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Hublot Boutique on Front Street.  

PHILIPSBURG--Police patrols were directed to an armed robbery in progress on Monday morning at 10:00am at Little Europe Hublot Jewelry on Front Street. Police reports indicate that there was a robbery attempt by three masked men who tried to enter the store with weapons. On the scene the investigating officers learnt that three masked men dressed in dark clothing, two of whom were carrying a sledge hammer and one with a gun had attempted to gain access into the establishment by smashing the glass door.

Hublot Boutique on Front Street.  

PHILIPSBURG--Police patrols were directed to an armed robbery in progress on Monday morning at 10:00am at Little Europe Hublot Jewelry on Front Street. Police reports indicate that there was a robbery attempt by three masked men who tried to enter the store with weapons. On the scene the investigating officers learnt that three masked men dressed in dark clothing, two of whom were carrying a sledge hammer and one with a gun had attempted to gain access into the establishment by smashing the glass door.

For many it must have been a pleasant surprise to be confronted with so-called electronic gates in the downstairs departure area of Princess Juliana International Airport SXM (see related story). Outbound travellers merely had to scan their boarding passes before going up to the security area, where their documents were, of course, checked anyway.

This part of the process certainly seemed to go more quickly, although some passengers still approached the official in the only remaining booth there after passing through the bar-code boarding pass (BCPC) e-gates, before realising they didn’t have to. The proof of the pudding may yet come when it gets really busy during the high tourism season, but early indications are promising.

In Curaçao they installed e-gates for arriving passengers, which involves admitting people to the island. However, the system currently is limited to adults with passports from the United States (US), Canada and European Union (EU).

Moreover, only those who correctly filled in online embarkation and disembarkation (ED) cards 24 hours in advance can go through the e-gates, which – as it turns out – are open only during “peak hours.” These and other aspects of their introduction at Hato Airport apparently have not gone very smoothly, also judging from a letter to the editor published in Saturday’s paper.

The latter example clearly illustrates that while automation and self-service have indeed become increasingly important in civil aviation, great care must be taken to ensure such technical developments are well-planned and executed, so they don’t end up backfiring and making things worse rather than better.

There are some encouraging reports regarding law enforcement today, starting with the recovery on the Dutch side of a car stolen at gunpoint in French Quarter. That the victim was a baker sleeping in the vehicle to await his shift on the job makes the outcome feel even better.

This also shows that cross-border cooperation between authorities

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados--The number of high net worth individuals in the Caribbean is reported to be increasing, based partly on the availability of programmes that incentivise real estate investment, offering residency permits and citizenship in the Caribbean.

ROSEAU, Dominica--With renewables accounting for 28 per cent of electricity generation, Dominica is the Caribbean Community Caricom member which consumes the largest proportion of its energy from renewable sources, according to the newly released Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) study “Barriers to Identification and Implementation of Energy Efficiency Mechanisms and Enhancing Renewable Energy Technologies in the Caribbean.”

CHENGDU, China--The world's leading economies have discussed how to take advantage of their lower debt costs to spend more on investment as a way to boost weak economic growth, the head of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development said.
"Already lower interest rates create more fiscal space," OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria told Reuters on Sunday on the sidelines of a meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors from the Group of 20 economies. "The average cost of debt takes some time to show the full impact of interest rates because it's not only (over) six months, it's over several years."
The G20 is trying to find new ways to inject more energy into the world economy after extraordinary measures by central banks, which have cut interest rates close to zero, or below in some cases, produced only lacklustre growth. The focus has turned more squarely to what governments can do through increased spending and reforms to make their economies more efficient.
China, Japan and Britain have already started easing their fiscal stance or hinted at plans to do so. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, taking advantage of the Bank of Japan's negative interest rates, has ordered his government to unveil a large spending package by the end of this month, including a so-called fiscal investment and loan programme aimed at spurring private-sector investment.
However, high levels of public debt in many countries represent a limit on big increases in spending. Gurria said higher infrastructure spending featured prominently at the G20 meetings in the southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu on Saturday and Sunday.
"We're talking about creation of fiscal space. Basically this translates into room for manoeuvre to undertake certain investments that could be strategic in certain sectors," he said.
The official G20 communique was unlikely to go into much detail about fiscal policy "but if you look at the number of papers, the number of things that were discussed, the issue is very active," Gurria said.
Governments could leverage their spending by inviting private investors to back up their financing. "Maybe a little bit of public finance will detonate a lot more of private finance," he said.
In that spirit, the European Union has created in the middle of last year a fund of 21 billion euros ($23.04 billion), which is to attract private capital to generate a total of 315 billion euros in investment over three years in various infrastructure, and research and development projects in the 28-nation block. The fund exceeded targets already in its first year thanks to unexpectedly strong demand from small business and co-financing from the private sector.

PARIS--France's highest appeals court ruled on Friday that International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde must stand trial for her role in a 400 million euros ($440 million) state payout in 2008 to businessman Bernard Tapie.

SYDNEY--Russian adventurer Fedor Konyukhov has landed safely in a field on a private property in West Australia after setting a world record for circumnavigating the world solo in a hot air balloon.

SAN DIEGO, California--Amid fog and lasers on Saturday, Marvel gave frenzied fans at Comic-Con their first look at a new Black Panther movie cast, the mysterious Doctor Strange, a Spider-Man teen movie and an Oscar-winning actress as the new Captain Marvel.

PHILADELPHIA--The head of the Democratic Party resigned on Sunday amid a furor over embarrassing leaked emails, hoping to head off a growing rebellion by Bernie Sanders supporters on the eve of the convention to nominate Hillary Clinton for the White House.

LOS ANGELES--Firefighters struggled on Sunday to contain a fast-spreading wildfire that killed at least one person, destroyed 18 homes, closed a highway and forced hundreds of evacuations in the drought-parched canyons north of Los Angeles.

BERLIN--A 21-year-old Syrian refugee was arrested on Sunday after killing a pregnant woman with a machete in Germany, the fourth violent assault on civilians in western Europe in 10 days, though police said it did not appear linked to terrorism.

YEREVAN--Armed men holed up for almost a week at a police station in the Armenian capital refused to lay down their weapons after freeing their last four hostages on Saturday, instead demanding the resignation of President Serzh Sarksyan.

PHILIPSBURG--Tortola won the Battle of the Fittest International Basketball Tournament at L.B. Scott Sports Auditorium on Sunday. They defeated U.S.A. 92-89 to earn the US $5,000 cash prize.

BUDAPEST- - Triple Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton won the Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday to seize the championship lead from team mate Nico Rosberg for the first time this season.

Dear Editor,
Even if the opening up of the Cuban economy does not have a huge negative impact on the tourist economies of the Eastern Caribbean, these economies will continue to be challenged by the tapering off of their tourism success due to a variety of other reasons.
These other reasons are (1) new developing destinations worldwide, including Central America , Kenya, West Africa , Sri Lanka, etc. are taking increasing market share.
(2) Our difficulty in competing with new destinations due to an ageing infrastructure and quality of properties.
(3) The inability to boost the economy through new Greenfield tourist developments, as has been the methodology in the past.
(4) Our need to tax at a high level in order to allow us to keep growing a large government apparatus.
We can do nothing about the growth of competition. Our best response is to make our own offering as competitive and well marketed as possible. Ageing properties and infrastructure could be ameliorated by government facilitation and stimulation; if we could ensure that such efforts were efficient and did not lead to corruption, which would only worsen our situation. Present examples of government supervising commercial matters is not inspiring.
In respect of Sint Maarten does not have much left as far as undeveloped land for the traditional new hotel expansion. It does not have what St. Kitts has. St Kitts has been developing the Southern Peninsula, which has helped create the fastest GDP growth in the Eastern Caribbean in the last few years .We simply do not have a “southern peninsula” that could be used as a springboard to resuscitate our economy .
Our taxation is not only high, but it also holds back our economy in a structural manner. Ironically, we had great growth when our taxation was low and many of our competitors had destructive tax structures. The design of our present tax system is mainly based on short-term budget deficits that needed quick fixes without incorporating considerations for long-term economic functioning.
So where will Sint Maarten find itself in 20 years’ time, when the conventional stay-over tourism, cruise ship tourism and second home tourism have all become significantly tougher than they are now, the population has increased a little more than it currently is, and our expectations for higher quality living have gone up another notch ?
The challenge is not new. Many people have addressed the problem, if not for the longer term interest, but because in the shorter term our immediate growth, budget management and revenue shortfalls are calling for action in the shorter term.
The most significant point to note about future planning in Sint Maarten is that we have not yet taken on board any plan for solving the fundamental future economic problems, and the need to replace activity and grow activity. There is absolutely no shortage of efforts to identify the problem and broad descriptions of how to work towards solutions, but no actual solutions are being worked on. No shortage of consultant reports that reviewed all options. But in spite of this, no significant allocation of resources with a game plan to really set the ball rolling on any significant plan.
Every single broad plan that has come in the form of a document has defined that diversification of the economy would be wise and probably essential. But not one plan has been adopted and converted into a real serious effort to make it happen.
Most Caribbean islands claim to be doing future planning, but in actual practice the real activity only starts when a foreign investor shows an interest. Could it be that the lack of such foreign investment interest is the real reason for nothing much happening in Sint Maarten? Could it be that without such investor interest nothing much will happen? Could it even be that if nothing much happens by the time an investor does come, we will be so desperate for investment, we will accept any investor profile no matter what the long-term risks associated?
Almost all of the diversification options involve investment with a likely considerable lead time before benefit will accrue to the country. In order for them to succeed, it would require political will that would remain constant for the lead time required to achieve success. It would almost inevitably require sacrificing short-term projects that would provide immediate employment to current voting blocks. It would require a tax system that inspires confidence to the investor that it not only is competitive, but structured in a manner that is long term sustainable.
What is the likelihood of finding a political coalition that will commit (not just agree to how good a plan it is), allocate resources with the necessary sacrifices and stay in power long enough to ensure success of any essential significant diversification in Sint Maarten?

Robbie Ferron

Dear Queenie,

In some feedback you advise to contact marriage counsellors.‎

Queenie, could you assist with the contact info of those you have? Thanks.—Fan

Dear Fan,

I do not give out referrals. However, if it is marital counselling you want and you belong to a church, your pastor might be able to help you, or give you a referral.

Or you could get referrals from your family doctor or the Women’s Desk (Hope Estate Road #4, tel. 542-7940, fax 542-7941) or Safe Haven (office 9277, 24-hour hotline 9333, e-mail or

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