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Two attempted armed robberies

PHILIPSBURG--Two attempted robberies took place on Friday, September 5.

The first attempt took place around 9:40pm at Beach Plaza Casino in Philipsburg, where two armed men and a woman, dressed completely in black stormed into the establishment, armed with a gun and attempted to rob the casino.

After the suspects realised they could not take any money, they ran out of the casino, jumped into a small white car with French license plates and took off at high speed via Walter Nisbeth Road in the direction of Sucker garden.

The second armed robbery took place around 11:35pm at Paradise Casino on Welfare Road in Cole Bay, where, according to the victim, he was attacked by two armed men who threatened him by putting a gun to his head. When the men did not succeed in getting anything from the victim, they ran out of the casino and jumped into a small white car before speeding off in the direction of Marigot.

Both attempted robberies are been investigated by the Special Robbery Unit.

Fully electric car takes to St. Maarten roads

page9b095PHILIPSBURG--It looks like any other car on the road, but a closer look at the name tag will boldly proclaim – Nissan Leaf (Leading, Environmentally friendly, Affordable, Family car) – one of the world's leading fully electric cars.

This blue car was purchased by Jim and Jody Rosen for its environmentally friendliness and as an investment in their only granddaughter Abigail's stake in a better planet. "This is not for us. It is for Abigail and her generation," said the proud grandparents.

Jim is an avid motorbike rider. However, when Abigail came along two years ago, the need for a car became clear. "After driving a bike all my life, I actually reach for the car first now," he said.

In depth research online and Jim's already vast knowledge about using solar panels to generate energy led to the selection of Nissan Leaf.

Instead of US $50 per week for gas on St. Maarten, the average driver will pay US $16.50 per week, some US $900 per year.

"Add in fewer parts for maintenance (like none for servicing and a Leaf is almost free in a few years! And it does better in floods than your regular gas engine too," Jim said.

The Leaf can go up to 3.6 miles per kilowatt. Twenty miles per gallon of gas in St. Maarten costs about US $5.40.The same distance in the Leaf charged on GEBE power is about US $1.83.

Jim's home is completely powered by solar panels. "Our home runs on solar and is off the grid and now our car gets around the island with zero emissions and powered along with our house by the sunlight that falls on less than a quarter of our roof. So I have solar, but even with GEBE there is a big savings with the Leaf."

The Nissan Leaf retails for around $18,000 pre-owned. It is a compact five-door hatchback electric car manufactured by Nissan and introduced in Japan and the United States in December 2010. The US Environmental Protection Agency official range for the 2013 model year Leaf is 121 km (75 miles) and rated the Leaf's combined fuel economy at 115 miles per US gallon gasoline equivalent.

The downside of owning a Leaf on St. Maarten is it has no warranty outside of the United States. This makes it a costly investment, Jim said. He believes it is time for regulations to make it easier to own and maintain electric cars.

"St. Maarten is more threatened by global warming than other countries. When do we decide we cannot afford the consequences of not so very cheap fossil fuels," Jim said. "I have been an environmentalist for over 40 years and unlike many so-called environmentalists I have lived it rather than talked about it. I have personally planted over 100,000 trees."

Man stabbed outside GEBE, bystanders provide first aid

page1b094PHILIPSBURG--A man was taken to St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) in critical condition after having been stabbed repeatedly on Walter Nisbeth Road, commonly known as the Pond Fill, outside the GEBE building. The incident happened shortly before 4:00pm.

Bystanders saved the victim's life by applying a tourniquet to stem what was believed to be an arterial bleed, possibly of the femoral artery.

People had been waiting near GEBE when they heard someone say that a fight was ongoing. The man who helped the victim said that he walked past and saw a number of men. One of the men was bleeding, and he wondered why the other men did not help him. He then saw a small knife and realised what had happened. As he approached the group, the man with the knife ran off.

The man saw that the victim was bleeding heavily and had multiple stab wounds on the legs, with blood spurting out of one of the wounds. Aided by another bystander, a woman, he used both his own belt as well as hers to place tourniquets on both of the man's legs.

The police were called and they, in turn, called an ambulance. "The ambulance would have been faster if people would have dialled 912, the dedicated ambulance number, rather than the police number, 911," a woman in the crowd said.

When asked how he knew what to do, the 41-year-old man who had placed the tourniquet stated that he had been in the army for six years. He did not want to have his photograph taken or give his name.

The incident left the Good Samaritan covered in blood, and someone fetched him a bucket of water to clean his hands. His white trainers were also covered in blood. Paramedics told the man that he had saved the victim's life.

Detectives, uniformed officers and the Forensics Department were at the scene and an investigation into the incident is ongoing.

A police report about the incident stated that "on the scene, the investigating officers encountered a man with the initials R.D.C. (38) lying on the ground and who was bleeding from several stab wounds to his back and lower right leg. The victim was treated on the scene by paramedics and then transported to the St. Maarten Medical Center for further treatment. The victim was stabilised, but could not give a statement due to his condition." The statement further mentioned that "the suspect in the case still remains unknown and has not yet been arrested."

After initial treatment on the scene, the victim was taken to SMMC by paramedics and by a Windward Islands Emergency Medical Services (WIEMS) Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). After completing their EMT course, certified people have to complete a minimum of 40 hours as a trainee on an ambulance, giving them hands-on experience.

At the time of press, the victim was at SMMC in a stable condition and detectives are expecting to be able to speak to the man today, Saturday.

Anyone with any information about the incident is requested to contact the Detectives Department at Philipsburg Police Station or call the anonymous tip line at tel. 9300.

Leona dispels rumours, committed to US Party

page4a094PHILIPSBURG--"I am still a candidate...I am a member of the United St. Maarten (US) Party and there I shall stay. There is where the people asked me to be and that's where I am at." This was the firm statement from Member of Parliament (MP)-Elect Leona Marlin-Romeo at a press conference with her party leader, MP Frans Richardson, on Friday in Parliament House.

The press conference was held to curb "the innuendos and stories" being circulated from "living a life of their own" in the community, said Richardson. Those "rumours" about Marlin-Romeo leaving the party were widely circulated in the blogosphere and shared on Facebook throughout Thursday.

"The point is I have not jumped ship. The point is I am standing next to Frans Richardson...I am not going anywhere," Marlin-Romeo said.

She added: "I am a woman of my word. The people supported me to stay where I am and I respect that. There is no need for Leona Marlin to cross over to any other political lines. I gave my word to Frans Richardson. There is assurance there. I don't have to doubt myself. I am a person of integrity and I am not going anywhere after USP. You will see me here in 2018 as well."

She, however, pointed out "there is not a government as yet" as the pending National Alliance (NA)/US Party/Democratic Party (DP) coalition government only becomes official on October 10, when the MPs are sworn in and the ministers take office as of October 11.

To the 245 people who voted for her, Marlin-Romeo said it was her "responsibility" to assure them that the talks "about the jumping and about the money-taking, that was not true.

"I find it unfortunate that people would try to slander my name in public," she said, adding that the comments on social media are "not going to break me."

In Parliament, her stance will not change and she will represent not only those who voted for her, but the entire St. Maarten. "If something is not right in my opinion, I am going to voice my opinion...I am not going to [leave it alone – Ed.] because of party lines. If it is good for the country, the country will get my support at the end of the day...I gave my word to the people to represent them and give them proper representation, that is exactly my intention."

Marlin-Romeo said she was not personally approached "by any other party to run with them or to jump over." "Absolutely not, none of them came to me in person, because I would not entertain such."

She did confirm that her team members were "addressed by other team members." That, however, "does not make it that Leona is going to go...no!"

The MP-Elect said she did raise concerns with Richardson and party President Cecil Nicholas about the division of portfolios allocated to the party in the governing accord. She and Richardson declined to make public the content of those discussions.

Answering the question directed to Marlin-Romeo about the concerns, Richardson said, "As leader of the political party, I would not want to go into details. I think those details should remain within the party and the negotiation teams. Those are internal issues we want to keep internal."

When the question from the broadcast journalist was redirected to Marlin-Romeo, Richardson reaffirmed that "as leader of the political party, I will be the one taking that responsibility."

Marlin-Romeo: "And I respect his decision."

At the opening of the press conference, Richardson said the party remained "committed to doing what is right for the people." That commitment was formalised in the two agreements he signed with NA and DP.

"Nothing has changed so far as Frans Richardson is concerned," he said about his commitment to the agreements.

"Governance is serious for the US Party. We do not take it lightly and [will – Ed.] give content to in the coming four years...I have the support of the party board and candidates. As far as we are concerned, there is simply no room for any manoeuvring that will endanger us from moving forward," Richardson said.

Commenting to the feeling of US Party's coalition partners, Richardson said, in any coalition, there would be feelings of uneasiness if anything like what US Party is dealing with comes out.

"We have assured our coalition partners that we are here to stay. We have signed an agreement and we are going to work it out and we are going to make sure we have a government for the people of St. Maarten," he said.

Netherlands Royal Marines

page1a094The Netherlands Royal Marines recently carried out their mid-term deployment tradition of cutting in half a wooden pole which symbolises having reached midway in their deployment in Sint Maarten. The two Marines were Commander of the Netherlands Royal Marines in Sint Maarten Major Patrick Wokke and Marine First Class Pieter Lammerse. The current crop of Marines is the second rotational detachment, which is on the island for a period of four months. The Marines operate from Marine Base Pointe Blanche which is located in Port St. Maarten.

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