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New majority in Parliament to focus on ‘needs of residents’


~ Portfolios divided, NA gets PM ~

Link to Governing Accord PDF

HARBOUR VIEW--The new eight-seat-majority coalition in Parliament formed on Wednesday plans to focus on the needs of residents and is prepared to make safety and security “a top priority” and to give the people of St. Maarten “an open Government that gives account on all levels.”

The new majority comprises former United People’s (UP) party Members of Parliament (MPs) Silvio Matser and Maurice Lake; National Alliance (NA) MPs William Marlin, Silveria Jacobs, Christophe Emmanuel and George Pantophlet; Democratic Party (DP) MP Sarah Wescot-Williams; and United St. Maarten Party (USP) MP Frans Richardson.

The new majority was formed after the UP/US/De Weever/Marlin-Romeo government lost its majority on Wednesday when a surprise no-confidence motion was passed by the eight MPs that later formed the new parliamentary majority.

The MPs who form the new coalition said in a Governing Accord that they had signed and submitted to Governor Eugene Holiday on Wednesday an agreement they had reached in principle on the formation of the next Government of St. Maarten.



According to the Governing Accord, NA will designate three ministers in the new cabinet: the Prime Minister/Minister of General Affairs; the Minister of Finance; and the Minister of Education, Youth, Culture and Sports. NA also will designate the Minister Plenipotentiary.

USP will designate the Minister of Justice.

DP will designate the Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labour VSA and the new Chairperson of Parliament.

MP Lake will designate the Minister of Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure VROMI.

MP Matser will designate the Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT).

Parties said in the accord that they were “committed to improving the quality of life for all and will support a Government that will operate under the core principles of open government, integrity, improved accountability, transparency, sustainable development, social inclusion, equality and the upholding of the constitution of St Maarten.”

The Governing Accord themed “The time is now” states that the relationship between the government and its entities, especially the Government-owned companies, will be analysed and brought in line with modern corporate governance practices that will include clear lines, separation of authority, accountability and transparency.

“We will support a government that aims to be unified and more effective,” the new majority said in the Accord.

Parties have agreed further to endorse the governing programme “Open and Stable” prepared in September/October of 2014 by NA, DP and USP.

To achieve its vision, the new parliamentary majority said it would focus on five core objectives: Enhancing the quality of life and wellbeing of the people of St Maarten; ensuring good governance; realistic, responsible and balanced financial management; nation building and sustainable development; economic growth and environmental protection.

The signatories to the accord have agreed to meet regularly to discuss any and all relevant matters that may be put on the agenda of the Council of Ministers and/or Parliament. The coalition meetings will include Ministers of Government and MPs supporting the Government. The accord is entered into for the remainder of the 2014-2018 governing period.


Governor informed

Governor Holiday said in a press release late Wednesday that he had received a letter from Richardson, Matser and Lake indicating that they withdrew their support from the UP-led coalition Government.

Holiday said he had been informed that Parliament had passed a motion of no-confidence against the current Cabinet of Ministers on Wednesday, September 30.

He said he also had received a separate letter on Wednesday signed by the four members of the NA fraction, the DP fraction, the USP fraction and MPs Matser and Lake signalling their willingness to form the next Government of St Maarten. The letter included an attached Governing Accord signed by all eight MPs in the new coalition.

Holiday said he had taken this correspondence and “events regarding the current political situation into consideration.”

Press Release - Cabinet of the Governor of St. Maarten

Press Release

Date: September 30th, 2015

 Current political situation

 Harbour View – Today, September 30th, 2015, His Excellency the Governor of Sint Maarten, drs. E.B. Holiday, received a letter from three members of Parliament, Mr. F. Richardson, Mr. S. Matser and Mr. M. Lake, in which they informed the Governor that they withdrew their support from the present coalition government consisting of the UP/USM and independent members of Parliament Mr. C. de Weever and Mrs. L. Marlin-Romeo.

The Governor was informed that on September 30th, 2015, early in the afternoon, the Parliament of Sint Maarten passed a motion of no-confidence against the current cabinet of ministers. He also received a separate letter today signed by the 4 members of the NA-fraction, the DP-fraction, the USP-fraction and members of Parliament S. Matser and M. Lake in which they informed him of their willingness to form the next government of Sint Maarten. The letter included an attached Governing Accord signed by the abovementioned 8 members of Parliament.

Governor Holiday has taken the abovementioned correspondence and events regarding the current political situation into consideration.


Falcon drive 3, Harbor view, Sint Maarten

Cabinet of the Governor of Sint Maarten

Website: www.kabgsxm.com or

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Governor-of-Sint-Maarten/570166756411901


RELEASED FOR PUBLICATION: September 30, 2015, 19:00 hours


Ministry to consumers: Don’t eat pond fish, can be poisonous

page5e114PHILIPSBURG--The Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour Affairs VSA is advising the public not to consume any fish from the country’s ponds, as they may be poisonous.

According to a press release, reports received indicated that persons were seen over the weekend catching fish from Great Salt Pond for possible human consumption.

Collective Prevention Service (CPS) said the fish could be poisonous and residents/visitors should refrain from eating fish from Great Salt Pond or Fresh Pond.

Fish-poisoning symptoms can occur anywhere from two to 12 hours after eating fish. Symptoms include abdominal cramps, diarrhoea (severe and watery), nausea and vomiting.

The public is “strongly advised to leave the fish alone, do not take them home to cook or to be sold to others, as the fish are not fit for human consumption,” the release noted.

St. Maarten Nature Foundation issued an alert over the weekend concerning tilapia fish die-off in Great Salt Pond. The Foundation and the Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure VROMI have been working to ease the serious drought situation that has been impacting the water levels in the ponds.

Nature Foundation took various soil samples during its recent drought surveys of Great Salt Pond, to test for a wide spectrum of heavy metals and the results were positive for nickel, zinc, arsenic, lead, cadmium, copper, chromium and other heavy metals.

The main threats to human health come from some of these heavy metals that can cause cancer and may result in organ-poisoning in those exposed to the heavy metal.

Fire, mechanical failure real cause of outages

GEBE_caybayPHILIPSBURG--NV GEBE disclosed in a statement on Tuesday night that Monday’s outages throughout the country were a result of a fire and mechanical failure at the Cay Bay power plant.

As stated in Tuesday’s edition of The Daily Herald, the company had said in a statement on Monday that it was load-shedding and that power interruptions still should be expected while it was in the process of overhauling its engines.

“There were no injuries with respect to the fire,” NV GEBE stated in Tuesday night’s release. “One of the medium-sized power-generation units caught fire and was quickly extinguished by the fire systems and staff at the power plant.

“Thereafter, power plant personnel had to deal with one of the larger units developing a mechanical problem. After a thorough inspection of the medium-sized unit, this generator was brought back online. Later in the day on Monday the larger unit was also brought back online. On Tuesday there were no mechanical challenges,” the release continued.

Concerning the previously reported interruptions to be expected, NV GEBE had said the current works would be completed “by the end of next week, at which time customers will see improvement in the reliability of power distribution throughout the country. NV GEBE will continue to make other power-related upgrades during the months of October and November to catch up with deferred maintenance.”

The company apologised to consumers for any inconvenience caused.

NIPA board refuses to sign agreement with ministry

~ MP tells minster to fire board ~

PHILIPSBURG--The Advanced Vocational Education (AVE) board of National Institute of Professional Advancement (NIPA) has refused to sign an agreement with the Education Ministry geared at improving the institute.

The board also has refused to adhere to a seven-point plan of action to improve things at the institute, Education Minister Rita Bourne-Gumbs told Members of Parliament (MPs) during the continuation of a parliamentary session on NIPA and other issues on Tuesday.

The Minister was reporting at the time on a meeting she and representatives of the ministry had with the NIPA board on September 16.

The board’s repeated defiant actions led to MP Maurice Lake urging the Minister to “fire” the entire board, as they were stifling the institute. However, the Minister’s hands are tied.

Bourne-Gumbs told MPs that the primary objective of the meeting had been to obtain an update from the board about the decisions it had taken to remedy the challenges facing the institute and to establish an agreement between the ministry and the board so that solving the problems plaguing NIPA could be shared between the ministry and the board.

She said that although the proposed agreement had not been signed by parties, this did not mean the work had stopped. The ministry will continue to work with NIPA to resolve its many challenges.

She is still concerned about certain issues at NIPA, including the “governance” of the institute. She has requested information about NIPA’s management structure and about the profile functions of the board, the executive director and the director when there was a director, to no avail. The functions of these positions are unclear to her.

She also is concerned about students from the 2014 cohort and how they will conclude their education to receive their certified diplomas. Another concern is the lack of scheduling and insufficient staff.

The Minister said there had been some progress and improvements at NIPA in terms of the validation of courses. She also said that some information had been provided on the 2014 cohort schedule and staff, but answers related to governance and the roles and functions had not been addressed.

She believes the constant meetings and dialogue between the ministry and NIPA have led to the board being informed about the need to adhere to standards of quality education laid down in the law. The Education Inspectorate also has intensified its monitoring of NIPA.

The Minister said she would continue to work with the board to ensure that all requirements were met, as “this is not something that the ministry takes lightly.”

The Ministry’s Secretary-General Jorien Wuite gave a PowerPoint presentation on education and the law during Tuesday’s meeting. MPs present at the meeting weighed in on the issues affecting NIPA, asked several questions, made some suggestions and expressed concern about the issues.

Regarding another agenda point, MPs and the Minister also raised concerns about compulsory education and immigration. It was noted that the influx of children coming to the country without “papers for the island” was burdening the country’s education system.

Bourne-Gumbs also gave a status update and Government’s action plan relating to students who have been placed, or not placed, in schools; as well as students in the Netherlands and other countries abroad who have complained that they have not yet received their study financing funds. The status of the study financing ordinance also was discussed.

Tuesday’s meeting was a continuation of a meeting on Monday, September 14, during which the Minister warned that “further action” would be taken against the NIPA board if an “ultimatum” given was not met in the meeting of Wednesday, September 16.

She said at the time that it was “blatantly” clear that quality education was not being provided at the institute. That meeting ended prematurely as she was about to answer questions in the second round, after a roll call showed that there was no quorum for the meeting to continue.

The meeting was requested by the National Alliance (NA) fraction in Parliament.

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