Friday, Oct 31st

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Police: Killers ‘cause damage to country’

~ Shooting victim identified ~

COLE BAY--A man shot dead in Cole Bay on Monday night was named by the police as Jean-No Sanon (26). He was known locally as Jano. Sanon, was the eleventh murder victim of 2014 in St. Maarten, which already saw eight more victims than the total of three in 2013.

The Daily Herald reported in yesterday's paper that the victim had died after being shot to death on Waterfront Road in Cole Bay just after 8:00pm on Monday, after having been shot once in the head.

A press release sent out by the police on Tuesday, details how on Monday October 27 around 8:15pm, police patrols, detectives and paramedics were sent to Waterfront road to investigate the shooting.

"According to witnesses in the area, they heard a loud noise on the street, which sounded like a gunshot. When they looked outside they saw a man lying face down on the ground in front of an apartment building on that same street. They also noticed that the man in question was bleeding," police spokesman Inspector Henson stated in the press release.

"On the scene, the investigating officers encountered the man lying on the ground, who was not showing any signs of life. The victim was shot," the release continued.

The scene was closed off so that the Forensic Department could collect evidence. Doctor Douglas pronounced the death of the victim at the scene. "It is still unclear exactly what took place and who is responsible for this criminal act," Henson stated. "Detectives are busy questioning potential witnesses and gathering other information to piece together what transpired. The body of the victim has been confiscated for further investigation and transported to a morgue. The investigation is ongoing."

Henson showed disappointment in this latest death involving firearms, despite hard work of the police to remove illegal firearms from the streets. "Despite the fact that the police is working hard on the Stop, Drop & Go campaign, some people are continuing their criminal activities. The damage that these people cause to the image of St. Maarten is tremendous. The damage they cause is not just to the victim and his family, or even to themselves. They cause damage to the entire country," Henson stated.

The police department is asking anyone in the community who may have information that could shed some light on this case to come forward, either by contacting the police station, or by calling the anonymous tip line on #9300.

Island Council adopts new referendum ordinance

ST. EUSTATIUS--The Island Council of St. Eustatius adopted a new referendum ordinance during Friday's meeting in which it was decided to hold a referendum on the island's constitutional status on December 17.

The options to be submitted to voters will be: public entity; independent country; autonomous territory within the Kingdom; and integrated territory of the Netherlands.

The referendum ordinance that forms the legal basis of all these decisions and of all the actions taken as part of the entire preparation process of the constitutional referendum up until now was revoked.

Instead, a new ordinance was approved to replace the original one. The new ordinance explicitly states that the result of a referendum is not binding. Also, it increases the threshold for the validity of the outcome of a constitutional referendum to 75 per cent of the electorate.

Bosman: Council of State members are out of place

THE HAGUE--Member of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament André Bosman of the liberal democratic VVD party is highly critical of the legal objections expressed by Members of the Council of State for the Kingdom to the instruction that the Kingdom Council of Ministers gave to Aruba in July this year. Bosman deemed their position "highly inappropriate."

The Antilliaans Dagblad newspaper on Tuesday reported that Members of the Council of State for the Kingdom Antonito "Mito" Croes of Aruba and Robert Vornis of Curaçao, as well as Member of the Council of State in extraordinary service for the Caribbean Netherlands Frits Goedgedrag, were all against the instruction.

The newspaper stated that Croes referred to the instruction given to Aruba Governor Fredis Refunjol to hold off on ratifying the country's 2014 budget until an independent screening had taken place, as a decision that held no legal grounds.

Vornis was said to have expressed his support for Aruba Prime Minister Mike Eman in a Twitter message shortly after the instruction, while Goedgedrag stated in a recent report as Chairman of Aruba's Council of Advice that the instruction lacked legal grounds and was against the Kingdom Charter and the Regulation of the Governor.

Member of Parliament (MP) Bosman questioned the position of the Members of the Council of State and posed written questions on Tuesday to Dutch Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk about the newspaper article. He asked the minister for a qualification of the statements voiced by the three members of the Council of State.

According to Bosman, the statements were "highly inappropriate," especially in light of the fact that the Second Chamber is preparing to seek advice from the Council of State on the Aruba instruction. He asked the minister if it was customary for members of the Council of State to publically state their opinion before handling an advice.

Bosman reminded the minister that the objections voiced by the Members of the Council of State jeopardised the objectivity of a future advice that the Council would be asked to give based on an initiative of MP Wassila Hachchi of the Democratic Party D66.

"Do you agree with me that the outcome of a possible advice is already pre-determined with these biased opinions and that therefore an independent advice will not be possible?" Bosman asked Plasterk.

In an invited comment Bosman remarked that clearly the advice would no longer be necessary if members of the Council already had expressed their opinion beforehand. "They have their judgement ready before the Second Chamber has even formulated its request for advice." He said that members of the highest advisory body should be reserved in expressing their opinions.

The protest march in Philipsburg on Sunday against the instruction of the Kingdom Council of Ministers ordering an in-depth screening of the candidate members of St. Maarten's next Council of Ministers hasn't gone unnoticed in the Netherlands.

The news and opinion website on Tuesday published an article titled "Demonstration in St. Maarten against Van Raak and Bosman." The article showed a photo of several protesters holding up placards, one of which stated "We didn't vote for Bosman nor Van Raak."

The article stated that there was a demonstration against Members of the Second Chamber Van Raak of the Socialist Party (SP) and Bosman. "The socialist and liberal are critical about the island that is hit hard by corruption scandals," it was stated.

Bosman responded light-heartedly to the fact that his name was prominently mentioned during the protest march. "I have no problem with people saying that they haven't voted for us. But I am defending the rights of the Dutch taxpayers, I defend the position of the Netherlands in the Kingdom and I defend integrity within the Kingdom. The Kingdom Charter gives me every right to defend myself," he told The Daily Herald.

NAGICO to settle $5M in Hurricane Gonzalo claims

PHILIPSBURG--NAGICO Insurances is expected to settle an estimated US $5 million in Hurricane Gonzalo claims, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dwayne Elgin told The Daily Herald on Tuesday.

The insurance company has received more than 350 claims since the hurricane pummelled St. Maarten on the evening of Monday, October 13, and it began settling claims as early October 16, three days after.

Elgin said a few claims were still being submitted; however, that there are policy conditions that require clients to provide notification in a timely manner after a loss. "For reasonable and practical purposes, five days after the storm is acceptable for notifying insurance companies of claims."

Asked to estimate the overall Gonzalo-damage in St. Maarten in terms of claims,

Elgin said it would be premature to commit to a number as he had no indication of losses at other insurance companies. "However, we estimate our losses [at NAGICO – Ed.] will be US $5 million. Additionally, the intensity, the accompanying rainfall, duration and path of the storm is less likely to result in losses far exceeding this estimate as compared to past storms," he told The Daily Herald in an invited comment.

"Another contributing factor that would also mitigate the extent of losses from the storm is the enhanced quality of construction/hurricane protections and improved infrastructure since the 1990s."

He said the majority of claims are for damage to homes, business offices/premises and boats. "This conclusion is mostly influenced by the type of claims we have received to date."

Asked whether premiums are likely to increase as a result of the Gonzalo-related claims, Elgin said it was too early to predict the impact this will have on premiums. "However, this will depend mostly on reinsurers' reaction to the losses from Hurricane Gonzalo combined with the effects of other catastrophic events around the world."

He encouraged residents to reassess their hurricane preparedness plans mostly to ensure that their properties are secure and in a good state of repair as the season is not yet over. "It is imperative that residents purchase property insurance as the most significant means of mitigating potential losses from hurricanes and other natural disasters. I also recommend that they check to ensure that their property values are appraised and kept current to avoid under-insurance penalties."

Fire Department invites all to fire prevention sessions

page3b137PHILIPSBURG--The Fire Department kicked off Fire Prevention Week 2014 on Monday, October 27, activities will continue to November 1. The awareness week is being organised by the Section Fire Prevention and Friends of the Island Government Fire Fighters.

The objective during the week is to raise fire safety awareness throughout the community. The theme for this year's week is: "Preventing and Acting in event of a Fire." Lectures are part of the schedule within the various districts. Residents are asked to come out and learn about fire prevention measures, which could save a life of a love one and also protect your property.

The dates and times of the sessions are: Wednesday, October 29, at the John Hodge Hall Cole Bay Methodist Church building from 7:30pm to 9:00pm; Thursday, October 30, at the Sister Marie Laurent school in Middle Region, same time; and Friday, October 31, at the Lion's Civic Centre in Sucker Garden, also from 7:30pm to 9:00pm.

The Open House will be on Saturday, November 1, and the general public is invited to this event at which various demonstrations will be given showing the Fire Department's skills. Visitors will also be able to have a closer look at the fire trucks and equipment used by fire fighters.

The Open House will take place at the Clem Labega Square in Philipsburg from 9:00am to 6:00pm.

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