next day or so, but Humberto should remain a powerful hurricane through early Thursday. A steady weakening trend should begin later on Thursday.

 Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 60 miles (95 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles (280 km). The eye of Hurricane Humberto passed over NOAA buoy around 500 AM AST (0900 UTC). The buoy measured a sustained wind of 76 mph (122 km/h) and a wind gust to 90 mph (145 km/h) at 4-meters elevation, and also reported a pressure of 954.2 mb (28.18 inches) during the eye passage.

 The estimated minimum central pressure is 951 mb (28.09 inches) based on reports from the NOAA buoy.




WIND:  Hurricane conditions are expected to reach Bermuda tonight and continue into early Thursday morning. Winds are expected to reach tropical-storm strength later this afternoon, making outside

preparations difficult or dangerous. Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion.


RAINFALL:  Humberto may bring periods of heavy rain to Bermuda through Thursday, with rainfall accumulations of 2 to 4 inches with maximum amounts of 6 inches expected.

SURF:  Large swells generated by Humberto will increase along the coast of Bermuda today. Dangerous breaking waves, especially along south-facing beaches, will be possible Wednesday night into Thursday, and could cause coastal flooding.

 Swells will continue to affect the northwestern Bahamas and the southeastern coast of the United States from east-central Florida to North Carolina during the next couple of days. These swells could cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions. Please consult products from your local weather office and the Bermuda Weather Service.


STORM SURGE:  Storm surge and breaking waves could raise water levels by 1 to 3 feet above normal tide levels along the immediate southern coast of Bermuda

TOKYO--Buses may not be the most glamorous mode of transport but at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games, they will represent Toyota Motor Corp's best bet for wider acceptance of hydrogen power - technology so far eclipsed by electric vehicles.

LONDON--Investors managing $15 trillion in assets turned up the heat on oil and gas sector on Wednesday ahead of a United Nations summit in New York aimed at accelerating efforts to fight climate change.

WELLINGTON/SAN FRANCISCO--New Zealand will be home again to hairy feet and pointed-ear Hobbits after Amazon Studios confirmed the Pacific country will be the location for its new “The Lord of the Rings” series, a TV show widely tipped to be the most expensive ever made.

LONDON--Jurassic Park dinosaur skulls, a Star Wars stormtrooper helmet and Monty Python's holy hand grenade are among movie memorabilia going under the hammer in London this month at an auction organisers expect to exceed 6 million pounds ($7.5 million).

GALIVANTS FERRY, South Carolina--A marching band played and several hundred people roared for former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden at a South Carolina country general store this week, a stark contrast to the respectful but less enthusiastic applause given to several of his Democratic presidential rivals. Many voters at the folksy candidate event in tiny Galivants Ferry called Biden, the Democratic front-runner, their top choice to take on Republican President Donald Trump in November 2020.

WASHINGTON--U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday picked U.S. hostage negotiator Robert O'Brien as national security adviser, replacing hardliner John Bolton who was fired abruptly last week after clashing with the president on a host of issues.

STRASBOURG/BRUSSELS--The European Union warned on Wednesday that Britain was headed for a damaging no-deal Brexit, with London's ideas for solving the contentious issue of the Irish border still unlikely to unlock a deal just six weeks before Britain is due to leave.

JAKARTA--Indonesia is poised to pass a new penal code that criminalises consensual sex outside marriage and introduces stiff penalties for insulting the president's dignity - a move rights groups criticised as an intrusive assault on basic freedoms.

ST. PETERS--Grandmaster Theo Liu of the King Yen Taekwondo School has been honoured by the KUKKIWON (World Taekwondo Headquarters) in Korea.

PARIS- - Angel Di Maria scored twice in a vintage performance to help Paris St Germain outclass Real Madrid 3-0 in their opening Champions League Group A game on Wednesday.

Dear Editor,

  A Sint Maarten Police Force KPSM Simpson Bay patrol was despatched to my home on Billy Folly Road early on Sunday morning to investigate the burglary. I was devastated. I was relieved that I was not at home at the time of the crime. Now I felt violated and unsafe in my own home. I was distressed and frustrated at why it was so hard to just live peacefully in my own home, where I harm no one and pay my dues.

 Thieves had broken into my home, defiled my sanctuary and taken whatever they liked. They even drank my milk. I had to throw away everything in my refrigerator.

   Now I awaited the police. I unconsciously felt that this was to be the second offence against my person in just a few hours, that I was to be interrogated and dismissed with a crime number by an overworked patrol officer, and never hear from anyone again.

  I really could not have been further from the truth. In fact, the reason for my note today is to atone for my preconceived fear of this police visit, and to share with everyone my experience.

  The officers arrived very promptly. They were immediately courteous, sympathetic, considerate, professional and wise. There were Detective Officers and Forensic Officers, all taking careful note, and specimens of the whole scene, inside and out. I was soon reassured by the strength of their ability to comfort victims like me and their calibre of police work to quickly assess and detect the whole scenario.

  They felt sure that this person(s) had left enough evidence that they would soon be identified. They were a great source of information in how to better protect my home so that these thieves would not succeed in their vile business again. They recommended robust, reliable solutions that not only protect my home, but when considered in conjunction with my neighbours’ efforts, will make our community more secure.

  I cannot thank the Police Force enough. It may have taken a horrible burglary to wise me up, but our Police Force was wonderful. I thank them sincerely and I can assure them that I have followed their expert advice in protecting my home to the letter.


Nadesha Wallace

Dear Queenie,

  My husband smokes cigars, not cigarettes, and I can’t convince him that cigar smoke is just as bad for the people around him as cigarette smoke.

  Queenie, maybe if he reads it in the newspaper he will believe it.—Smokey’s Wife


Dear Smokey’s Wife,

  The American Cancer Society says cigars give off more smoke than cigarettes because they are larger than cigarettes so they have more tobacco and burn longer, and all tobacco smoke can cause cancer.

  Cigar smoke is not “just as bad” as cigarette smoke, it is much worse.