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MinAGZ_Prime_Minister_Marcel_GumbsFor Immediate Release: Wednesday, August 26, 2015/N144

Prime Minister Gumbs: All Businesses, Schools and Government Offices Closed on Thursday due to the arrival of Erika

PHILIPSBURG – Prime Minister Marcel Gumbs, chairman of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), addressed the nation at noon on Wednesday, August 26 with respect to the approach of Tropical Storm Erika.    

The Prime Minister stated the following in his national address: 

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“The country of Sint Maarten is under a Tropical Storm Warning.  Tropical Storm Erika at 11.00AM Wednesday morning was located 335 miles east south-east from Sint Maarten.  Some slow strengthening is possible.

“The current forecast as of Wednesday morning, has Tropical Storm Erika passing just south of Sint Maarten on Thursday. 

“Tropical storm force winds are expected in our area from late tonight through Thursday.

“Erika is to produce rain of 2 to 4 inches with a maximum amount of 8 inches across the islands.  This can lead to flooding and land slippages and mudslides, and therefore residents in hillside areas should exercise caution after heavy rainfall.

“Erika is expected to produce waves up to 13 feet near the center of the storm.  Some coastal flooding and beach erosion is possible on Thursday as the storm passes at its closest to the country.

“Residents living along coastal areas should take measures to protect property.

“All citizens, residents and businesses should make final preparations to protect life and property and have these completed by early this evening.  You recently had the experience of preparing for Danny, those same preparations are also required for Tropical Storm Erika.

“The Government of Sint Maarten Emergency Disaster Management system has taken all necessary measures to safeguard the country.  These measures were taken prior to Tropical Storm Danny and remain in place with respect to the approach of Tropical Storm Erika.

“A request for military assistance has been requested.

“The White & Yellow Cross reports that its two day care facilities will be closed on Thursday.  Reopening on Friday will be determined based on weather conditions.

“Contractors and builders are called upon to secure building sites this afternoon before the end of the day.  Implement your hurricane plans as you did prior to Danny.

“Schools and day care centres are to be closed on THURSDAY, August 27 due to the passing of the tropical storm. Additional information will be forthcoming after the storm has passed and an assessment has been made.

- All casinos and restaurants must be closed by midnight tonight.

- All businesses are to stay closed on Thursday, August 27 until the all clear has been given by the Prime Minister.

- All Government offices will be closed on Thursday, August 27.

“Continue to follow the latest reports regarding Tropical Storm Erika via local radio stations; the Government Website (www.sintmaartengov.org) and the Government Facebook Page where official information will be posted as it becomes available. For weather reports visit the Meteorological Department of Sint Maarten at www.meteosxm.com

“On Thursday the Prime Minister will address the country at 12.00PM.

“Take the necessary measures required to protect your home and business,” Marcel Gumbs, Prime Minister of Sint Maarten said on Wednesday in a national address to the nation.

PRESS SECRETARIAT # # # PRESS SECRETARIAT

Schools closed on Thursday until further notice

PHILIPSBURG--Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Rita Bourne-Gumbs has announced that that schools are to be closed on Thursday, August 27, until further notice.

  The minister said in a press release issued just after noon on Wednesday that depending on the severity of the approaching tropical storm Erica, damage to schools will have to be assessed by the competent authorities before they may be deemed safe to be reopened again. She urged the public to pay attention to news outlets for official information about the reopening of schools.

 

Meteorological Department St. Maarten - SPECIAL WEATHER BULLETIN

 

mds230rb-lDATE ISSUED: Wednesday, August 26, 2015 TIME ISSUED: 14:30 PM

…TROPICAL STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FOR ST. MAARTEN…

...ERIKA CONTINUES WESTWARD…

…NOAA HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT ON ITS WAY TO INVESTIGATE…

Location: Lat. 16.3N ....Lon. 58.2W

About: 301 miles ESE of St. Maarten

Maximum sustained winds: 45 mph ....75 KM/H

Present Movement: W...280 degrees at 17 mph

Minimum Central Pressure: 1005 mb....29.68 inches

DISCUSSION AND 24-HOUR OUTLOOK

AT 14:00 PM...THE CENTER OF TROPICAL STORM ERIKA WAS LOCATED NEAR

LATITUDE 16.3 NORTH...LONGITUDE 58.2 WEST OR ABOUT 301 MILES EAST-SOUTHEAST OF ST.

MAARTEN.

ERIKA IS MOVING TOWARD THE WEST NEAR 17 MPH, AND A WEST TO WESTNORTHWESTWARD

MOTION IS EXPECTED OVER THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 45 MPH...75 KM/H...WITH HIGHER GUSTS.

LITTLE CHANGE IN STRENGTH IS FORECAST DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.

TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 105 MILES (165 KM) PRIMARILY TO

THE EAST OF THE CENTER.

THE ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE IS 1005 MB...29.68 INCHES.

ON THE FORECAST TRACK, THE CENTER OF ERIKA IS EXPECTED TO PASS JUST SOUTH ST.

MAARTEN THURSDAY MORNING, HOWEVER STORM CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED LATER

TONIGHT.

HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND AND SEA

WIND:

Tropical storm force winds are expected within the local area by tonight through Thursday.

RAINFALL:

Erika is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 3 to 5 inches with maximum amounts of 8 inches

across portions of the Northern Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico through Friday morning.

STORM SURGE/WAVES:

Erika expected to produce waves up to 13 feet near the center of the Storm as it approaches the Northern

Leeward Islands. Some coastal flooding and beach erosion is possible on Thursday as the storm passes its

nearest to St. Maarten.

ALL CITIZENS/ RESIDENTS SHOULD REMAIN VIGILANT AND MAKE PREPARATIONS TO

PROTECT LIFE AND PROPERTY AND BE READY TO TAKE THE NECESSARY ACTION WHEN

CALLED UPON.

THE METEOROLOGICAL DEPARTMENT WILL CONTINUE TO MONITOR TROPICAL STORM

ERIKA AND ISSUE SPECIAL WEATHER BULLETINS.

The next update will be issued today at 17:30 Lst (21:30 UTC).

_________________________________________________________________________________________

___

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE

EXPECTED SOMEWHERE WITHIN THE WARNING AREA...GENERALLY WITHIN 36 HOURS


Tropical storm warning issued for St. Maarten, Saba, Statia

page5a085PHILIPSBURG--A tropical storm warning was issued for St. Maarten, Saba, St. Eustatius and Anguilla by their respective meteorological services at 11:00pm on Tuesday. The warning replaced the watches that had been in place from early Tuesday morning in connection with the passing of Tropical Storm Erika.

The French side of the island – St. Martin – is under a tropical storm watch, as are Montserrat, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, Guadeloupe, St. Barths, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.

On the forecast track, the centre of Erika will be near the Northeastern Caribbean Wednesday night and early Thursday. Tropical storm conditions are expected within the warning area by late Wednesday and tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area by Wednesday night or early Thursday, said the Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC).

This is the first time since the 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season started on June 1 that a warning has been issued for St. Maarten and surrounding islands. A tropical storm warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area within 36 hours. A watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours.

St. Maarten was under a tropical storm watch from Saturday into Monday for what later become the remnants of Tropical Storm Danny. None of the islands were affected by that storm.

However, things are expected to be different with Erika, which was named by NHC on Monday night. Erika was described in NHC’s 11:00pm bulletin as “poorly organised” as it continues toward the Northeastern Caribbean.

The centre of Tropical Storm Erika was located at the time of the bulletin near latitude 16.0 North, longitude 54.4 West, moving toward the West near 18mph (30km/h), and a West to West-Northwestward motion at a slightly slower forward speed was expected over the next 48 hours.

Maximum sustained winds were near 40mph (65km/h) with higher gusts. No significant change in strength is forecast during the next 48 hours.

Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 105 miles (165km) to the North and East of the centre.

The estimated minimum central pressure is 1006 millibars (29.71 inches).

Erika is expected to produce total rain accumulations of two to four inches over many of the Leeward Islands through Thursday.

Erika also is expected to produce waves up to 13 feet near its centre as it approaches the Northern Leeward Islands. Some coastal flooding and beach erosion is possible on Thursday as the storm passes its nearest to St. Maarten.

While residents are not looking forward to the wind and gusts, many are glad for rain to saturate the badly drought-affected islands.

The Office of Disaster Management in an advisory issued early on Tuesday called on residents to make preparations to protect life and property.

Residents also are advised to monitor weather reports on

www.meteosxm.com and to check Government’s website

www.sintmaartengov.org or

Facebook.com/governmentofsintmaarten for information about the storm and storm related preparations.

NAPB backs Dennis, says RST should do foot patrol

page8a085PHILIPSBURG--Nationale Algemene Politie Bond (NAPB), St. Maarten's police union, is firmly backing Justice Minister Dennis Richardson's as he makes his case regarding the Dutch Government's plans to strengthen the justice chain in the country without St. Maarten's input.

Richardson is currently in the Netherlands to -amongst other things- give St. Maarten's position on the matter. NAPB President Jeanine Peterson said the union has taken a firm stand to back Richardson, who left St. Maarten on Saturday and is expected to meet with, amongst other persons, Dutch Minister of Security and Justice Ard van der Steur and Dutch Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk on the matter.

Peterson said while the Dutch want to send 50 Kingdom Detective Cooperation Team RST members to St. Maarten for different departments in the justice field, the local force "really needs them to come and help out the men and women in blue," and not the various departments. "NAPB isn't backing down from this issue. We don't need police officers to be sitting down in offices. We need police officers on the road. We need foot patrol. We need more patrol on the road," she said on Tuesday.

Richardson had told the media last week that St. Maarten was not given an opportunity to make an input in the Dutch Government's plans for the strengthening of the justice chain, although a protocol is in place, which indicates that the plans would be hammered out with St. Maarten's input. The minister said he was not "amused" by the attitude of Dutch National Police Chief Gerard Bouman, who presented the plans to him during his recent visit to St. Maarten, and denied St. Maarten an opportunity to give its input.

During his visit, Bouman informed Richardson that he was not here to work out the protocol on the strengthening of the justice chain in St. Maarten. Bouman told the minister he wanted to inform him that he met with Van der Steur and Plasterk, who decided that their priority is combating corruption in St. Maarten.

Bouman also told Richardson that 50 Kingdom Detective Cooperation Team RST members will be sent to St. Maarten, and that 22 million euros will be used to strengthen the justice chain, in particular the Prosecutor's Office and judges.

Richardson said when he informed Bouman that he signed a protocol in the Netherlands, which stipulates that St. Maarten will work out the details together with the Dutch, Bouman said, "We don't need you."

Peterson also raised the issue of the status of immigration officers not yet being regulated. "NAPB has been asking for at least two years now for the status of immigration officers to be regulated, and to date, this has been in vain," she said, adding that the union wants clarification on the status of immigration officers. "NAPB wants to know if any law has been changed with regard to them. And if so, by whom and why was NAPB not informed on this issue," she said.

"NAPB is taking a firm stand. We want answers on everything that has to do with the safety of our members (dienst ongevallen), as well as of their promotion, etc. The administrative personnel are still awaiting any type or form of promotions due to them."

Peterson said the union thought that the fatal killing of hero officer, the late Gamali "Benji" Benjamin, would have brought together the partners in the disciplined services. She said, however, that it appears that this incident did the opposite and is "tearing us more apart from one another."

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