Grid List

The active tropical wave passing through the local region has been producing showers and strong winds this morning. Sustained winds were reported near 25-30 knots (29-35 mph) and gusts near 40-50 knots (46-58 mph). Seas also deteriorated near 9 feet.

weather3The National Hurricane Center’s Hurricane Hunters have reported storm force winds in gusts. They have indicated that these conditions may continue for a few hours.

weatherA small craft advisory, flash flood advisory, and severe wind advisory are now in effect for St. Maarten until further notice.

  • Residents and motorists in areas prone to flooding should be vigilant and use caution. Motorists along hillsides should be vigilant for rock falls.
  • Sea users and persons with interests along the coast should exercise extreme caution and secure their property. All sea users and persons close to the sea should make plans to take necessary action.


FORECASTER: Connor/Isaac

A Special Bulletin is issued for weather events that are unusual, cause general inconvenience or public concern (requiring the attention and action of fire department and police authorities) and cannot adequately be described in a regular weather forecast.


A Small Craft Advisory announces that the sea will likely become somewhat rough today or is already occurring.

A Flash Flood Advisory announces that heavy rainfall will occur today or is already occurring.

A Severe Wind Advisory announces that sustained winds above 34 knots (39 mph) with gusts above 50 knots (58 mph) will occur today or is already occurring.

Tropical Storm sustained winds are between 34-63 knots (39-73 mph).

200 PM EDT WED AUG 24 2016

The public sector unions still want a workgroup to discuss payment of the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for civil servants and teachers (see related story). That can’t be good news for Finance Minister Richard Gibson, who has been trying to keep the budget balanced despite an apparent slowdown of the local economy.

Perhaps that’s why Prime Minister William Marlin didn’t reply to the letter asking for such yet, although Windward Islands Chamber of Labour Unions (WICLU) President Claire Elshot has indications steps are actually being taken to form the committee in question. Mind you, the supposedly-outstanding COLA regards 2013, 2014 and 2015, so to say the unions and their members have been patient would be an understatement at this point.

On the other hand, it’s no secret either that Government’s financial situation is far from rosy. In fact, spending cuts rather than increases are currently the order of the day.

Then again, allowing the issue to remain unresolved is in itself hardly the best policy. This leaves room for continued expectations that might not be realistic in monetary terms.

Elshot is therefore right when she says they can’t keep burying their heads in the proverbial sand. Some kind of firm decision is needed, taking into account existing agreements, rules and regulations, but also the state of the national treasury.

A one-time so-called “lump-sum” retroactive COLA payment of 50 per cent was made several years ago, but the salaries were not indexed accordingly. A similar arrangement may be the answer now, because having this matter drag on much longer will do nobody any good.

A draft amendment to the Civil Code for the recognition of so-called registered partnerships (concubine arrangements) now being handled in Aruba’s Parliament has caused quite some commotion. The law proposal is meant to afford gay couples who still can’t get legally married on the island the same basic rights as wedded heterosexuals.

It’s a controversial matter at best, as much of the predominantly

GEORGETOWN, Guyana--President David Granger has announced that he will take for Cabinet’s consideration, the recommendation made by Chairperson of the National Toshaos Council (NTC), Joel Fredericks, to have a plot of land allocated for the construction of a secretariat for the Council.

NEW YORK, United States--The United Nations (UN) has finally acknowledged that it played a role in an outbreak of cholera in Haiti in 2010 that has since killed about 10,000 people and continues to sicken thousands every year.

NEW YORK-- Luxury automaker Lamborghini expects to at least double production to 7,000 vehicles a year by 2019 once it rolls out a new SUV, but it will not lose its focus on making sports cars, Chief Executive Officer Stefano Domenicali said Tuesday.

NEW YORK-- Pfizer Inc <PFE.N>, beating out numerous other bidders, said it agreed to buy U.S. cancer drug company Medivation Inc <MDVN.O> for $14 billion in cash, adding its blockbuster prostate cancer drug Xtandi to the company's growing oncology roster.

NEW YORK-- The vast majority of children and teens should have less than six teaspoons of added sugar in their diet each day, according to the American Heart Association.

NEW YORK-- U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte lost the last of his four major sponsors, Japanese mattress maker Airweave, days after he admitted to exaggerating his story about being robbed at gunpoint in Rio during the Olympics.

SOKOTO, Nigeria-- Nigeria's air force said it had killed a number of senior Boko Haram fighters and possibly their overall leader, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry

WASHINGTON-- - A judge ordered the State Department on Monday to review and determine the potential release of 14,900 documents, most of which are believed to be emails to or from Hillary Clinton, that turned up in an FBI investigation of her use of a private email server as secretary of state.

SEOUL-- North Korea fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile off its east coast early on Wednesday, South Korea's military said, the latest in a string of missile launches by the isolated country in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions.

BENGHAZI, Libya, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Opponents of Libya's U.N.-backed unity government dealt the beleaguered body a blow on Monday by voting to reject it in a rare session of the eastern-based parliament, though the government's supporters dismissed the move as unconstitutional.

PHILIPSBURG--St. Kitts made a strong case to qualify for the U21 World Youth Netball Championship with a comprehensive 45 to 25 win over St. Maarten in the U21 World Youth Netball Qualifiers of the Americas Federation of Netball Association (AFNA) at the L.B. Scott Sports Auditorium, last night.

LONDON-- Premier League West Bromwich Albion and Watford were knocked out in the League Cup second round by lower-league opponents on Tuesday as a strong Liverpool side crushed championship Burton Albion 5-0.

Dear Editor,

Last week I read an article in The Daily Herald with the headline “Academy focussing on ICT development.” This brought me back to my days at the academy, when phones and other electronic devices were prohibited. However, the school seems to have come a long way in embracing technology by implementing an online portal, where parents can track their child’s progress, and allowing students to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). The school also plans to upgrade its Information Technology (IT) infrastructure to accommodate e-marking for CXC exams and implement a BYOD policy.

These changes are welcomed, but I believe that more can be done at the secondary education level to prepare students for a career in IT. When students are in the second form, they are given a choice: Business or Science. I believe IT should be one of these choices. Information Technology (IT) is a science, but it is not taught as a science at St. Maarten Academy. Both business and science students get the same IT class. Students are taught as computer users, not IT professionals.

I propose that students be given the opportunity to learn how to repair phones, tablets, and computers along with basic networking skills and security pertaining to IT. As an IT professional, I hold several industry certifications, such as the A+ (deals with computer repairs, software, and hardware), Network+ (deals with IT network basics) and the Security+ (deals with IT security basics). These are all certifications that can be done at the high school level.

There is already a vast amount of study material for these certifications, curricula that are updated regularly by CompTIA, and this would provide a worthwhile goal for students to work towards while working on their high school diploma. There are several other benefits for students who chose to do IT in high school such as:

• Students would have 1 to 3 certifications along with their high school diploma after they graduate.

• These certifications would prepare students for a job in the IT field right after graduation.

• If these students choose to further their IT studies at a college or university, most colleges accept these certifications as credit for certain classes, which would reduce tuition and time spent in college.

• Some businesses consider a certification as experience in the IT industry, which would give students a head start in their career.

• Students who chose to study IT in high school, could use their skills to open a business after graduating, or as a secondary source of income.

This idea is not new, there are many high schools that offer IT in the USA and Europe. However, when it comes to technology, St. Maarten has always been lagging behind other countries, even countries we consider less developed. This is evident by the internet speeds advertised and the prices we consider normal. Most people on the Dutch side think 2MBs for $50 is a good deal until they find out they can get 20MB for $45 right across the border.

Both TelEm and UTS only launched 4G last year (2015), a technology that has been around since 2009. Banks don’t allow customers to pay their utility and telephone bills online and ATMs don’t accept deposits, these are all norms in St. Maarten.

Introducing IT in high school would be a great way to jump ahead and embrace the digital future while giving high school grads a real head start. I still remember my first semester in college, many students came from high schools that offered IT, and so they came with a bit more knowledge, experience and a few certifications under their belt. In the end, I graduated at the top of my class, but I had a fair amount of catching up to do.

If this is implemented, students from St. Maarten who choose to study IT will have a much easier transition. Of course, the school will have to do surveys, research, and probably launch this as a pilot program, but ultimately I believe it will be worthwhile.

Ramzan Juman

Dear Queenie,

When I got married my father couldn’t walk me down the aisle because he had to be away on business, something that came up at the last minute that he just had to take care of.

Now my brother is getting married and his fiancée’s father is dead so they have asked Dad to walk her down the aisle.

Queenie, I don’t think this is fair. If he couldn’t give me away how can he do the honours for my brother’s fiancée? Is it even proper for the groom’s father to give away the bride?—Jealous daughter

Dear Jealous,

It is not a matter of “giving away the bride,” it is just a matter of escorting her to the altar. Try to suppress your feelings of jealousy and be happy for your brother and his new wife.

St. Maarten appoints first STA Director

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