Wednesday, Jul 30th

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People stuck in vehicle wedged after accident

COLE BAY--Two vehicles collided on Welfare Road shortly after 9:00am on Saturday, causing one of the drivers to lose control of her white Ford Explorer jeep. The vehicle veered off the road and came to a standstill wedged between a building and a water tank on Welfare Road, next to Ocean City Restaurant.

The second vehicle involved in the crash, a small red Hyundai, sustained damage to the front.

The positioning of the jeep caused the female driver and a male passenger to be trapped inside. The Fire Department was called to release them from the vehicle. Police investigated the scene.

Paramedics also attended and took the driver and passenger to St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) where the driver was treated for her injuries, which were not life-threatening.

Airport kicks off Fireman’s Week

SIMPSON BAY--SXM Airport's Rescue and Firefighting (RFF) Department will be kicking off its Fireman's Week with a series of activities starting today, Monday, July 21, until Sunday, July 27. The department will also be celebrating its nineteenth year on July 25.

Starting with the hoisting of the flag in front of the Terminal Building followed by a march with a drum band on Monday morning, the Fireman's Week will also feature a free glucose and blood pressure testing for all airport users. This will be held on Monday, July 21, and Thursday, July 24, and will run from 8:30am to 4:30pm. The booth will be manned by RFF personnel who are also certified Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), and they will be administering the testing with equipment from the airport's RFF Department.

Children from Busybody Play School will be treated to a tour of the Terminal Building, after which RFF personnel will take the children on a tour of the RFF facility. Following the tour, the fire fighters will offer the children a special BBQ at the fire station.

Physical fitness is a requirement for fire fighters and to "test" their level of fitness, there will be a Fireman's Obstacle Course. The fire fighters will be competing amongst themselves to see who can complete the obstacle course in the best time. Following the friendly competition, there will be a breakfast for staff and the airport community.

The week will close off with perhaps the most anticipated activity: the Fireman's Certification and Ranking Ceremony at which the fire fighters will receive their insignia, as the airport RFF officially transitions from the Dutch to the American ranking system. All fire fighters who recently completed a 14-week training course, including four weeks of practical training and examinations in Canada, will receive their official Pro-Board seal certificates.

It will be recalled that a group of six fire fighters returned a few weeks ago from Canada, after successfully completing the National Fire Protection Association 1001 Fire Fighter levels 1 and 2 course. It is the third group to undergo such training, bringing the total of trained staff so far to 18.

According to Manager Penijn of the airport's RFF, more training courses are planned for the staff in order to further equip them to discharge their responsibilities professionally.

"We have been sending groups of six and this is our third group," he said, adding that new recruits as well as senior officers are given the opportunity to undergo training. "This allows the airport to have certified and well-trained firemen. It is also important for growth possibilities within the department for the individual firemen," Penijn said.

Victor Schoelcher Fête in Grand Case

MARIGOT--Official ceremonies to mark the birthday of abolitionist Victor Schoelcher take place today in Grand Case with the village's annual Fête.

Musical entertainment and animations began on Sunday on the ball field from 2:00pm to 10:00pm. Today, Monday, there will be a religious service in the Catholic Church at 9:00am followed by a parade of troupes on Boulevard Bertin Maurice at 10:15am. Official speeches and a toast follow at 11:00am.

The afternoon will be taken up with traditional boat races, games and cultural activities. Live bands will be performing on stage until 10:00pm. A fireworks display in the bay of Grand Case is planned for 9:00pm.

Victor Schoelcher (1804 - 1893) was a French journalist and politician who was France's greatest advocate of ending slavery in the empire, according to Encyclopedia Britannica. Although born into a wealthy porcelain-manufacturing family, Schoelcher showed little inclination for a business career. After a trip to the United States in 1829, where he was horrified by the abuses of slavery Schoelcher became a dedicated abolitionist.

He worked as a journalist from 1829 to 1848, writing ceaselessly on the barbarism of slavery. As undersecretary for the navy in 1848, Schoelcher prepared the famous decree that abolished slavery in the colonies. He was elected Deputy to the French national legislature from Martinique (1848) and from Guadeloupe (1849). As Deputy, he worked passionately to eliminate the abuses of colonialism and pleaded the cause of blacks in the Assembly.

Gendarmerie organises joint controls at borders

page1aMARIGOT--The Gendarmerie staged a major control of persons and vehicles in the early hours of Friday morning, mobilising some 50 Gendarmes and a narcotics canine unit to set up check points at the four border points of the island; Oyster Pond, Belle Plaine, Bellevue and Lowlands.

This latest control was supported by the Dutch side Police and was conducted between the hours of 1:00am and 4:00am in the presence of Préfet Philippe Chopin, President of the Collectivité Aline Hanson, and Vice-Prosecutor Flavien Noailles.

Also there to observe the operation from the Dutch side was Minister of Justice Dennis Richardson.

Capitaine Sylvain Jouault of the Gendarmerie noted the Dutch side Police assisted by controlling traffic going in one direction and the Gendarmes for traffic in the other direction, adding they were also very helpful with exchanges of information.

Seven officers from Territorial Police and a dog team specialised in sniffing out weapons and ammunition also took part.

The purpose of the operation was to search for weapons, ammunition, identify stolen vehicles, but also in terms of road security and violations of the Highway Code.

Préfet Chopin noted the exercise was another step in strengthening cooperation between French and Dutch sides, and the exchange of information, on the crime front. He noted preparations are on-going to hold another weapons amnesty, this time in conjunction with the Dutch side, however, he was asked to postpone this until the Dutch side elections are finished.

According to Capitaine Jouault the results of the controls were as follows; one car confiscated to determine if it was stolen, an air gun confiscated, small amounts of drugs were found, and several violations of the Highway Code were dealt with.

Police pen report about illegal signs, parties remedy situation

BELAIR--The Police Department has compiled a report on all election campaign billboards placed by political parties along the public roads that are in contravention of traffic and other public safety regulations. All parties that need to remove their billboards will be informed of such by the police.

Justice Minister Dennis Richardson told The Daily Herald he has received the report, but could not go into specifics about which billboard need to be removed and from which locations.

He said the police will tackle any infringements should parties not take action to remove their materials after notification by police. "I do hope the parties take the necessary action."

Richardson issued the guidelines for campaign material on July 11. The guidelines specifically stated that no campaign materials are allowed on or around roundabouts and no material may hinder or endanger traffic.

Democratic Party (DP) Leader Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams along with candidates and supporters removed her party's campaign material from the One Tete Lokhey Roundabout in Cay Hill on Friday.

The party "executed the instruction" from Richardson about campaign material not being allowed on roundabouts. "After my discussions with the Minister of Justice, I thought it important to uphold the instruction and we will therefore be moving all campaign material from roundabouts," said Wescot-Williams.

DP campaign material was "the least obtrusive," said Wescot-Williams. DP places "emphasis on transparency and integrity" thus decided "to be the first and only party" to adhere to the justice minister's instructions.

United St. Maarten (US) party, whose number two candidate has some billboards along public roads, has called on Richardson "to take action" against political parties that have "blatantly disregarded" his instructions about the placement of campaign paraphernalia "at locations that could hinder or endanger traffic."

One St. Maarten People's Party (OSPP), which has no campaign material out in public, has decried what they called "the blatant campaign violators" and called on Richardson to regulate the situation.

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