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Comedians arrive, ready to tickle funny bones at LTBB

page4a035Some of the comedians who will be performing in the two LTBB shows at PdP tonight and tomorrow night.


PHILIPSBURG--The comedians scheduled to perform in Port St. Maarten’s Laugh Till Belly Burst (LTBB) comedy show have arrived in St. Maarten, and are ready to tickle the funny bones of patrons at the two shows starting tonight with Delcita’s Border Patrol and wrapping up tomorrow night, Saturday, with a line-up of stand-up comedians.  

Both shows will be held at Princess Port de Plaisance and Casino at 8:00pm; doors open at 7:00pm.

Some of the comedians spoke about what patrons can expect at the two shows during a live press conference at PJD2 radio on Thursday. Those present said persons can expect two nights of non-stop, belly-bursting laughter.

Delcita’s (born Andrea Wright) Border Patrol will expose and review the role of church wives. The play will depict how church wives are “sold out to publicity by creating a false image of a healthy marriage.

“Church wives who quote scriptures to defend their activities or lack of in the bedroom. Border Patrol parades some importance of the main chick and side-chick. Many side-chicks are confused and over ambitious and deem themselves to be more important than they really are,” organisers said. Delcita’s last performance in St. Maarten was in January for “Miss Elsayda.”

Saturday night’s stand-up comedy show will feature comedians Marc Trinidad, Trevor Eastmond, Fatman George, Tony Hendriks and BET Comic View sensations Steve Brown and Jay Martin.

Several door prizes will be given away at the shows and a raffle will also be held where part of the proceeds will be donated to the Rambaud St. Loui Fete Association in St. Martin, to assist with the purchase of a wheelchair accessible van.

Patrons who purchase a raffle ticket for US $10 on either night can win a trip for two; weekend stay for two at Holland House Beach Hotel; day pass for two at Sonesta Maho Beach Resort and one of two tablets (compliments of Blue Point).

On Friday night the trip for two will be to St. Kitts, and on Saturday night the trip for two will be to Dominica. Door prizes include tablets and bracelets compliments of Om Jewellers. Princess Port de Plaisance will be giving away $600 to a lucky patron in the Casino after the show.

Tickets for either show costs $30 per night in advance and $40 per night at the door. Tickets are on sale at Van Dorp and Tackling Sol Gas Station. Chippie is offering special ticket packages for the show.

Friday June 26, 2015 St. Maarten Midday Weather Forcast

rb-lDATE ISSUED:  Friday June 26, 2015 @ 12:00 Lst (16:00 UTC)

VALID UNTIL:  Saturday midday (12:00 Lst) June 27, 2015 

Today through Saturday midday: Fair to Partly cloudy, hazy and breezy with a local isolated shower possible.

Forecast High:
   30°C / 86°F          Forecast Low:   26°C / 79°F 

Sunrise Tomorrow: 5:39 A.M        Sunset Tonight:  6:51 P.M

Today: East to east southeast with a moderate to fresh breeze of 13 to 21 miles per hour.

Saturday: East to east southeast with a moderate to fresh breeze of 15 to 24 miles per hour, with higher gusts.

The effects of Saharan dust and the Atlantic high pressure system will continue to restrict precipitation across the local area. However, patches of low level clouds embedded in the trade winds may bring a local isolated shower.

Seas conditions will remain moderate during the next few days. Nevertheless, small craft operators and sea-bathers should exercise caution.

 STATE OF THE SEA: Moderate       WAVES/SWELLS: 5 to 6 feet 


OUTLOOK through Sunday midday: Partly to occasionally cloudy, hazy and breezy with a passing shower.


 The next weather forecast will be issued Today at 18:00 Lst (22:00 UTC).

 For further information visit our website:








Partly cloudy

Occasionally Cloudy / Isolated showers

Partly cloudy


30oC / 86oF

30oC / 86oF

30oC / 86oF


26oC / 79oF

24oC / 75oF

26oC / 79oF


05:39 AM

05:39 AM

05:40 AM


06:51 PM

06:52 PM

06:52 PM


Rent Committee decisions since 10-10-10 ‘voidable’

PHILIPSBURG--Attorney-at-Law Joeri Essed from law firm BZSE pointed out an interesting quirk in the law on Thursday, when he revealed that St. Maarten Rent Committee decisions since 10-10-10 can be deemed voidable because none of the committee members have been appointed by Country Decree (“Landsbesluit”) since then.

The Court of First Instance has nullified a Committee decision on this basis and although it said possible retroactive appointments could validate some decisions, Essed said, “The playing field is now open for those who have been negatively affected by a decision of the Rent Committee that has been taken after October 10, 2010.”

In a letter posted on the BZSE blogsite, Essed introduced a relevant case. “On April 13, 2015, the Court of First Instance of St. Maarten, in its capacity of appellate court for decisions taken by the Rent Committee, passed a judgment that may very well have great implications for all decisions taken to date by compositions of the Rent Committee in which one or more of the committee members have not been appointed by Country Decree.”

On July 18, 2009, a landlord and tenant entered into a lease agreement for a residential property starting August 1, 2009, for an indefinite period of time. In a letter to the Rent Committee dated May 16, 2014, the landlord requested permission to terminate that lease agreement effective January 1, 2017, so that he could use the property himself.

On October 3, 2014, the Rent Committee granted the landlord permission to do so, based on the articles of the Rent Committee Regulation. However, the regulation no longer exists as a result of the Rent Ordinance (AB 2014, no. 8) that went into effect on April 1, 2014.

“Astonishingly, the Rent Committee was apparently not aware of the fact that new legislation on rent of properties had come into effect half a year prior to their decision of October 3, 2014,” the BZSE lawyer noted.

The decision of October 3, 2014, which was taken by a Rent Committee acting president and two members, assisted by the secretary, was promptly appealed by the tenant, with a most far-reaching ground of appeal that after 10-10-10, when St. Maarten obtained its present constitutional status, none of the (presumed) members of the Rent Committee had been appointed by Country Decree, said Essed.

This was previously required by Article 22 of the Rent Committee Regulation, and as of April 1, 2014 it is required by Article 7: 255 of the Civil Code.

The tenant argued that as a result, the Rent Committee cannot have taken a valid decision and consequently its decision should be nullified.

In its judgement of April 13, 2015, the Court of First Instance listened to the tenant’s reasoning and concluded that a Country Decree, which is absent, is needed to validate the appointment of the committee members to make the decision. The court therefore nullified the decision.

However, the Court noted that in its opinion it was possible to give retroactive effect to an appointment by Country Decree of the Rent Committee members and that such would validate the decisions taken by the now invalid/non-existent committee, provided that none of the parties to such a decision appealed its validity on the grounds that it was taken prior to such a Country Decree taking effect.

“Whether this aforementioned opinion of the Court about the validation of decisions that have been taken previously by a not-legally-appointed Rent Committee is correct seems questionable and at the very least provides food for discussion among legal professionals,” concluded Essed.

Local economy resilient in 2014, outlook 2015 positive

PHILIPSBURG--The local economy proved resilient in 2014 despite factors such as the passing of a hurricane, the uncertainty usually experienced during an election year and some global occurrences in major source markets. And the economic outlook for 2015 is one of positive growth, according the most recent Macro Monitor Report by the Department of Economic Affairs, Transportation and Telecommunication EVT.

The Year-End 2014 Macro Monitor Report and Outlook 2015 was compiled using data contributed by the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau, Department of Statistics, Ministry of Finance, Receiver's Office and St. Maarten Harbour Holding Company.

Review: 2014 vs. 2013

In comparing 2014 to 2013, various sectors show favourably: preliminary gross domestic product (GDP) estimates show growth of 1.6 per cent. This growth is substantiated by the exemplary performance in the tourism sector that in turn triggered the hotel and restaurant sector and the wholesale and retail sector, among others.

Stay-over arrivals to the island grew 7.1 per cent over the same period. This amounted to nearly 500,000 visitors, 50,000 more than the average number of visitors over the past 20 years.

Visitor arrivals from all major markets showed increased growth. The North American region had an 8.6 per cent increase, while Europe, the Caribbean, South American region and the rest of the world showed increasing growth between 3 and 7.5 per cent.

In the cruise sector, St. Maarten achieved the milestone of more than two million cruise arrivals, a growth of 12.1 per cent in comparison to 2013. Indications from both the airport and harbour are that activity in the transport and communication sector increased.

Arrivals at the airport grew 6.7 per cent. This was notable with the increased number of incoming commercial and chartered flights, which also resonates with the growth in stay-over visitors' arrivals. There was a six per cent increase in the number of aircraft arrivals, from 28,590 to 30,493.

The harbour reported increased activity in all areas of transport. Cruise ship arrivals increased by 10 per cent, while cargo ships increased by three per cent. Data collected from other berthing areas indicate that other ship arrivals also increased by four per cent.

There was a notable increase in the level of investment from the private sector. Some 334 new business licences, many of them for service-oriented businesses, were issued in 2014, compared to 282 in 2013. This represents an 18.4 per cent increase.

Financial institutions reported the value of business loans to local residents increasing 1.7 per cent, but there was an overall decrease of 2.9 per cent in the value of business loans issued, compared to 2013.

In the construction sector, although fewer building permits were issued, based on the information gathered from the Ministry of Public Works VROMI the estimated value of the construction projects for the period of 2014 surpassed that of 2013.

Inflation declined to 1.9 per cent, down 0.6 per cent. Exports increased by around 9 per cent, from NAf. 2.2 billion to an estimated NAf. 2.4 billion. Imports are also estimated to have increase by NAf. 89 million. A trade surplus was estimated again, as has been the experience over the past years.

Government revenues amounted to an estimated NAf. 430.2 million, compared to NAf. 491.5 million. This reduction was mainly attributed to decreased fees, concession revenue and other income from business collected in 2014. Notably, revenues collected for 2013 included concession revenue of NAf. 10 million, primarily from utilities company GEBE that related to the years 2015 and 2016.

Expenditures also decreased by 10.6 per cent: NAf. 438.4 million in 2014 compared to NAf. 490.6 million in 2013. Analysis of financial developments for 2013 indicates that there was a fiscal deficit of NAf. 8.2 million.

Outlook 2015

Based on EVT research and analysis, also spanning internationally, St. Maarten's economic outlook for 2015 is one of positive growth. Preliminary projections on key economic indicators are: real GDP growth of 1.3 per cent, inflation decreasing to 1.4 per cent, cruise arrivals to increase 1.8 per cent and stay-over arrivals to increase 1.8 per cent.

The projected developments are attributed to projected growth in the United States and other major economies on which St. Maarten depends. Prospects are also positive for South America and the Caribbean.

There is also the continued intent of government and a number of other private entities to embark on activities that will further trigger the construction, transport, hotel and restaurant, and telecommunication sectors.

Inflation is projected to decrease, which probably will be attributed to a continued drop in world oil prices and oil products. From the trade sector, exports are projected to grow 3.4 per cent, while imports are also projected to grow 1.4 per cent.

The majority of St. Maarten's export commodity has been in the form of tourism-related goods and services. This further cements the expected growth for 2015, given that both cruise and stay-over arrivals are projected to grow by 1.8 per cent. Likewise, imports are also expected to keep growing.

Analysis of fiscal developments for 2014 would indicate a decrease in both revenues and expenditures. However, a current account deficit of NAf. 8 million was created.

Considering government's intentions to be more vigilant in collecting taxes and ensuring compliance, as mentioned in the 2015 Budget speech, revenues are expected to increase by approximately NAf. 12 million, totalling approximately NAf. 442.3 million.

As for government expenditures, considering the increase in cost incurred by some ministries due to additional staffing and implementation of measures to ensure efficiency and quality services from the government sector ¬total expenditures are projected to increase by an estimated NAf. 11 million. This is expected to create a deficit of NAf. 6.9 million for 2015, with a projected expenditure of NAf. 449.2 million.

Inflation having shown a decline in 2014, the same is expected in 2015. EVT's preliminary projection is a rate of 1.4 per cent.

Finally, the report cited the weakening euro as possibly forcing Dutch-side wholesalers and retailers to lower prices to maintain market share, especially in light of a reduction in demand from French-side consumers, if the trend continues.

The full report can be reviewed on Government's website by selecting Ministry TEATT and then Ministry Policies and Reports.

CFT may call for ‘targeted instruction’ if no settlement

PHILIPSBURG--The Committee for Financial Supervision CFT “in all likelihood will ask for a targeted instruction” to be handed down by the Dutch Kingdom Council of Ministers if government does not settle its arrears with Social and Health Insurance SZV and the General Pension Fund APS.

Government has missed the May 30 deadline set by CFT to settle its arrears with SZV and APS. The targeted instruction will focus on dealing with the payment arrears amounting to some NAf. 189 million down from the disputed NAf. 295 million.

An agreement is said to be close between the social funds and government, said CFT Chairman of the Committee for Financial Supervision CFT Age Bakker. Bakker hopes that Government can settle its arrears by the end of August.

Government would have received a letter on Thursday evening from CFT outlining what must be done to clear up the matter and avoid the possibility of a targeted instruction. Government will have a week to respond to the recommendations. If a resolution is not met on the arrears, CFT will then proceed to the Kingdom Council with an advice for the targeted instruction.

If the request for the targeted advice is rendered by the CFT to the Kingdom Council, it will be the third time an instruction has been formulated for St. Maarten. The two previous advices were given by CFT, but were never implemented, because the situation they sought to regulate was remedied by St. Maarten by the time the Kingdom Council was ready to issue the instructions.

The pending, but seemingly close resolution of the division of assets and liabilities of the former Netherlands Antilles among the Netherlands, St. Maarten and Curaçao “may benefit” St. Maarten’s bottom line significantly, said Bakker. The funds coming to the country can be used to settle its arrears. This would be very helpful for the country which has been given by CFT, via the agreement with the Kingdom Council of Ministers, until 2018 to service its arrears.

Parliament has a significant role to play in improving the country’s financial position by passing the multi-annual budget and attending to the law amendment to increase the pension age from 60 to 62, said Bakker. That change has been pending for more than a year now.

“I have asked Parliament to take its responsibility,” he said.

The country’s pension system continues to be too expensive. APS needs to increase its premiums “tremendously” to cope, but that would inevitably lead to labour becoming “too expensive” on St. Maarten, said Bakker. This was not the first time the CFT chairman has pointed out that the pension and health care system have become heavy burdens for the country.

“The working people are footing the bill [now– Ed.], but there may be nothing for them [later– Ed.], he said.

If these issues are settled soon via reform, the systems will become “viable” for the country in the long run.

Bakker reiterated CFT’s call to government to seek ways to raise its income and to cut cost as a way to out the country in a better financial situation. Government is “working on a strategy for growth.”

The CFT members also discussed the preparations for the presentation of the 2016 Budget with Hassink. They urged government to work to get it passed this year, rather than in the new year, like the handling of the 2015 Budget.

The CFT last visited St. Maarten in February. At that time, the board had pointed out to government that its tally for the 2015 Budget of NAf. 445 million needed more elaboration, especially related to the garnering of sufficient income and how it planned to deal with the mounting debt to the social funds – Social and Health Insurance SZV and the General Pension Fund SZV. The budget was given a provisional approval for CFT with no room for the borrowing of money on the capital market.

Government is “growing” and so is its income, said Bakker. This is due to government “making progress” in getting money from its companies.

Government’s income projects for the year had increased by some NAf. 1 million in April, bringing the total to between NAf. 446 million and NAf. 447 million, according to Bakker. No budget amendment has yet been tabled by government.

Bakker, however, cautioned that CFT has seen increase in revenue in past years only to dip due to seasonal patterns. That pattern accounts for the seasonal nature of St. Maarten’s one-pillar tourism economy.

Government-owned companies are in “a strong position … they should help out more,” he said.

The CFT board met with Prime Minister Marcel Gumbs and Finance Minister Martin Hassink on Wednesday for a working dinner. Talks continued on Thursday with separate meetings held with Governor Eugene Holiday, Hassink and Parliament’s Finance Committee).

An informal meeting was to be held with the Social Economic Council SER, primarily about tax reform, on Thursday evening.

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