Thursday, Jul 09th

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The Hague pays off Statia’s debt

~ Bijleveld-Schouten starts Caribbean visit Monday ~

THE HAGUE--Dutch Government announced on Friday that it has started the reorganisation of the backlog in payments of the Island Territory of St. Eustatius to the general Antillean pension fund APNA.
The amount of the money is NAf. 6,686,652.15, almost 2.3 million euros, and involves the backlog up to and including 2005. The backlog in payments of 2006 and 2007 will also be paid as soon as the Council for Financial Supervision CFT renders a positive advice. The amount for 2006 and 2007 is NAf. 1,384,667 (55,280 euros).
The debts of the Island Territory of Curaçao will also be paid of the Country the Netherlands Antilles, it was announced in a press release issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations BZK on Friday.
The reorganisation of Curaçao's debts was agreed upon in the most recent Political Steering Group (PSG) meeting on December 9, 2009.
In the near future, an amount of more than NAf. 43 million (some 15.5 million euros) will be paid to Curaçao so the debts of Study Financing Foundation Curaçao SSC, the garbage collection and waste processing company Selikor, the drug rehabilitation foundation FMA, the educational centre Feffik, the road fund Stichting Wegenfonds Curaçao and the bus company Autobusbedrijf Curaçao could be paid.
The Netherlands is reorganising the debts so the new entities, Countries Curaçao and St. Maarten, and the BES islands - Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba - as part of the Dutch Constellation, could start with a clean sheet when the Country the Netherlands Antilles is dismantled October 10, 2010.
As agreed upon in the Final Declaration of November 2006, there are conditions attached to the debt reorganisation, such as financial supervision and good governance codes. State Secretary of Kingdom Relations, Ank Bijleveld-Schouten, has ceased payments to Bonaire "because it is unclear whether the island wants to stick to the earlier agreements," it was stated in the press release.
Bijleveld-Schouten starts a five-day visit to Aruba and Curaçao this Monday. On Monday, she will first visit Aruba where she will meet Governor Fredis Refunjol, several members of the cabinet, Chairman of Parliament Andy Lee and the faction leaders of the political parties. On Tuesday, she meets with Aruba's Council of Ministers and will visit the Police Force.
On Wednesday, Bijleveld-Schouten will be in Curaçao. The main agenda point during that visit will be the progress of constitutional reform in the Kingdom. On Thursday, there will be a political consultation with the Country the Netherlands Antilles, Curaçao and St. Maarten.
On the agenda of the PSG will be the cooperation of the police forces of the new countries and the corps for the BES islands, as well as the joint facility to combat organised and international crime. Bijleveld-Schouten will return to the Netherlands on Friday.

Election expected around mid-June

WILLEMSTAD--In all probability the elections for the Island Council to become the new Parliament of Country Curaçao will be held somewhere mid-June. In the political corridors in Willemstad there is talk of June 11 or 18.
One of the reasons to hold the elections in June is that many families will be spending their holidays abroad during the school vacation in July/August. To hold the elections after the holidays would be too late, as the Island Territories Curaçao and St. Maarten will acquire the status of country per October 10.
This explains the serious consideration to hold the elections in June. However, this would imply that the nomination for the elections should take place the required sixty days before, which is sometime in April.
The latter is only a few weeks after the new Central Government and Antillean Parliament will have taken office. The election would also be less than six months after the recent parliamentary elections of January 22.
The Island Council is yet to take a final decision on the election date.
With the shifting of the central point of government administration, due to the massive transfer of tasks and authorities of the Central Government to the Island Territories, the position of those Island Territories will fundamentally change, hence the importance of holding elections.
During the Political Steering Committee Constitutional Changes of July 24, 2009, Curaçao and St. Maarten had indicated that it would be advisable to hold snap elections at island-level in view of the preparation for country status, in connection with the way content is given to the representative entities at the start of the new constitutional relations,.
Holding snap elections of the Island Council also plays a role in the realisation of the Constitutions for the new countries Curaçao and St. Maarten. One of the conditions stipulates that the draft constitution should be determined by an island ordinance and be accepted by a two-thirds majority votes.
If the draft is accepted with a majority less than two-thirds of the cast votes, the Island Council should be dissolved and a new Island Council elected. That newly elected Island Council could then accept the draft constitution with a normal majority if needed.
The federal ordinance for amendment of the Islands Regulation Netherlands Antilles ERNA that should enable the Island Councils of the Island Territories Curaçao and St. Maarten to be dissolved separately and prematurely (Transition arrangement early elections Island Councils Curaçao and St. Maarten) will be discussed in the Central Committee of the Antillean Parliament next week.

Police arrest youth for robbing tourists

COLE BAY--Police arrested a young man Thursday night for robbing a tourist couple in Cole Bay.
The unidentified bandit was held near Piece of Cake gellateria last night after he and three others allegedly held up two tourists in the area. The other three escaped into the dark when they split up.
An officer fired at least one warning shot into the air to stop their escape.
An off-duty member of Simpson Bay's police patrol spotted the four running in the dark. Then the woman victim stopped him and said she had been held up. The officer pursued in his car before firing a shot to stop them.
Instead of lying on the ground, they separated, with one holding the stolen bag. The officer ran down the thief with the bag and arrested him.
The Daily Herald understands that the suspects "are known to police." "It won't be very long before we find the other three," a source said.

Principal says she didn’t assault child

RETREAT ESTATE--Prins Willem Alexander School principal Marva Brooks-Brill calls allegations that she brawled with a parent Thursday false.
"I'm very hurt by these reports," Brooks-Brill told The Daily Herald last night.
This newspaper had also heard allegations that she had struck a pupil and fought with the pupil's parents in school Thursday.
The police did not have a report on the incident at the school. Reports said she had lashed the girl with a stick, then punched her in the stomach, and in response the pupil's mother had hit her with the same stick.
Brooks-Brill said those statements were untrue. Her version of what transpired is that the girl was misbehaving and she hit her with a stick three times on her rear. "That's it," she explained.
She said there had been no fight with the parent. "That's totally false," Brooks-Brill said. "I don't know where they got that."
It is true that the parent came to the school, but the woman merely screamed and complained. "She only listened to the version from the children and didn't hear what we had to say," Brooks-Brill said.
Another teacher confirmed that the two had only exchanged words. "She did not fight with the parent," the teacher said.
Police spokesman Inspector Ricardo Henson said last night that he had not heard of any incident at the school that day.
Brooks-Brill said the child was normally unruly and had been behaving worse than usual that day. She said she preferred to talk children through bad behaviour rather than hitting them. "Licks," a colloquialism for disciplinary lashes, are a last resort. "I discipline the students the way I discipline my children – with motherly love," Brooks-Brill said.

Teenager passes away after collapsing on running track

MARIGOT--Young St. Maartener Geronimo Samson (13) passed away in hospital late Tuesday evening after collapsing on the running track during a warm-up at Alberic Richards Stadium in Sandy Ground.

Vigorous efforts to revive the boy in the stadium by the Fire Brigade paramedics and other medical emergency staff were unsuccessful.

Samson was a student of Caribbean International Academy (CIA) in Cupecoy and had been registered in an exercise clinic run by Club Avenir Sportif at the stadium, attending twice a week.

Club President and group trainer that day Patrick Trival said he was shocked, saddened, and very surprised at what had happened to Geronimo.

“He collapsed after just five minutes of warming up,” said Trival, who was the first to administer first aid on site.

“Geronimo had been with me for three years without any problems. He was not one who was an athlete or pushed hard. He was there for the exercise and to have fun with his friends.”

Trival confirmed that medical certificates were required of all children doing sports on the French side in order to get a French Federation licence. He said he did not know if Geronimo had any health problems.

While there is some speculation that the teenager might have experienced a heart attack, up to press time the cause of death could not be ascertained.



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