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Questions in Second Chamber about Statia vote against Isabella

THE HAGUE--Members of the Dutch Parliament's Second Chamber of Socialist Party (SP) and Party for Freedom PVV have posed questions to Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk concerning the motion against new Government Representative Gilbert Isabella, which was unanimously adopted by the Island Council of St. Eustatius on Tuesday.

In the motion, all Island Council members stated they had no confidence in the newly appointed Government Representative for Bonaire, Statia and Saba.

SP Member of Parliament (MP) Ronald van Raak wanted to know how Minister Plasterk would respond to the motion.

The Island Council was against Isabella because he was considered inexperienced and unable to handle the specific problems of the Caribbean Netherlands.

It was also stated that the agreed procedure leading to Isabella's appointment was not followed.

Van Raak wants the minister to respond to the critique and also wanted to know if the Island Council of Saba and Bonaire were still in support of the new Government Representative.

"Which consequences does the unanimously adopted motion have for the position of the newly appointed Government Representative?" he asked.

PVV leader Geert Wilders and fellow party member Sietse Fritsma also posed a number of pointed questions concerning the controversial Government Representative.

The PVV fraction in the Second Chamber is highly critical of the appointment of the former Utrecht alderman, who is a member of Dutch government coalition partner labour PvdA. Minister Plasterk is of the same party affiliation.

PVV called Isabella a "dysfunctional, controversial former alderman" and labelled his appointment as "nepotism."

"How many dysfunctional and/or corrupt PvdA members have to be put in a job annually?" PVV asked.

PVV also asked Minister Plasterk to ensure that Isabella would never set foot in Bonaire, Statia or Bonaire, unless for vacation purposes.

Plasterk wants report on Aruba within days

ARUBA--Dutch Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk wants an interim report on the financial situation of Aruba within a few days. While the island's private sector social partners have expressed concern over the continued "Mexican standoff" and hunger strike by Prime Minister Mike Eman (AVP), member of the Second Chamber of Parliament in The Hague Wassila Hachchi says the Netherlands is "using a cannon to shoot a mosquito."

"Considering the acute situation in Aruba the governor has now been asked if the investigators can come with a quick-scan that is expected in a matter of days," the Kingdom Relations Department stated on Thursday.

Together with other opposition parties CDA and SP, D66 is trying to get the Parliamentary Kingdom Relations Committee to send a letter to the Council of State asking about the lawfulness of the instruction to Governor Fredis Refunjol not to sign the budget and have it investigated. The Rutte-cabinet isn't willing to seek the council's opinion as Eman had requested.

Hachchi: "All this doesn't bring us one step closer to resolving the issue. Plasterk should get on a plane and go make a gesture. They are closing the door and the matter is escalating. A prime minister on hunger strike in our Kingdom; that's just not right is it?"

Meanwhile, the Aruba Trade and Industry Association (ATIA), the Chamber of Commerce and various labour unions are worried about the current impasse and urge a fast solution. The representatives of employers and workers also stated such in a meeting with the governor.

Sarah sends words of comfort to Dutch

PHILIPSBURG--Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams has expressed condolences to the Dutch Government and people on behalf of St. Maarten on the death of a large number of Dutch citizens who were on board a Malaysia Airlines flight that went down in Ukraine on Thursday.

"Our thoughts are with the friends and families of those that were affected by this horrible tragedy," Wescot-Williams said in a press statement from her cabinet.

At least 154 Dutch citizens were on the Boeing 777 that left Amsterdam en route to Malaysia. The aircraft was carrying a total of 295 people.

Nature Foundation collects plastic bottles for recycling

page7b050COLE BAY--Nature Foundation has started to collect plastic bottles from marinas, yachts and boats in Simpson Bay Lagoon and from Cole Bay residents, and carting these to the recycling bins placed on W.J.A. Nisbeth Road, across from Blue Point, by St. Maarten Recycling. The company ships the recyclables off island for processing.

Disposable water bottles are made of recyclable polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastics. PET plastics do not biodegrade; they photo-degrade meaning they break down into smaller fragments over time. Those fragments absorb toxins that pollute ponds and lagoons, contaminate the soil and sicken animals.

Plastic trash also absorbs organic pollutants and can take centuries to decompose while sitting in the landfill. This can amount to endless billions of little environmentally poisonous time bombs.

Plastic bottles, according to Ocean Conservatory, are the most prevalent form of pollution found on beaches and in oceans worldwide. Every square mile of the ocean has more than 46,000 pieces of floating plastic and 10 per cent of the plastics manufactured worldwide ends up in the ocean; the majority settling on the ocean floor where it will never degrade.

The foundation urges all residents to make use of the collection bins to dispose of cardboard, plastic and aluminium containers.

Nature Foundation urges the community to make use of the recycling bins on W.J.A. Nisbeth Road. Those on the Western side of the island can contact Nature Foundation for pick up information at (721) 544-4267 or St. Maarten Recycle at (721) 543-0155.

Two killed, six injured in gang shooting at airport

page15a050WILLEMSTAD--Two people were killed and half a dozen injured in a brazen shooting just outside the arrival hall of Curaçao's airport on Tuesday night as passengers of Air Berlin were exiting.

The gang-related incident apparently involved members of "No Limit Soldiers" (NLS) of Koraal Specht and "Buena Vista City" (BVC). All indications are that the "hit" was planned this way because the targets would not have been able to carry firearms onto the flight from Düsseldorf and therefore would be unable to defend themselves.

One of the men, 35-year-old Erwin Adriano "Jais" Juliana, was shot with automatic weapons. He was hit in the head and died on the spot. Juliana was well-known to the police and is said to have played an important role within BVC. His brother Destry already had been shot dead on Biminisweg in Buena Vista in August 2012, reportedly in the gang war with NLS.

The other victim was 22 years old, but his name had not yet been released up to press time because relatives had not yet identified the body. He was rushed to the hospital, but died there soon afterward.

In addition to many empty cartridges police found two handguns on the scene, a Glock and a Beretta, one of which was lying next to one of the victims.

It seems the two victims were NLS members while the assailants are with BVC. The shooters fled the scene in two vehicles after the attack, evidently driving straight through the beams that seal off the parking lot. Unconfirmed reports stated that one of the cars had been set on fire later and left behind in the Fuik area.

Six other passengers, including a visitor, were hit by stray bullets and taken to the hospital, several of them requiring surgery. Among the casualties was Miss Curaçao finalist Chloe Jansen, who was listed as in stable condition. Others at the scene were traumatised and required psychological guidance.

The local hospitality sector is shocked by the event and its possible effect on tourism. Justice Minister Nelson Navarro (PAIS) gave a national speech on radio and television Wednesday night in which he assured that the culprits would be punished. "We are on their tail," he reassured.

Prime Minister Ivar Asjes (PS) said another limit had been surpassed "and it must be clear to all that this cannot remain without consequences." He added that government could not solve the crime problem alone and help from the community was needed.

Coalition members Humphrey Davelaar (PNP) and independent (former PAR) parliamentarian Glenn Sulvaran immediately requested an urgent fraction leaders meeting with the presence of Asjes and Navarro, which was called for Wednesday afternoon.

Opposition leader Gerrit Schotte (MFK) protested, arguing that a matter of such great general interest should not be discussed in a confidential closed-door session, but rather in a public meeting that he reserves the right to request.

Among those who witnessed the Hato Airport shooting first-hand was a group of some 40 visiting Scouts who had just arrived for the Caribbean Jamboree taking place on the island.

St. Maarten Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams also was at the airport in transit to Aruba at the time of the shooting. She reportedly did not see the crime herself, but experienced the commotion it caused.

There is word that the confessed triggerman in last year's murder of PS leader Helmin Wiels, NLS member Elvis "Monster" K., had been arrested before that for alleged plans to kill "Jais" in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. A 27-year-old man from Zaandam was held at the time for the same reason.

Some say the airport shooting is related to the recent assassination of Antillean top criminal Gwenette Martha in Amsterdam.

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