Grid List

PHILIPSBURG--Finance Minister Richard Gibson Sr. will be back in Parliament on Monday at 2:00pm to present the draft 2017 budget for approval. The budget will pass into law once approved by Parliament. However, it will still need the stamp of approval from the Committee for Financial Supervision CFT.

THE HAGUE--This week’s symposium on Caribbean coral reefs at the Royal Palace on the Dam in Amsterdam has raised questions by Member of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament André Bosman of the liberal democratic VVD party.

Caretaker Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure VROMI Angel Meyers told Parliament all discussions with the French side on a joint sewage plant in the Cole Bay area have been suspended due to the recent “aggressive move” at Oyster Pond (see Friday paper). Excuse us, but really?

The actions by French authorities targeting Captain Oliver’s Marina at the time may indeed have been way over the top and perhaps in violation of an agreement to maintain the “status quo” pending negotiations on the border involving the Netherlands and France. Not everyone supported the subsequent boycott of the official St. Martin/St. Maarten Day celebrations in French Quarter by Prime Minister William Marlin and others either, but it was at least an understandable response.

However, the sewage facility has absolutely nothing to do with that issue. What’s more, the need for such a plant is probably greatest on the Dutch side, where far too much untreated wastewater currently ends up polluting Simpson Bay Lagoon.

Perhaps most important, it’s a project funded by the European Development Fund (EDF). One can only imagine the reaction among officials and consultants who have been working on the plans for several years.

Apparently three million euros was earmarked for the plant and another seven million for the connecting sewage lines in Cole Bay. Reallocation of the latter amount for different purposes is now reportedly being looked at, but one has to wonder if that’s even possible, let alone wise.

True, there have been problems with the first two proposed locations for the plant on artificial islands in the lagoon near Tropicana Casino or the causeway. The latest idea was to instead acquire a suitable plot of already existing land, but seemingly all of that is now up in the air.

The latter would be highly regrettable, because the need to do something about the sewage problem there is obvious and becoming increasingly urgent by the day. Frictions between authorities should never be used as an excuse or justification not to do what is clearly in the best interest of the island’s population as a whole.

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.

KINGSTON, Jamaica--It’s that time of year often said to be for children. But for thousands of Jamaican children who are wards of the State, it won’t be as merry a Christmas as it will be for others.

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 ~

NEW YORK/LONDON--Rupert Murdoch's Twenty-First Century Fox Inc has struck a preliminary deal to buy the 61 percent of British pay-TV firm Sky Plc it does not already own for around $14 billion, five years after a political scandal wrecked a previous bid.

NEW YORK--Coca-Cola Co said on Friday that Muhtar Kent would step aside as chief executive next year and be replaced by James Quincey, a company veteran credited with several recent changes to help the company cut its dependence on sugary drinks.

NEW YORK--Madonna was presented on Friday with Billboard magazine's Woman of the Year award, but the seven-time Grammy Award winner said one of her biggest challenges was being a good mother.

DALLAS, Texas--Actor Judge Reinhold was released from a Dallas jail on Thursday night following his arrest for causing a disturbance at a local airport after refusing to be screened at a security checkpoint, police said on Friday.

WASHINGTON--U.S. President Barack Obama has ordered intelligence agencies to review cyber attacks and foreign intervention into the 2016 election and deliver a report before he leaves office on Jan. 20, the White House said on Friday.

WASHINGTON--The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed a compromise version of an annual defense policy bill on Thursday without controversial provisions such as requiring women to register for the draft or allowing contractors to make religion-based hiring decisions.

SEOUL--South Korean lawmakers voted overwhelmingly on Friday to impeach President Park Geun-hye over an influence-peddling scandal, setting the stage for her to become the country's first elected leader to be expelled from office in disgrace.

PARIS--IMF chief Christine Lagarde goes on trial on Monday for her role in a 400 million euro ($425 million) state payout to businessman Bernard Tapie in 2008 when she was France's finance minister.

CUL DE SAC--The Motorworld Twenty20 final is set to bowl off tomorrow at 1:00pm at the Caribe Lumber Ballpark. Caribbean General Contractors (CGC) Spartanz is the only team that has booked a place in the final.

LONDON-- More than 1,000 Russian competitors across more than 30 sports were involved in an institutional conspiracy to conceal positive drug tests as Moscow "hijacked international sport" over the course of five years, an independent WADA report said on Friday.

Dear Editor,

I have taken note of the response to my article in the media regarding the telecommunications situation in Statia by Gerald Berkel of GEM Enterprises. It is very unfortunate that the impression is given that it is meant as an attack on this local company and his agency for UTS/Chippy.

After re-reading it, I have come to the conclusion that I could have chosen my words more carefully. I hereby sincerely apologize for this. It should be known that I have always held Berkel in high esteem, and have supported him as governor until the very end. I do applaud his entrepreneurial spirit and his courage to start his own enterprise.

The aim of my article was to address the manner in which our government, in my opinion, is dealing with the interest of the people of Statia, and that of our local telephone company EUTEL. I believe that as an island council member, it is my duty to do so. The way government is handling the matter is depriving our people and our businesses from better quality Internet, mobile and cable services, and the possibility of paying less for these services.

It is also depriving our island from new opportunities for economic development that are so much needed. And at the same time, it has resulted in a decline of revenue for our local telephone company, which may even endanger its existence. Berkel rightfully points out the 7 jobs he has created with his initiative, and he stands to protect these jobs. The same, however, also counts for EUTEL, where there are also 7 jobs at stake.

As an island council member, it is my duty to stand up for those jobs as well. Berkel rightfully stands up for the interest of GEM Enterprises. As an island council member, it is my duty to stand up for local initiative, but also for our local government-owned company EUTEL.

Koos Sneek

Dear Queenie,

I have a friend who is always complaining about her appearance – she’s too fat, she’s too short, her hair is a mess, whatever.

Queenie, what’s the best way to respond to such remarks?—Worried friend

Dear Friend,

There is no point in lying about such things. If your friend really is overweight, for example, her mirror is telling her the truth and nothing you say can change it.

However, surely there is something else about her that you can compliment – she has good posture, her hair is a lovely colour, she has a beautiful complexion, she dresses well, whatever.

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