Monday, May 04th

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Police won’t take any action against minor’s performance

PHILIPSBURG--The police will not be taking any action against the performance of 11-year-old sensation Tamelia, who is scheduled to perform at the Zouk and More International Concert set for St. Maarten Festival Village on April 29 from 8:00pm.

Police Spokesperson Inspector Ricardo Henson said the acting minister of Labour Rita Bourne-Gumbs has granted permission for the performance and as a result the police will not be taking any action.

St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) was told last week that permission had been granted for the performance under certain conditions. The conditions are that the performance of the child should not go beyond 10:00pm, the performance should not take place in an obscene environment and the performance should take place under parental guidance.

Permission was given in anticipation of new legislation/policy related to cultural and artistic performances of children and youth. The 11-year-old is expected to be the opening act at the concert tonight.

SCDF had asked Labour Minister Rita Bourne-Gumbs for clarity on the matter after Inspector General Dr. Earl Best said the Labour Inspectorate would be investigating the matter.

SCDF was told that the matter was discussed with Head of the Labour Affairs Agency Peggy-Ann Dros-Richardson and Best and consensus was reached on how the performance should be approached.

SCDF President Michael Granger had told The Daily Herald earlier that SCDF does not consider the performance of the young artiste child exploitation. He had said 11-year-old Tamelia will be performing for between 10 and 20 minutes for free at the start of the concert in an effort to showcase her talent. The minor's parent will also be there with her.

Granger had said that denying the child the permission to perform would have opened a Pandora's Box because there were many other youth shows that are held during and outside of Carnival with minors performing and showcasing their talent including the Junior Calypso show, Junior Queen Pageant and the talent shows held outside of carnival.

The country's current labour law prohibits labour by children under the age of 12. According to the labour laws children between the ages of 12 and 15 can perform certain types of labour under specified conditions. Labour is permitted for children from ages 15 to 18 with the exception of labour during night hours (7:00pm to 7:00am).

Under all circumstances, further conditions and rules as prescribed by the articles of the labour law that have to be adhered to. Persons violating these regulations are subject to fines and prosecution.

Children and youth may never work between the hours of 7:00pm and 7:00am. These laws are based on the National ordinance on Labour Regulations (AB 2013 GT no. 15) article 2 sub1, article 4, article18, article19, article 20 and the national decree on labour by youth (AB2013 GT no. 532).

Elshot starts process to broaden, restructure Chamber of Unions

PHILIPSBURG--Recently-appointed Windward Islands Chamber of Labour Unions (WICLU) President Claire Elshot has started the process to restructure and broaden the Chamber's membership, which she had listed as one of her goals for the umbrella body when she assumed the post.

Elshot said in her Labour Day message issued on Tuesday that she would be embarking on the process to restructure the WICLU, using strength gained from former fellow trade unionist the late Patricia Pantophlet.

Elshot said she had invited all trade unions in the country to a meeting last week Friday, April 24, to discuss the "important issue" of trade union organisations joining forces in defence of the workers in St. Maarten under the WICLU umbrella.

In attendance at the meeting were representatives of the Windward Islands Teachers Union (WITU), Workers Institute for Organised Labour (WIFOL), Association of utilities company GEBE staff members ASEWI, St. Maarten Communications Union (SMCU), United Federation of the Windward Antilles UFA, police union ABVO St. Maarten, and general police union NAPB.

Not present were the Windward Islands Civil Servants Union/Private Sector Union (WICSU/PSU) and the Windward Islands Health Care Union Association (WIHCUA) the president of which resigned recently.

Unions will meet again on the matter on Tuesday, May 12. Elshot said the Chamber would continue its effort to invite unions that were not present at the first meeting to attend future ones, as this was an important issue.

"The objective and ultimate goal of these meetings are to broaden and strengthen the participation of the workers' organisations in WICLU. The active participation of all national unions will create greater awareness and respect for the fundamental rights of the workers," said Elshot, who is also WITU President. "Constructive social dialogue amongst stakeholders will promote consensus-building and democratic involvement that will benefit all the workers."

Touching on the issue of labour, Elshot said the true meaning of Labour Day and of workers' organisations had to continue "with a collective demand for decent work to eradicate poverty and youth unemployment.

"The fundamental rights of the workers have to find full swing back in the workplaces and together with government and employers' organisation the workers' organisations will have to promote, encourage and motivate defending the rights and protection of the workers."

Cohen, Just win damages after court annuls Sindextour AOTs

MARIGOT--The former tenants of the original Bikini and Kon Tiki Restaurants on Orient Beach, Elisa Cohen and Philippe Just, have been awarded unspecified damages by the Collectivité and Sindextour, represented by Norbert Luftman, following an administrative court ruling in St. Martin on Friday that cancelled the temporary occupation permits (AOTs) for parcel AW33 issued by the Collectivité to Sindextour.

The long-running case against Sindextour saw both Cohen and Just evicted from the two restaurants by bailiffs in September 2013.

The AOTs were issued to Sindextour following a second vote by the Executive Council on September 4, 2012, following a vote on the issue in July of that year. The Collectivité's convention with Sindextour expired in 2009. At the same time Cohen and Just also applied for AOTs in their own names, but were denied the permits and consequently contested the issuance of the AOTs to Sindextour, claiming procedures had not been followed legally.

"The Préfet at the time also questioned the Collectivité, saying he did not think the AOT was issued legally," Cohen explained to The Daily Herald. "He took it to court on the issue of whether the contract written for Luftman and the way it was voted were legal. Now a legal commission has studied the way they wrote these AOTs and advised the court that they were illegally written and voted and should be voided. We have been waiting for this decision and finally the judge has ruled in our favour.

"From 2009 when Luftman did not have an AOT we paid rent to someone who did not have the right to take our money. He subsequently gave that money to the Collectivité and he didn't have the right to give it to them anymore because he no longer had a contract with them. He evicted us, but didn't have the right to do it because the AOT was illegal."

Cohen said this first victory cleared the way for her lawyer to pursue for more damages from Sindextour for the evictions, illegally collecting rent, liquidation of her business and termination of employees.

"I want my indemnity; I want something for the 21 years I've been paying rent, declaring my employees, running my business. My business was stolen from me. If the indemnity includes getting my restaurant back, I can arrange that. I want something that says I was there 21 years, I played by the rules, and the law is going to protect me."

She admitted the Justice System up to now in Guadeloupe had been "a complete mess" and that for two years she routinely had been told by the court she had no rights.

"I did get really depressed. Either every judge had been bought or the world was upside down, because nothing made any sense. The only thing that made sense was that from the very beginning we insisted the vote on the AOT was illegal. Actually, it is the Préfet who won," she said.

The initial damages awarded will go towards more legal bills that will come up as the two plaintiffs pursue for more compensation.

"We have to figure where we are going with this, how much we are going to ask for, what we want, and we have to watch closely what the Collectivité is going to do," Cohen continued. "We still have the option of the civil suit against Guillaume Arnell, José Carti and Luftman which is still valid and we have to decide about that.

"I don't know what the Collectivité is going to do now about the cancelled AOT; they will have to rethink their whole strategy. They could give it to him (Luftman) again, but now with the Préfet on top of it, it's risky. Certainly no contract can be given retroactively."

TMO, Ricky da Foxx conquer Soca Rumble

page6a284Soca Rumble winners TMO and Ricky da Foxx, crowned and awarded US $10,000 Saturday night. Edgardo Lynch photo.

CARNIVAL VILLAGE--TMO and Ricky da Foxx were announced the winners of Saturday night's Soca Rumble Battle of the Best at Carnival Village, attended by over 3,000 patrons. They were each awarded US $10,000 and their songs will also be digitally distributed through VP Records.

The two winners won separate categories, Groovy and Power Soca: TMO with "Jam it up" and Ricky da Foxx with "pots and pans."

Shadz was first runner up for both categories with "Caribbean Woman" and "I Jumpin up," while Ricky da Foxx was second runner up for Groovy with "Roll it on Me," and King Vers was second runner up for Power Soca with "Getting on bad."

Some 22 singers performed a combined 33 songs within both categories. The energetic performers went all out with original props, acting, dancers and costumes.

Promoter Grisha Marten of Montage called it an "awesome show," in line with audience feedback, and said that she had been blown away by all of the performances. She presented winners with the crowns and symbolic cheques, along with Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Affairs Rita Bourne-Gumbs.

Marten told The Daily Herald that she had been receiving many compliments, but that her praises go to the artists, who just needed the platform.

page6b284Shadz, first runner up in two categories, is pictured performing along with back-up dancers in traditional dress. Edgardo Lynch photo.

Organisers aimed to elevate local soca artists in the region and push St. Maarten's musical talent to the world.

Five judges, four international and one local, were tasked with scoring the contenders: Tempo Chief Executive Officer Fredrick Morton, VP Records Marketer Natasha Thomas, Carib Vision Broadcast Journalist Anthony "Admiral" Nelson, entertainer/ talent developer Dion "Mega D" Humphreys, and St. Maarten's Xtratight Entertainment Director Bertaux "Mr. Rude" Fleming.


page6c284King Vers during his Power Soca performance. Edgardo Lynch photo.


Record number at Night of Hit Makers

page5a284Soca star Destra performs at TelCell Night of the Hit Makers. (Xtratight photo.)


CARNIVAL VILLAGE--A record number of revellers showed up to jam to the sounds of Destra, Kerwin Du Bois, Carimi, Era and Youth Waves for Carnival’s flagship show, TelCell Night of the Hit Makers on Friday night.

Event Promoter and Director of Xtratight Entertainment Bertaux “Mr. Rude” Fleming, who has been promising the public a bigger and better show with a unique signature dance-floor, told The Daily Herald that this year’s show was “way beyond expectations.” He said it was great to see the crowd moving. “We had fun, the artists had fun... it was ecstatic.”





Bacchanalist’ Kerwin Du Bois. (Xtratight photo.)

The show received nothing but rave reviews by fans, and although the numbers are not yet out, Mr. Rude said that the crowd was much bigger than last year, possibly double or triple.

Organisers went all out, blazing fireworks between acts. Destra had audience members join her on stage to dance, and St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) President Mike Granger was honoured on stage for his birthday during the Carimi performance.





page5c284Carimi in full swing Friday night. (John Halley photo.)


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