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Age for minimum wage will drop from 21 to 18

PHILIPSBURG--The age at which a worker will be eligible to receive the minimum wage will be reduced from 21 to age 18. Labour Minister Cornelius de Weever told reporters on Wednesday that this proposal, made by seasoned trade unionist Willy Haize of the United Federation of the Windward Antilles UFA has been discussed and approved by the Tripartite Committee. The Committee comprises representatives of government, business and labour. The proposal is currently being processed by the relevant department for implementation. The minimum wage currently stands at NAf. 8.33 per hour. De Weever said “we” have personally indexed the minimum wage over the last two years, as it had not been done for the ten years prior.

Tip-off leads to arrest for marijuana, stolen vehicles

page3a049PHILIPSBURG--A man was arrested after four stolen vehicles and 23 marijuana plants were found at his address on Paris Drive in the Bishop Hill area on Tuesday, a police press release stated.

The police acted on a tip-off when they attended the address, where they found the two Suzuki SX4 cars, a Kia Sportage and a Hyundai Getz.

During the investigation, it became clear that the Vehicle Identification Numbers (VINs) on some of these vehicles were tampered with while the documents for another vehicle did not correspond for that specific vehicle. At least one of these cars was reported stolen in French St. Martin.

Whilst searching the premises, officers found 23 marijuana plants at the back of the house. These were confiscated for further investigation, along with the vehicles.

In connection with this case, a man S.C. was arrested and taken to the police headquarters, where he remains in custody for further investigation.

National Accounts Survey starts today

~ Businesses urged to cooperate ~

PHILIPSBURG--The Department of Statistics STAT is informing the business community, specifically institutions with ten or more employees, that the National Accounts Survey will start today, July 16.

The annual survey aims to collect financial data from all industries so that the local economy's performance can be measured.

All institutions with 10 or more employees can expect to receive an Annual Report questionnaire pertaining to the 2013 fiscal year. A sample selection also has been made of institutions with fewer than 10 employees, whose participation is obligatory by law. STAT therefore urges businesses' cooperation for the survey period, which runs to the end of the year.

Six freelance interviewers are in charge of the surveys' delivery and return. They are able to assist in filling out the form and can be provided with annual reports to facilitate the process.

STAT said the National Accounts Survey was critically important to provide regular local statistics on economic developments.

For additional information, contact STAT at 549-0235 or at

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Plasterk says governor has right to put budget on hold

THE HAGUE--Governor Fredis Refunjol has the right to put the budget of Aruba on hold temporarily, pending an investigation and eventual response by the Government of Aruba, when there are doubts about the budget's contents, Dutch Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk stated Tuesday in response to questions posed by Members of the Dutch Parliament's Second Chamber.

Minister Plasterk answered the questions also on behalf of Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

Centre-Democrat D66 and Christian Democrat CDA had posed questions about the steps taken by the Kingdom Council of Ministers on Friday, concerning the governor's signing of the budget and the so-called instruction.

According to Aruba, the measures by the Council of Ministers were unjustified, because Aruba is an autonomous country within the Kingdom and, as such, responsible for its own financial policy.

However, the Dutch government is of the opinion that the governor, as Kingdom Representative, is obligated to take measures when there are suspicions that a budget is in violation of valid laws and regulations, it appeared from Plasterk's answers.

Prime Minister Rutte and Minister Plasterk often referred to the Regulations of the Governor of Aruba, but these do not mention the possibility of putting a budget "on hold for a short period of time," as was stated.

Plasterk has no doubt about the legality of the Council of Ministers' measures. "The decisions of the Kingdom of Council of Ministers are conscientious and lawful. Putting the decision to adopt the budget on hold and the investigation both serve the purpose of ascertaining whether there is a violation of interest, the care or safeguarding of which is a Kingdom matter," Plasterk wrote.

Plasterk further stated that not the Netherlands, but Aruba did not adhere to arrangements about the installation of an independent investigating committee. According to him, Aruba already knew on July 3 that the investigations into the budget would be carried out via the secretariat of the Committee for Financial Supervision CFT.

"That is, after all, the only institution within the Kingdom charged with a similar task. With this arrangement, the necessity of an instruction by the governor no longer seemed to be feasible."

According to Minister Plasterk, it emerged from contacts with the Aruba government that Prime Minister Mike Eman did not want to adhere to these arrangements. That was the reason behind the Kingdom Council of Ministers' decision of July 11 to ask Refunjol to put the budget on hold and start an investigation.

The Council of State should launch an investigation into the conflict "as soon as possible," D66 Member of Parliament Wassila Hachchi said on the Caribisch Netwerk website.

Hachchi said questions remained about the legitimacy of the Council of Ministers' decisions and CFT's role in the investigations was also unclear.

"A third party should look into this and the Council of State is most suited to provide clarity on the matter," she stated.

According to Hachchi, the Dutch Cabinet did not come with a solution. She had said earlier that she wanted to take away any doubt about the lawfulness of the Council of Ministers' acts.

Cay Hill road closure Thursday and Friday

CAY HILL--The Ministry of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Development and Infrastructure VROMI has announced that there will be interruption to the traffic flow on Welgelegen Road in Cay Hill between Ekono supermarket and the bus parking lot, from 6:00am Thursday, July 17, to 4:30pm Friday, July 18.

Only official emergency vehicles will be allowed access during this time.

Traffic from A.J.C. Brouwer Road heading to St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) must go through Tiger and Jaguar Roads, entering Welgelegen Road via Hyena Road, thereby avoiding the main entrance to Welgelegen Road near ACE Hardware store.

Traffic coming from SMMC towards A.J.C. Brouwer Road must use Puma Road, which is located directly after Raoul Illidge Sports Complex, and continue along Jaguar, Lion and Tiger Roads.

The road closure is in connection with sewage pit and drainage pipe installation being carried out by Windward Roads.

Motorists and pedestrians are requested to be observant of directional signs. Heavy equipment will be used.

VROMI apologises for any inconvenience caused.

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