SON OF MP THEO HEYLIGER DIES IN
TRAGIC CAR ACCIDENT
POSTED: MAY 28, 2014
CUL DE SAC:--- Curtis Heyliger, son of Member of Parliament Theodore Heyliger who is also the leader of the United People's Party died in a tragic road accident that occurred around 4:30am.
Police Spokesman Ricardo Henson confirmed that young Heyliger succumbed to the injuries he sustained during the early morning accident. Henson said Curtis Heyliger was driving at extremely high speed on L.B. Scot Road and lost control of the vehicle which led him to hit into a concrete wall not far away from the "Dollar Store". The vehicle drove through the wall, destroyed a wooden structure (Gazebo) and hit a pick-up truck that was parked inside the property. Heyliger passed away on the spot, Henson said.
Curtis Heyliger is the oldest child for Member of Parliament Theodore Heyliger. The entire StMaarten.com/StMartin.com and Island 92 families send their condolences to the Heyliger family.
A FLOOD ADVISORY IS IN EFFECT FOR ST. MAARTEN FOR THE NEXT 48 HOURS.
POSTED MAY 9, 2014 AT 6:35 PM AST
A low level disturbance and favorable upper level conditions are producing high levels of moisture and instability across the Eastern Caribbean. As a result, cloudy to overcast skies and scattered showers with isolated thunderstorms has been observed over the island of St. Maarten during the last 24 hours.
Scattered showers are expected to continue for the next 48 hours. Consequently, these showers may lead to localized flooding in sections of the island. Residents are therefore urged to exercise caution. Motorists should proceed with caution when driving in flooded streets.
MAY is BIKE MONTH
Posted: May 9, 2014
May is Bike Month
May 1st kicked off the beginning of Bike Month. Bike month is celebrated in countries all over the world and is dedicated to promoting bicycling as a healthy, fun and viable form of transportation. Several events during the month of May will get people excited about bicycling and the benefits it provides for public health, traffic reduction, and our environment. Cycling instead of driving can improve your health by burning 400+ calories an hour, reducing stress, increasing energy levels, and elevating overall mood. Pledge to replace one car ride per week with a commute by bike and see where it will take you. All it takes is a ride to work or a quick trip to the grocery store to get you started.
In addition to promoting the bicycle as an alternative form of transportation the island’s month long celebration aims to increase cyclists’ safety through group rides, share the road education, promoting proper use of helmets, and teaching bicycle safety rules. Our goal is to make Sint Maarten a happier, healthier place by getting more people on bikes more often. To that end there are several headliner events scheduled for Bike Month:
§ Free Maintenance Classes – Bicycle mechanics will be giving basic maintenance and repair classes all month long. Learn about regular maintenance, how to change a flat, and adjust your brakes and gears. Registration required.
§ Pledge to Pedal – Replace one car trip a week by a commute by bicycle and see where it will take you. Like Tri Sport on Facebook, share our pledge to pedal picture on your page, and tell us how you’ll replace one car ride each week with a bike ride. We’ll be giving away great prizes to one lucky participant each week.
§ Free Ride the Road Classes - Learn how to safely share the road with cars. Our staff will explain the rules of the road, how to ride visibly and predictably and safety equipment. Registration Required, contact Tri-Sport if you would like to set-up a private class for your school or office.
§ Sign the Petition to Improve the Usability of our Streets - Learn how to safely share the road with cars. Our staff will explain the rules of the road, how to ride visibly and predictably and safety equipment. Registration Required, contact Tri-Sport if you would like to set-up a private class for your school or office.
§ Ladies Ride, May 17th - Get some fresh air, fun and fitness mixed into a great supportive atmosphere. This month’s Ladies Ride is a relatively flat and shorter ride designed to get women confident and comfortable riding on the road. If you want to start using your bike for transportation or fitness, join us for this ride. A limited number of rental bikes are available free of charge for this event, register early by e-mailing us. Departure is at 6:30 am from Tri-Sport in Simpson Bay.
§ Friendly Island Cycling Championship, May 18th - Part of the local bike race series.
§ Bike to School and Work Day is Friday, May 23 –On the morning of May 23rd pit stop stations, sponsored by Prime Distributors and Tri-Sport, will be located in Simpson Bay, Marigot and Philipsburg from 7-10am to provide free beverages, snacks, quick fixes, prizes and encouragement to everyone commuting to work or school by bicycle. There will also be a competition between schools to see which has the biggest percentage of their students and staff commute by bicycle. Organizers expect up to 500 participants. If you would like more information on the school commute challenge please complete this form. Check back soon for more information.
§ Xterra (run/bike race), May 25th- Competitors will both run and bike off-road on the Bellview trails during this friendly competition. The route it not technical and has been chosen specifically for even entry-level mountain bikers to be able to participate and have fun.
The list of events for Bike Month is continuing to grow as groups, organizations and companies continue to rally to make it a memorable time for the entire community. Please continue to visit Tri-Sport’s website on a regular basis for the most up-to-date information. If you would like to add an event, become a sponsor or volunteer please visit fill out the St. Martin / St. Maarten Bike Month Event Sponsor/Volunteer Form.
If you would like more information on Bike Month, would like to schedule an interview please call Tri-Sport at 545-4384 between 10-5 M-Sa or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Causeway Bridge NOW REOPENED
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, February 12, 2014
POINT BLANCHE, St. Maarten – Port of St. Maarten – The Simpson Bay Causeway is back in operation after experiencing a technical glitch before 4.00pm on Wednesday afternoon. Thereafter it was closed to motorized traffic and re-opened on Wednesday evening at 7.30pm for vehicular and marine traffic. Prior to re-opening, a test run was carried out.
The Causeway was closed Wednesday afternoon after experiencing technical difficulties. The bridge was closed in order to trouble shoot the problem. The problem arose due to a default of the electrical sensors. The relay was used to override the system. The technical matter is to be further investigated and the Causeway is still under guarantee for these types of eventualities.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mark Mingo of the St. Maarten Harbour Group of Companies apologizes to the general public and visitors for any inconvenience caused.
The Causeway once again demonstrates that the South side of the island has to have two road connections, and when one becomes impassable, the other one serves the purpose of keeping the Cole Bay area connected to the SimpsonBay/Airport/Cupecoy area. Whether it’s the Causeway or the Simpson Bay Bridge that may suffer a mechanical or technical challenge, when one is down, the aforementioned districts still remain connected.
The Simpson Bay Causeway falls under the Simpson BayLagoon Authority Corporation. The Lagoon Authority aims to ensure that Sint Maarten remains a top yachting destination in the Caribbean while ensuring a safe, secure, pollution free and environmentally sustainable Simpson BayLagoon. The Causeway is just one of several initiatives leading to the aforementioned.
Construction of the Causeway started early 2012 and was completed in December 2013; and was put into use onDecember 23 to help relieve traffic holiday season congestion in the Simpson Bay area.
The Causeway was officially inaugurated in January 2014. Construction was carried out by Volker Stevin Caribbean.
The Swing Bridge on the Causeway is 220 feet long and weighs 450 tons. The Causeway has a total length of 2493 feet and features a two-lane motorway, a bicycle track and footpaths.
The new Causeway has two round-a-bouts at the Airport Road near the end of the runway and at Union Road near the border. There are also two protected sidewalks for pedestrians and a bicycle track.
Causeway Official Opening Carried Live Online
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, January 23, 2014
POINT BLANCHE, St. Maarten – Port of St. Maarten – The Simpson Bay Causeway will be officially inaugurated on Saturday, 25 January at 5.00pm in a ceremony that will be carried live on the internet.
The website is: www.hostsxm.com
The St. Maarten Harbour Group of Companies Board of Directors and Management invite the community to follow the event live on the internet if they are not able to attend the public celebration on Saturday afternoon.
The Simpson Bay Causeway falls under the Simpson Bay Lagoon Authority Corporation. The Lagoon Authority aims to ensure that Sint Maarten remains a top yachting destination in the Caribbean while ensuring a safe, secure, pollution free and environmentally sustainable Simpson Bay Lagoon. The Causeway is just one of several initiatives leading to the aforementioned.
Construction of the Causeway started early 2012 and was completed in December 2013. Construction was carried out by Volker Stevin Caribbean.
The Swing Bridge on the Causeway is 220 feet long and weighs 450 tons. The Causeway has a total length of 2493 feet and features a two-lane motorway, a bicycle track and footpaths.
The Causeway was put into use on December 23 to help relieve traffic congestion in the Simpson Bay area.
The new Causeway has two round-a-bouts at the Airport Road near the end of the runway and at Union Road near the border. There are also two protected sidewalks for pedestrians and a bicycle track.
Emergency Fogging Continues
Emergency Mosquito fogging scheduled for Early Thursday Morning in Cay Hill and Belair; Residents asked to open doors and windows
GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – January 8, 2014 - An emergency fogging cycle will be carried out early Thursday morning in the district of Cay Hill and Belair in the country campaign to eliminate mosquito breeding sites, according to the Collective Preventive Services (CPS), a government agency under the Ministry of Public Health.
The emergency fogging is in connection with the country’s second confirmed case of Chikungunya of a resident residing in Cay Hill. The so-called “shantytown area in Cay Hill will also be fogged.
This notice is in particular for online media-evening newscast broadcast to inform the residents of the aforementioned areas who monitor these mediums that fogging will start at 5.00am weather permitting, and residents are being asked to open doors and windows. Those with respiratory problems should keep theirs closed.
Minister of Public Health, Social Development & Labour Hon. Cornelius de Weever and Dr. Karen Polson from the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) will be present to observe the fogging exercise at 6.30am on Thursday.
The fogging exercise is an effort by the Government in fighting mosquitoes that carry the Dengue and Chikungunya viruses, the latter, a dengue-like sickness.
Residents are strongly advised to continue to step up measures at homes and businesses to mitigate the rise in the viruses carried by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito.
Homeowners during the time of the spraying should open all doors and windows. Dishes, bowls, pots and pans, fish tanks and bird cages should be covered. Stay away from open windows and doors during the spraying.
An increase in the mosquito population puts all residents and businesses at risk. Call for information on the Aedes Aegypti mosquito breeding sites and respective preventive measures at 542-2078 or 542-3003 or email@example.com. Consult your physician to ensure proper diagnosis, registration, treatment and follow-up.
Water Shortage in Certain Districts
PHILIPSBURG - JANUARY 7, 2014 - Certain districts experienced water shortages on Monday, January 6, 2014. The water plant had an emergency shutdown for maintenance from 9 am to 6 pm. Low pressure or no water service was widely reported. No reason was provided for the shutdown and it is anticipated that services should be returning to normal at the time of this writing.
2014 Number Plates Available Starting Today
~ 31,259 plates imported, deadline Feb. 28 ~
FROM THE DAILY HERALD
PHILIPSBURG - JANUARY 7, 2014 - The 31,259 2014 number plates that arrived in the country on Friday will be ready for motorists to collect as of today, Tuesday, from 8:00am, when the Receiver's Office opens, Receiver Sherry Hazel said on Monday.
Staffers were busy Friday and over the weekend unpacking and sorting the plates to prepare them for motorists as soon as possible.
The deadline to pay motor vehicle tax as stipulated in the law is February 28. However, the Receiver can set the date for motor vehicle controls at a later date. Persons who fail to pay their 2014 motor vehicle tax by Friday, February 28, will lose the right to their numbers. As of March 1, 2014 plates that have not been paid for will be issued to other motor vehicle tax payers who do not yet have number plates. Valid insurance and inspection cards are needed for payment to be processed.
Of the 31,259 plates brought in, 30,259 are pairs for the various categories of motor vehicles and 1,000 are single plates for motorbikes.
The price for the number plates remains the same: NAf. 12.50 for all types of vehicles and NAf. 7.50 for motorbikes.
Motorists with number plates M, P, SXM, MR (ministers), PAR (Parliament) will pay NAf. 275 in motor vehicle tax for gasoline-operated vehicles and NAf. 750 for diesel fuel-operated ones.
Motorists with R plates will pay NAf. 300 for gasoline-operated vehicles and NAf. 750 for diesel fuel-operated vehicles.
Taxis, BUS, G (group) and T (tour buses with 35 passengers or less) will pay NAf. 275 for gasoline-operated vehicles and NAf. 550 for diesel fuel-operated vehicles.
Vehicles with V and Z plates that weigh more than 3,500kg will pay NAf. 1,250 for gasoline- or diesel fuel-operated vehicles. Vehicles with V plates that weigh less than 3,500kg will pay NAf. 275 for gasoline-operated vehicles and NAf. 750 for diesel fuel-operated vehicles.
Persons with MF (motorbike) plates will pay NAf. 200 and those with MF (mopeds) will pay NAf. 50 in motor vehicle tax.
In an effort to reduce lines at the Receiver's Office, Hazel is encouraging businesses to submit the information(valid insurance and inspection cards) of company vehicles, as well as that of their staffers, and a cheque with payment, to the department for processing. The information will be processed in bulk and can be collected at the Receiver's Office at a later date.
In addition to the Receiver's Office in Philipsburg, motor vehicle tax payment can be made at the Public ServiceCentre located in the Fish Market complex in Simpson Bay. Clients have the option to either collect their plates two days later at the Public Service Centre or collect their plates in Philipsburg. The preference should be indicated to the clerk at the Public Service Centre.
Payment also can be made via Windward Islands Bank (WIB) account numbers: NAf. 32480003 or US 32480005. Persons paying via the bank have to wait two days before they can collect their number plates. These persons should walk with their valid insurance and inspection cards and proof of payment to collect number plates.
Extended opening hours
To facilitate the payment, the Receiver's Division will extend its opening hours from Monday, January 27, to Friday, February 7, from 8:00am to 6:00pm. It will also open on Saturday, February 1, and February 8, from 9:00am to 2:00pm; from Monday, February 24, to Friday, February 28, from 8:00am to 6:00 pm; and on Saturday, March 1, from 9:00am to 2:00pm.
Fire Destroys Shops and Homes in Philipsburg
FROM THE DAILY HERALD
PHILIPSBURG - JANUARY 2, 2014 - A row of buildings was destroyed by a fire yesterday, Wednesday, January 1, on Tamarindsteeg between Front Street and Back Street. No one was injured, but around nine people, including three children, lost their homes with all their possessions, and two shops were lost.
A number of surrounding buildings sustained damage. It is believed the buildings lost were wooden structures,which allowed the fire to spread quickly.
The fire started around 11:30am and a witness called the police. The police were on the scene and alerted the Fire Department. They evacuated the buildings affected by the fire, as well as the surrounding buildings. The cause of the fire is not yet known, but local residents said they believed it started due to an electrical fault.
Paramedics were called to the scene, as a couple of people were reported to be in shock, but no one had to be taken to hospital. GEBE checked on the electricity.
The two businesses destroyed were a hair salon and a tailor shop. Geraldo Daniel, the owner of the tailor shop, was asleep in his store, which is also where he lives. Daniel visibly was affected and had tears in his eyes. He only woke up because he needed the bathroom. "That's when I saw the smoke," he said. "I went outside and I'm lucky to be alive, but I have lost everything I own."
Ramon Perez lived in one of the destroyed apartments. "I lived there with my mother, my sister, my niece and my nephew. The children are 1½ and six years old. We have lost everything. Where will we sleep now? Probably at a friend's house. We have lost everything, just like our neighbours. They are a couple with a two-year-old child."
Two fire trucks and other fire vehicles were on the scene. A large number of police officers were present to contain the scene and divert the traffic.
Four properties have been confirmed to be completely destroyed: the tailor shop, a hair salon and two apartment buildings. However, surrounding buildings also sustained damage and it is possible that more properties may have become uninhabitable and/or have to be destroyed as a result of the fire.
Sentence Commuted - King
Murder Trial Appeal
FROM THE DAILY HERALD
~ Suspects get 30, 25 and 18 years ~
PHILIPSBURG - DECEMBER 31, 2013 - Similar to its decisions in the appeals in the Regatta murder and Vesuvius appeals, the Joint Court of Justice on Monday also commuted the life sentence of main suspect Meyshane Kemar Johnson (30) in the murders of US nationals Michael and Thelma King.
The Joint Court decided to sentence Johnson to thirty years instead. Co-suspects Jamal Jefferson Woolford (22) and Jeremiah Chevon Mills (19) received 18 and 25 years respectively.
These sentences were considerably lower than those meted out on May 8 by the Court of First Instance, which had sentenced Woolford to 22 years and Mills to 28.
The Joint Court stated that life sentences were to be imposed "with restraint," especially considering that in that case Johnson would most likely have to spend the rest of his life in jail.
Commuting Johnson's sentence to 30 years, the three Appeals Court judges also took into account that he had no previous criminal record, and that the crimes were committed within a timeframe of several hours, and that, therefore, no pattern of violent behaviour existed.
All three men were found guilty of armed burglary with violence causing the deaths of the American couple, of deprivation of liberty of Thelma King, of armed robbery at Happy Star restaurant and of laundering the proceeds of their criminal endeavours.
The Court of First Instance had also convicted Johnson of the murders of Michael and Thelma King. Mills was found guilty of being an accessory to the murder of Michael King, while both Woolford and Mills were considered accomplices to the murders.
On September 19, 2012, the three had robbed Happy Star, armed with BB guns, which looked like genuine firearms. Two of the men entered the restaurant, terrorised staff and customers, took money and left in a getaway vehicle, driven by the third man. They were chased and shot at by the police, but managed to get away.
They made their way to Cupecoy, where they came up with a plan to break into a house. They found themselves on Ocean Drive, where they found a house that still had lights on. Making their way inside, they found Michael King asleep on the sofa. He was woken up and threatened with a BB gun. One of the men asked him where the money was. King was punched in the stomach and held in a headlock, while the other two robbers went upstairs to the safe.
Thelma King was upstairs asleep in bed. She was forced to open the safe and to hand over jewellery. She was then brought downstairs, forced to sit on a chair and tied up and gagged.
Both victims had their throats cut and were left to die whilst the suspects left in possession of their money, credit cards and other property.
The Joint Court considered it proven that Johnson had deliberately killed the Kings. He had cut Michael King's throat, despite Woolford's calls not to do it, and had also slit Thelma King's throat with two powerful cuts. Johnson said he had done this because he had the feeling she would otherwise have severely suffered from her husband's death.
The Court said the three defendants were all guilty of "multiple and increasingly serious and escalating violence," which resulted in the "very violent and gruesome" murder of the Kings.
The Appeals Court agreed with psychiatric and psychological experts that although there were indications that Johnson was suffering of mental disorders, there were no grounds to hold him less accountable.
Mills was acquitted of being an accomplice or accessory to the murder or manslaughter of Thelma King for lack of evidence. According to Mills he had tied up the woman to prevent her from calling the police, after which he had left the building with money and other properties.
Johnson had confirmed that Mills had left the house after he had cut Michael King's throat, but that Thelma was still alive at that moment.
Mills' lawyer Shaira Bommel had objected to Johnson's statements, calling these "unreliable" and "untrustworthy," but the Court admitted the evidence, stating that Johnson had provided the police with a detailed statement, which not just incriminated his fellow-suspects but also himself.
The Court found it proven that Mills had been directly involved with the killing of Michael King. After the knife with which King was stabbed in his back was broken, Mills had taken another knife from the kitchen and had given it to Johnson. With this knife Johnson had stabbed King several times in his neck.
Mills was held fully accountable for these crimes, despite traits of an anti-social personality and his dependency on alcohol, marijuana and ecstasy.
Woolford was acquitted of involvement in both murders. According to the Joint Court there was no evidence he had had the intention to kill.
Woolford had told the police he had left the house after tying Thelma King's "eyes and mouth." He had also told Johnson not to cut her husband's throat, after he saw him making a move as if he wanted to cut Michael King's throat. Woolford left when Johnson stabbed after all.
Despite the objections of attorney Safira Ibrahim, Woolford was found guilty of theft with violence which had led to the couple's death. The Court found it proven that Woolford had contributed to the violence in punching Michael King's stomach, in threatening with a BB gun and in tying up Thelma King.
Experts established anti-social personality traits and dependency on drugs and alcohol, but also held Woolford fully accountable for his acts.
Members of the King's family and friends were present to hear the verdicts. Mills clearly was unhappy with the Court's decision in his case. He left the courtroom with a loud bang, slapping his flat hand with force against the door. The suspects have two weeks' time to file for a final appeal with the High Court in The Hague.
Public Fireworks Displays on New Year's
GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – December 30, 2013 - The Fire Department that falls under the Ministry of General Affairs announces that there will be two public fireworks displays on January 1st at 12.00 midnight. These will take place in Great Bay and at Maho. The safest way to enjoy fireworks according to the Fire Department is to attend a public display conducted by trained professionals.
The Fire Department granted a permit to Firefly Fireworks to import, transport and sell consumer fireworks. The sales commenced on December 29 and will continue until December 31.
Simpson Bay Causeway OPENS
FROM THE DAILY HERALD
SIMPSON BAY - DECEMBER 24, 2013 -The rain held up just long enough on Monday afternoon to allow Minister of Infrastructure Maurice Lake to officially open the Simpson Bay causeway. In just under two years, contractor Volker Stevin delivered a project envisioned by Member of Parliament and leader of the United People (UP) party Theo Heyliger as a key road link to alleviate traffic in the area.
Heyliger was present on Monday along with representatives of the traffic department of the St. Maarten Police Force, representatives of the contractor and sub-contractors and members of Lake's cabinet.
After a final inspection by all involved, Minister Lake moved a road barrier and motorists immediately started using the causeway. There was no pomp or speeches to signal what is being called a soft opening of the causeway.
The causeway, now St. Maarten's newest landmark, spans 760 metres, supports two traffic lanes with walkways on both sides with protective barriers. There is a swing bridge at its centre and it can also accommodate heavy equipment and vehicles.
Motorists connect to the causeway via two roundabouts, one on Union Road, Cole Bay, and the other just off the airport road.
Minister Lake said that due to the tourist high season and holiday shoppers, there has been a noticeable increase in traffic activity over the past two weeks. "The causeway was built as part of the vision for the country's road network to alleviate traffic congestion and to also have an alternative route in the event the Simpson Bay bridge was to have a mechanical problem," he said.
"Much has been said about 'the bridge to nowhere,' about the 'height of the causeway,' 'sinking of the bridge,' and that the opening of the causeway has been delayed for political reasons. Total nonsense, things have to be done in the right way before the causeway can be officially put into use.
"Justice and VROMI are required to go over all the traffic procedures prior to the opening just in case there is an emergency. Traffic signs and everything else has to be in the required position. Please note the final lighting and landscaping is not complete in addition to other areas. Workers will still be working during this soft opening stage. We will not do things in an ad hoc manner like the previous administration has done and made a mess of things," Lake said on Monday.
Minister Lake said the revitalization of the country's infrastructure has his full attention. "Country St. Maarten has to have infrastructure that is up to par that allows various forms of transportation to move safely along from point A to B. It's all about going back to basics. I would like to see the widening of Link 4 which is the so-called Cake House Road that connects Cole Bay to Cay Hill and vice versa. Making this road a two-way road would also further enhance unhindered flow of traffic."
He continued: "Link 4 requires safety railings and this was never given a priority under the previous administration. Nothing was done for the entire year with the already approved upgrade of Union Road and Cake House Road to ease the traffic flow coming from the bridge. Instead, the people were given tunnel vision. The Union Road was also never upgraded to accommodate the causeway, but there is light at the end of the Simpson Bay causeway come Monday, 23rd December for the people and visitors of this country," Lake said, adding he will work hard to get Link 4 up and running and to make it a two way road to ease the traffic flow.
TAKEN BY ST. MAARTEN TO
CONTAIN CHIKUNGUNYA VIRUS
St. Maarten/St. Martin Remains Safe for Travelers
PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - Dec. 21, 2013 – Precautionary measures have been initiated by the Dutch country of St. Maarten to mitigate the mosquito population on island as a result of several cases of the Chikungunya virus being reported in St. Martin.
The Health and Tourism Ministries are working closely with the French Side authorities of the island to eliminate the risk. Preventative measures have included emergency mosquito fogging both near the Dutch/French border and throughout the entire island. The Minister of Public Health Hon. Cornelius de Weever is also encouraging residents on island to take action by removing potential mosquito breeding spots around their premises on a daily basis.
Additional interventions include training of the Ministry of Public Health Vector Control Team, placing physicians on alert, increasing public health surveillance for Chikungunya, yard-to-yard inspections, daily public announcements are being made, cautionary banners and posters are being placed in public locations to notify the residents and visitors at large on the preventative measures to be taken.
The Government authorities are adhering to the guidelines and regulations of the WHO, PAHO, RIVM & CDC to prevent the spreading of this disease and protect the residents and visitors of this island.
Hon. Minister of Tourism and Transportation (with responsible for the airport and port) Mr. Ted. Richards has also join in the Chikungunya prevention campaign, by requesting the Tourism sector partners, especially both ports of entry to be vigilant and alert in protecting their employees and guests/visitors to the island.
“We are asking all taxi /bus drivers, restaurants, properties, car rentals agencies, stores and attractions to have mosquito repellent readily available in their establishments for their guests, particularly during dawn & dusk” periods.
“It is safe to travel to St. Maarten/St. Martin and we do encourage our visitors to come to the island. While on the island, visitors can help protect themselves by using mosquito repellent on hands, face, feet (parts of the body that are exposed), wear long sleeves shirts and pants/skirts especially during the high risks times (dawn & dust). Preventative posters will be placed at both ports of entry and providing information to our visitors.
St. Maarten's Ministry of Public Health has been actively engaging with the public since 2012 to reduce the risk of these outbreaks with Hon. Cornelius de Weever's "Get Checked" campaign, which encourages residents and businesses to check in and around their establishments to reduce breeding sites.
Special pre-cautionary measures are undertaken in collaboration with French St. Martin, given the fact that they have been placed on a Level:1 Watch by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the lowest notice level by the agency, which advises travelers to the destination to follow usual insect precautions.
Chikungunya is an illness caused by a virus that spreads through mosquito bites. The most common symptoms of Chikungunya are fever and joint pain. Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling or rash.
EIGHT CRUISE SHIPS IN
PORT ON WEDNESDAY
POINT BLANCHE, St. Maarten – Port of St. Maarten – December 16, 2013 - The Port of St. Maarten is ready to welcome eight cruise ships on Wednesday, 18th December. It will be one of the highlights of the 2013-2014 cruise ship season, and the only day that will see more than 22.000 passengers in port at one time.
The Port of St. Maarten has been working with a number of stakeholders in order to make the one-day stay of cruise passengers and crew a memorable one.
A number of activities have been organized for Wednesday at the port that includes holiday season caroling by various groups, music, dancing along with a live broadcast by Radio Station 104.3 FM.
St. Maarten Harbour Group of Companies Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mark Mingo is appealing to the community to assist as they have always done in the past to provide a holiday season welcome to the country’s cruise guests.
“Cruise tourism is what makes our country tick. It is a very important segment of our economy and we have to do everything to protect it and safeguard our visitors in order for them and the cruise lines to continue to visit our destination.
“It’s the holiday season and it’s going to be busy in Philipsburg, on our beaches, restaurants and wherever you go. Please be patient and courteous, and enjoy our guests and give them a grand St. Maarten welcome, so at the end of the day when they reflect and look back at the great time they had, they will say I will be coming back for the St. Maarten hospitality,” CEO Mingo said on Monday.
Mingo would like to thank all involved in advance for their assistance and planning for this great day including the emergency and security services, adding that the safety and security of the cruise passengers and crew is a top priority for the destination in order to safeguard the livelihood of all those who are dependent on tourism.
Telecommunication provider Telem on that day will launch the cruise ship crew WIFI lounge where hi-speed internet service will be available. Crew members are seen as an important group that should also be catered too by the destination because they also have a considerable spending power while in port.
The ships that will be in port are: Carnival Dream 3652 cruise passengers; Celebrity Reflection 3030; Crystal Serenity 1096; Norwegian Gem 2466; Norwegian Sun 2250; Oasis of the Seas 5400; Ventura 3100; Westerdam 1848.
The last time that the Port of St. Maarten catered to such a large gathering of cruise passengers was back in 2005 with nine ships in port and over 18,000 cruise passengers.
BLUE MALL NOW OPEN
FROM THE DAILY HERALD
By Judy H. Fitzpatrick
CUPECOY - DECEMBER 16, 2013 - Three years after its first targeted opening, the multimillion-dollar nine-level Blue Mall officially opened its doors in grand style to a cross-section of the community on Saturday evening.
The scores of guests who witnessed the blessing and ribbon cutting on the lower level were taken on a tour of the facility's five shopping floors and then led into a section of the upper floor that had been transformed into a disco-like atmosphere with lights and an array of delicacies and beverages. A number of performers entertained guests live on stage.
There was a strong security presence throughout the mall as well as living statues on all floors, adding a special touch of class to the ceremony.
"We are finally open," Fondo de Valores Immobiliarios (FVI) President Luis Emilio Velutini told The Daily Herald during the ceremony. FVI operates Blue Mall. Velutini said there had been some unfortunate challenges during the construction phase and some difficulties attracting top brands here due to the worldwide economic crisis, but noted that the mall was here to serve the people of St. Maarten for the long run.
"They [the brands – Ed.] believe now in the island and we hope that the mall brings new life to the island," he said. "The people believe in us and I am very glad and happy. We bring to the island our experience, we bring brands that have never been on the island and we are not just thinking about tourists, we are also thinking of the local people. And after this opening, all the local people will have a place to come and a place to purchase a lot of things that they had to go off-island to buy."
Many of the stores are open and more than 60 per cent of the luxury condos have been sold. Some stores have been open and serving the community for some months already.
Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams told guests in brief remarks that the opening of the mall proved the resilience of the developers and, in particular, of Velutini and of St. Maarten. She also said the opening was happening at a time when St. Maarten was looking at 2014 and beyond with "a lot of confidence and hope." She said Blue Mall had "contributed in no small way in that confidence and that hope."
She thanked the developers for their investment, work and effort in St. Maarten. "Thanks for bringing to St. Maarten some of the names and brands that we used to be accustomed to so that we can see St. Maarten climbing again to be a part of that upscale market that we were used to."
President of the Collectivité of St. Martin Aline Hanson said she was happy to see that the mall was finally open. She said it was a pleasure to have some of the top brands available here that many residents usually travelled to Puerto Rico or Miami, Florida, to purchase. She expressed hope that the opening of the facility would create job opportunities for youngsters on the island, as there are many young people without jobs.
The economy of St. Martin, she added, has "never been so bad," noting that when the euro was high, "we suffer." Many persons from French St. Martin, Guadeloupe and Martinique visit St. Maarten to shop, which, she said, is good for the economy in Dutch St. Maarten.
Blue Mall is recognised as the largest shopping mall in St. Maarten. The mall's nine levels include five levels of commercial and business space, and four residential levels with 37 luxury one-, two- and three-bedroom suites.
Brands at the mall include Kiton, La Perla, Cortefiel, Bimba & Lola, Planeta Sports, Balu Accessories, Crocs, Swatch, Pylones, Villa Pizza, Yogen Fruz, Atypique, Nature's Best, Brioni, Opera, Swarovski, Adidas, Zippy, Enjoy SXM, Bexclusive, Parrot's Deli Café, Wetzel's Pretzel's, Battlefield Sports, Bacchus, Paul and Shark, Dunhill, SuiteBlanco, Guess, Women's Secret, Desigual, Quiksilver, Everlast, Fashion & Chic, Avecolor, Shake n' Twist, 7D Cinema and Nature's Juice. Blue Mall is located at 162 Rhine Road, Cupecoy.
NEW RULES FOR IMPORTING PETS TO ST.
GREAT BAY, ST. MAARTEN – DECEMBER 15, 2013 - In order to protect the country’s borders from the invasion of diseases and pests that could negatively affect the animal population, the Inspection Department TEZVT - Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (LVV) informs that increased control and enforcement activities in relation to the import of animals are being taken at the ports of entry.
Airline companies and locally established veterinary practices have been notified that there are existing laws and regulations in place that govern the importation of animals or persons traveling with pets.
A permit is required for all animals entering the country for a temporary visit, animals in transit through Sint Maarten on their way to another destination, and for animals entering the country permanently. The permit documentation includes the presentation of a health certificate issued by the national veterinary authority of the exporting country.
Together with the Customs Department, TEZVT-LVV has increased controls and enforcement of the existing country laws in this area and seeks the cooperation of all concerned in order to mitigate risks associated with animal diseases that can be transmitted to humans and local animal populations.
The Department is aware that a lot of animals are imported on a weekly basis by air, and the existing laws of the land establishes requirements for all animals entering Sint Maarten including domestic pets.
According to national laws, responsibility is placed on airlines where quarantine and repatriation is concerned with all associated costs borne by the carrier.
TEZVT-LVV has also been in contact with the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the trade association for the world’s airlines in connection with the country’s requirements regarding this subject.
TEZVT-LVV has received positive feedback from visitors who travel with their pets to the country with what is required by the Department in order to facilitate such a visit. Compliance from this group has been very positive.
The Inspection Department TEZVT is the Government agency responsible for supervising veterinary practices in the country. A reporting system has been put in place between the entities concerned and is working well. The Department was informed that due to lack of controls and or application of the relevant laws years ago Canine Distemper, a viral disease that affects animals was able to enter the island.
For further information and to request permits, you can visit The Inspection Department TEZVT-LVV at Cannegieter Street (next to the Sister Borgia School) in Philipsburg or call 520-7213 or firstname.lastname@example.org
King Murder Appeal Begins
FROM THE DAILY HERALD
PHILIPSBURG - DECEMBER 13, 2013 - "Gruesome," "heartless" and "cruel" were terms used in court on Thursday. Family and friends of murdered Michael and Thelma King were forced to relive the details as the Joint Court heard an appeal in the cases of Meyshane Kemar Johnson (30) of Jamaica, Jamal Jefferson Woolford (22) of Guyana and Jeremiah Mills (19) of St. Maarten.
Johnson, who had no previous criminal record, is serving life imprisonment.
Mills, who had been in prison before, received 28 years.
Woolford, who also had a clean record, received 22 years after being found guilty by the Court of First Instance of an armed burglary with violence causing the deaths of American couple Michael and Thelma King, and an armed robbery at Chinese restaurant Happy Star.
The three men had committed the robbery at Happy Star Restaurant on September 19, 2012, armed with BB guns that to members of the public looked like genuine firearms. Two of the men entered the restaurant, terrorised staff and customers inside, took money and left in a getaway vehicle driven by the third man. They were chased and shot at by the police, but managed to escape.
They made their way to Cupecoy, where they came up with a plan to break into a house. They found themselves on Ocean Drive where they found a house that still had lights on. Making their way inside, they found Michael King asleep on the sofa. He was woken up and threatened with the BB gun. One of the men asked him where the money was. When King replied, "What money?" he was punched in the stomach.
Whilst one of the men held King in a headlock, the other two went upstairs to the safe. King had asked them, "Please don't hurt my wife." Thelma King was upstairs asleep in bed. She was forced to open the safe and to hand over jewellery.
She then was brought downstairs, forced to sit on a chair, tied up and gagged. Both victims' throats were cut and they were left to die whilst the suspects left in possession of their money, credit cards and property. After committing the offences the robbers spent part of the money in a brothel.
The convicts had appealed the verdict of the Court of First Instance, which convicted them of six offences: armed robbery at Happy Star; theft with violence with death as a consequence; false imprisonment of Thelma King; laundering money; and, most serious, the murders of Michael and Thelma King (Johnson), co-perpetrating in the murder of Michael King (Mills) and complicity in the murder of Michael and Thelma King (Woolford and Mills).
The Appeal Court saw the judge asking the men on what grounds they were appealing their sentences. Johnson muttered an unclear sentence and had to repeat himself several times before making it understood that he believed there had been an irregularity with paperwork and he did not agree with being given a life sentence.
Mills stated he was a parent of a young daughter. His own parents are sickly and there is no one to take care of his mother. He said "I can't be sentenced to 28 years for a crime I didn't commit. That isn't, let's say, sick."
Woolford said: "It's been a year since I've been sent down. I've been rehabilitated. I have a young daughter. It's not fair I'm in prison for something I didn't do."
When Johnson was told to recap his version of event, he stated that he could not remember. This matched with his behaviour in the Court of First Instance. He then also said he remembered nothing of that night. When the judge pressed him for answers, he replied: "You want a story? I don't have a story, sorry."
However, Johnson initially had given a detailed statement to the police admitting the offences and implicating the other two suspects. Johnson stated that Mills had hit Michael King with a fire extinguisher and that Mills had handed him the second of two knives with which he had stabbed Michael King. He said both Mills and Woolford had been present throughout the time of the offences.
Mills was more forthcoming, admitting to the robbery at Happy Star and holding a BB gun against a customer's head. He recalled "almost being shot" by police. He stated that he had used marijuana and needed more money than what he had obtained in the robbery. He went to a casino. When this did not have the desired result, he and the two other men decided to break into a house. Mills remembered going into the house.
However, Mills' account to the Court from that point varied greatly from the statement he had given to the police and the account he had given to the Court of First Instance. In appeal he stated he did not remember seeing Johnson in possession of a knife.
Mills denied any involvement in the killings of the Kings. He admitted tying up Thelma King, giving as a reason that he had not wanted to end up back in court. He said he had walked out after tying up his victim and had left with the property he had taken. He said he could not recall anything after that. He denied hitting Michael King with the fire extinguisher. Mills stated: "I don't remember anyone dying in my presence."
Woolford also stated that he never had seen a knife, but had seen a "shiny object." He admitted blindfolding Thelma King and stated that this had been so that they could leave the house. He had said in a previous statement that he had seen a knife. He also had said he had seen Mills with the fire extinguisher, which he denied in the appeal.
Woolford said he could not remember if he had been the first to leave the house and it appeared his memories of the offence also had become more unclear since his initial account. When asked about the discrepancies he said: "Those are mistakes they made in the statement."
Two of the judges questioned the three men, challenging the loss of memories and the changed statements. One of the judges asked how this was possible, as the initial statements, which all matched those of the other suspects, as well as forensic evidence and other crime scene evidence. No account was given.
Johnson became increasingly strange in manner throughout the appeal. At one point he started to make remarks about angels and in the Court of First Instance he had reported seeing frogs in the courtroom. He had been subjected to a number of separate psychiatric and psychological examinations, but it had been found that there was no evidence of mental illness and he could be held fully accountable.
It was mentioned though that the psychologist had not been able to determine if Johnson's apparent memory loss was due to suppression or was simulated. A significant detail brought up by his solicitor was the fact that Johnson, as a child, had lost his own father in an armed robbery with his father's throat having been cut in a manner similar to that inflicted on his victims.
Both the prosecutor in presenting his case and Johnson's lawyer in his defence focused on the legality of life sentencing. The prosecutor recognised the fact that the Joint Court had determined in the so-called Regatta Cases that life sentencing was opposed to article 3 of the European Treaty for Human Rights and against state regulations because there is insufficient possibility for review with a prospect of release.
The prosecutor focused on the fact that a pardon could be given in certain circumstances and therefore it could not be said that release from a life sentence was a complete impossibility; because a pardon is a possibility in St. Maarten, even if it is a remote one, a life sentence would no longer be contrary to article 3 of the Human Rights Treaty.
The prosecutor stated there also was a further possibility to discuss the continuance of a life sentence through a civil procedure where a civil judge could order the release if he believed legitimate penal grounds for continued imprisonment no longer existed. This would be a second tool for convicts to have a life sentence shortened.
Johnson's lawyer challenged the legality of his life sentence and brought up irregularities in the summonses sent to her client, some of which appeared to have been sent outside of a legal deadline. She requested that his sentence be reversed due to those irregularities, on the same grounds that his appeal would have been refused if he had submitted it a day late.
She said: "I'm not defending my client's action. I'm just applying the law." She further mentioned that Johnson had been beaten by officers after his arrest, an incident that is under police investigation.
The other two men's lawyers focussed on their clients' innocence regarding certain parts the case, whilst acknowledging the seriousness of