Grid List

MIDDLE REGION--TelCell Night of the Hit Makers will be hitting a milestone this year with its fifth anniversary celebration. For the past four years Xtratight Entertainment has put a blend of artistes together that has brought the Carnival Village alive and set the dance floor on “fyah.”

POINTE BLANCHE--Port St. Maarten continues to work to increase destination cruise numbers after a dip in 2016.

“It’s a start, but not what we have been fighting for years already,” said Aruban opposition leader Evelyn Wever-Croes (MEP) about Saturday’s news that the Kingdom Council of Ministers had endorsed the Dutch Government’s proposal for a dispute regulation. This means alternative legislation suggested by Curaçao, St. Maarten and Aruba was basically ignored.

It had been agreed during the recent Inter-Parliamentary Kingdom Consultation in Willemstad that Kingdom Relations and Home Affairs Minister Ronald Plasterk would go ahead and send his draft law to the Second Chamber in The Hague, where amendments also coming from the three Caribbean countries could be introduced. It has now been submitted to the Council of State first and probably won’t be debated until after the March national elections in the Netherlands.

According to the Dutch version, this same council will be the entity to judge potential disagreements. However, its advice won’t be binding, which is one of the main objections from the islands.

But Plasterk assured that the Kingdom Government would have to seriously take into account the arguments and reconsider its related decision that is automatically suspended for the review if applicable. In practice the recommendations will almost always be adhered to, he explained.

Another issue is that the regulation fails to cover certain decisions such as those considered so urgent by the Dutch Prime Minister that they permit no delay, cases where security is at stake or acute situations. Also excluded are matters for which there is already a so-called Crown Procedure at the Council of State like the Kingdom Law on Financial Supervision or with existing Kingdom Laws on which an advice has already been given.

Of course, when the Parliament in The Hague does handle Plasterk’s draft legislation there is indeed the possibility to make changes also based on wishes of the Dutch Caribbean. Therefore too, what will be the end result and the position taken by a majority of the next Second Chamber after the upcoming election is anybody’s guess at this point.

Dutch Minister of Home Affairs Ronald Plasterk in today’s paper sticks to his guns on the appointment of a quartermaster for the Integrity Chamber of St. Maarten. This, while the National Ordinance to establish one submitted by the former UP-led Government and adopted by Parliament was struck down by the Constitutional Court in its review at the request of the Ombudsman.

The current NA/US Party/DP coalition is formally still to outline its approach regarding an advice from the Legal Affairs Department based on the ruling. However, Prime Minister William Marlin, who had voted against the law proposal involved while part of the opposition, again made clear that his cabinet does not see the need for such an institution.

Moreover, he called the way the Netherlands had named a quartermaster itself an integrity breach also considering the recent history of the person involved. All this did not seem to bother the Kingdom Council of Ministers, which believed it needed to make a move based on the relevant protocol both parties signed in 2015, or “nothing will happen.”

Although not official, the expectation now is that The Hague might soon impose an Integrity Chamber on its own, making use of authorities granted under the guarantee function in the Kingdom Charter. Still, concerns voiced by the Constitutional Court about the right to privacy and fair trial are not to be brushed aside. If nothing else, the Council of State may have something to say about that.

The issue illustrates the importance of a dispute regulation within the Kingdom (see related story). Here again, it is the Dutch Government’s version that will be considered and the question remains whether the apparent latest disagreement between The Hague and Philipsburg would even fall under its scope.

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad--A 27-year-old woman who has been described by neighbours as having a history of mental illness stabbed a pensioner of Oropune Gardens, Piarco to death Saturday.

NEW YORK, United States--A Jamaican woman who had what was supposed to be a box of beef patties was found to be carrying something more sinister than the savoury snack when she arrived at New York’s John F. Kennedy International (JFK) Airport earlier this week.

WASHINGTON--U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday he plans talks soon with the leaders of Canada and Mexico to begin renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

SEOUL--Samsung Electronics Co Ltd on Monday said faulty batteries caused its flagship Galaxy Note 7 phones to catch fire and announced steps to avoid repeat incidents, as it tries to restore trust and regain momentum in the smartphone business.

TOKYO--Japan is moving to adopt a law allowing its octogenarian Emperor Akihito to abdicate but many touchy topics, such as his title and duties, remain to be settled before the monarch can retire in a step unprecedented for two centuries.
  Japanese law does not currently allow an emperor to give up the throne, but Akihito, 83, who has had heart surgery and prostate cancer treatment, said in rare public remarks last August he feared age might make it hard to fulfil his duties.

EDINBURGH--Fans and stars braved freezing Scottish weather to flock to the premiere of T2 Trainspotting on Sunday, the sequel to the era-defining story of Edinburgh drug addicts Renton, Spud, Sick Boy and thug Begbie two decades on.

CIALANGLEY, Virginia--U.S. President Donald Trump tried to ease tensions with the CIA on Saturday, telling officers he had their back after he had leveled unprecedented criticism against spy agencies for their investigation into Russian hacking during the election.

WASHINGTON--President Donald Trump can hire his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, as a senior White House adviser without breaking federal anti-nepotism laws, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

NEW DELHI/CHENNAI--Hundreds of women gathered in over 30 towns and cities across India late on Saturday, saying they were "occupying the night streets" to demand safety in public spaces after reports of the mass molestation of women in Bengaluru city on New Year's Eve.

BANJUL/DAKAR--Gambians celebrated in the streets on Sunday after a West African regional military force entered the capital city of Banjul and took control of the presidential palace, the symbolic seat of ex-ruler Yahya Jammeh's 22-year authoritarian regime.

MELBOURNE-- The whiff of sporting upset hung around Melbourne Park on Sunday after top seeds Andy Murray and Angelique Kerber were handed stunning defeats in the Australian Open fourth round.

KOLKATA-- Ben Stokes hit a brisk half-century and then picked up three crucial wickets to help England to a tense five-run win against India in the third and final one-day international at the Eden Gardens on Sunday.

Dear Editor,

Another year has passed and one of the few changes is that we were able to seat a government without too much drama. Of course, we witnessed the performance of our person of the year chosen by a member of the fifth estate (Press) based on their impact on the society; don’t think they took into consideration that they have yet to hear of successful convictions of all these supposedly corrupt politicians and vote buyers and sellers since 10-10-10.They have heaped so many charges on our people while in the end maybe two hold any weight according to the court.

They would have us believe this organization is a beacon of integrity and honesty. This is the same office a few years ago that planted drugs in the car of a citizen to set him up so that the super prosecutor could carry on an affair with his wife; and one who collided while driving under the influence in the Middle Region area. There was also the case of one member charged with domestic abuse. No mention is made of how many people lives are affected by drummed-up charges that panned out to be nothing, or the seemingly unending time it takes for the accused to have his/her day in court. (Justice delayed is justice denied).

It is not enough to say oh yes we are grossly understaffed. for when you parade people in front of the press you should explain that beforehand. We have yet to get an explanation for the “Gestapo like” behaviour of this office breaking down doors and destroying people’s property while already in the residence, or creating the impression that these people are guilty via the press to influence public opinion while they have not been to court and as it is won’t get there for years.

When are we to hear about the investigation of a person being gunned down in the custody of the state without as much as a call from this office that is to serve the people to his wife, mother or father. While I would like to forego choosing a person of the year suffice it to say that this organization can only enjoy this honour in a military state, a dictatorship or in a colony run by a country with a long and bloody slave trading and owning past.

We have also heard of the planning for an IPKO that should have been cancelled, but after all the Dutch has election in March and what better campaign issue can you have than to show how you put the islands in line. So we waste the taxpayer’s money to allow the Europeans sometime in the sun and talked about a very amicable and informative meeting. Within a week we hear the Dutch have appointed a Quarter Master for the integrity chamber that doesn’t exist and to date has not had the ordinance amended to meet the concerns of the Constitutional Court.

In IPKO after IPKO the islands have been crying out for a dispute regulation and have even presented legislation to that effect, only to have the Dutch masters inform you that they have adopted a regulation that suits them and they will look at yours later. The right of initiative also comes to mind that also won’t happen for it would allow the islands to impact their politics.

For the good of me I can’t figure out what it will take for us to realize and recognize that we are colonies and not equal to the colonial master as we like to believe. Contrary to popular belief the Dutch has no hidden agenda, it is clear for all to see they want uninhibited control and placement of their civil servants with powers superseding that of the elected officials here. Our continued parading as Prime Ministers or Presidents of Parliament or the false notion of being equals in the Kingdom is nothing but an illusion of grandeur better suited for dreamers and fools.

Elton Jones

Dear Queenie,

Our adult son still lives with us because he can’t afford to live on his own because he doesn’t have a good job. My wife won’t let me make him pay rent because, like I said, he doesn’t have a good job and she won’t even ask him to help around the house. She says it’s our responsibility to see that he doesn’t end up homeless or in prison.

Queenie, how can I get him to grow up?—Fed-up father

Dear father,

Your son will have absolutely no motivation to grow up as long as his mother continues to treat him like a child.

You should insist that he help around the house and pay a reasonable (as large as possible) portion of whatever he earns for rent and the food he eats. Perhaps having little or no pocket money left over will motivate him to try to get a better job and even (hopefully) move out.

If your wife gives you a hard time about all this, ask her what will become of him if he has not learned to live on his own when the time comes that you and she can no longer take care of him.

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