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Two men shot in Dutch Quarter

PHILIPSBURG--Two men were shot after an argument in Dutch Quarter on Friday, one in the upper left leg and the other in the left foot.

Victim M.B. told police that he had been driving near Star Ocean supermarket when he saw a man J.J. approaching, pointing an object from under his jacket. B. stopped his car, exited and he and J. argued. The second victim, M.G., was hit by accident.

"Both parties started pushing each other, at which time a gun that J. had hidden under his shirt fell to the ground," police spokesman Inspector Ricardo Henson said in a written statement. J. picked up the gun and a shot went off, hitting M.G., who was sitting on the step of the supermarket.

G. told the police he had heard a second shot when he tried to return home.

The two victims were taken to hospital, where the police questioned them. Doctors removed the bullet from G’s foot. The bullet that struck B. passed completely through his leg.

Thirty-five take the oath as Licensed Practical Nurses

page3b217page3c217~ Tony Pantophlet: We have invested in our own ~

CAY HILL--Health Care in St. Maarten and Saba was given a boost on Friday evening when 35 persons took the oath as Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs).

Of the 35 graduates, seven were from St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC), 19 from the White and Yellow Cross Foundation, two from St. Maarten’s Ambulance Department and seven from Saba.

Leader of Government Commissioner William Marlin praised the nurses, saying they belonged to a "special group of people," for the meticulous and caring work they did. He told the graduates and the capacity crowd at Belair Community Centre that the system did not compensate nurses the way they deserved. He also expressed hope that this would improve.

State Secretary for Health Patrick Illidge and Health Commissioner Hyacinth Richardson also praised them for their achievement.

A number of officials from Saba also attended the ceremony, including A.M. Edwards Medical Centre Director Dr. Gijs Koot, Health Commissioner Bruce Zagers, Leader of the opposition Saba Labour Party (SLP) Akilah Levenstone and Saba Health Care Department head Milva Linzey.

The LPN course and the exams were facilitated by SMMC’s Education Department team Tony Pantophlet and Brunilda Illidge, who were both praised throughout the ceremony and showered with roars of applause from the graduates and audience for their role in upgrading the workers. Pantophlet and Brunilda Illidge have played pivotal roles in upgrading a number of health care workers in the Windward Islands over the years.

Marlin said it was a calling to be a nurse and urged the graduates to improve their skills whenever they had an opportunity.

Both Pantophlet and Brunilda Illidge stressed the importance of the nurses delivering quality care as they put their skills to work.

Pantophlet said it was not an easy road, as many of the graduates had wanted to give up in the course early on. However, he had always encouraged them to continue. He said he was very proud of the graduates and urged them to treat patients the way they would want themselves or their loved ones to be treated.

He said, too, that nurses should not only care for the patients’ health, but also their social and emotional needs. "St. Maarten has to be proud; we have invested in our own," Pantophlet said.

Clarence Richardson of SMMC’s Supervisory Council said he knew it had been difficult for many of the nurses, as many of them had jobs and families, and some were single parents who juggled everything else with their classes. He commended them for their perseverance and their dedication.

Nursing School of the Netherlands Antilles IFE Director Sonia Ursulita-Rombley said she had been impressed with the nurses’ performance in their exams, stressing that they all had focussed on quality care. She said IFE would continue to cooperate with St. Maarten, even after the dismantling of the Netherlands Antilles.

At the end of the ceremony, the nurses from St. Maarten and Saba presented tokens to Brunilda Illidge and Pantophlet.

Atacho starts talks today with parties, stakeholders

PHILIPSBURG--Informateur Pedro Atacho will begin deliberations today to poll the sentiments of political parties that obtained seats in the January 22 parliamentary elections and of social partners in the Netherlands Antilles on the formation of a new Central Government.

The political parties will be sent an invitation letter as well as a list of questions to help facilitate the talks. Atacho said he would register the expectations of the social partners regarding the new Central Government.

At 9:00am today, he will meet with the social partners in Curaçao. These include the Council of Churches, the Chamber of Commerce, trade association "Vereniging Bedrijfsleven" Curaçao, the organisations of unions and the non-organised unions, the Platform of Non-Governmental Organisations and the press association Prensa Uni.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, he will meet with the social partners in Bonaire. On Wednesday and Thursday, he will meet with the social partners and the political parties in St. Maarten, Saba and St. Eustatius on their respective islands.

On Monday, February 8, Atacho will meet with the political parties in Curaçao and in Bonaire.

Atacho said that based on his discussions with the political parties and stakeholders, he would be able to come to a preliminary conclusion on which parties are willing to cooperate and, in doing so, give content to the information instructions given by the Governor of the Netherlands Antilles.

He is also scheduled to meet with Aruba’s Prime Minister Mike Eman on Thursday, February 11, to discuss the Aruba’s willingness to support the island territories of the Netherlands Antilles in their bid to obtain their respective new constitutional status.

On February 12, Atacho will present his preliminary report to the Governor of the Netherlands Antilles, which will include a "declaration of intentions" of those political parties that will form a majority in Parliament and which are willing to discuss the formation of a new government.

George: Citizens have to fight for equal rights

PHILIPSBURG--National Alliance (NA) Parliamentarian George Pantophlet says it seems the citizens in the Kingdom of the Netherlands have to fight for rights equal to those of their counterparts in the Netherlands.

In a press release on Sunday, Pantophlet said: "In the midst of having to deal with the dismantling of the Netherlands Antilles, which includes division of assets and liabilities, currency issues, the central bank, consensus kingdom laws, Committee for Financial Supervision, our justice system, the Police Force – in short, putting our infrastructure in place to take over the tasks now provided by the Central Government – we as citizens of the Kingdom of the Netherlands have to fight for our rights, equal rights within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

"At a time when we need the most cooperation from all partners, especially big sister, we are told no voting rights by almost all the members of the First and Second Chambers. But we are told about equality in the Kingdom and that we have to accept gay marriages, euthanasia and who knows what else.

"We were told to get our immigration problem under control, so we instituted the Brooks Towers Accord, and the Netherlands said that non-nationals will have easy access to the Netherlands and the Dutch nationality. Then we have the law that is still being proposed to send Netherlands Antilles problem youths back to the Netherlands Antilles while at the same time giving more rights to European Dutch to reside in the Dutch Caribbean islands.

"And today, as far as I know without any discussions with the representatives of the Netherlands Antilles, the vast majority in the Second Chamber approved the legislation proposal to amend the Kingdom Law on Dutch nationality.

"How much effect can a few English-speaking persons from the Netherlands Antilles have on a population of 16 million? I mention English because that was the previous requirement for the islands of St. Maarten, St. Eustatius and Saba, while in Aruba, Curaçao and Bonaire it was Papiamentu."

"If remaining within the Kingdom of the Netherlands brings with it the need to be able to speak, write and understand the Dutch language, why weren’t we given an opportunity to at least take part in those discussions?

"But, of course, it is a Kingdom Law approved by the First and Second Chambers, which are the highest legislative bodies in the Kingdom. The democratic deficit continues. Now I am reading where members of the Second Chamber are complaining about the decision of the Executive Council of Bonaire to exclude a group of European Dutch nationals from voting in the March 26, 2010, referendum.

"I believe the efforts of those two bodies should be on assisting St. Maarten in ensuring that all finance generated on the island remains here. These finances are needed to set up our dependencies and have a strong starting position (November 2, 2006 Final Agreement).

"I have always said that big sister (the Netherlands) has the financial and human resources with which to assist St. Maarten. It is time to put these to work in the interest of the people of St. Maarten. Then I would not have to ask the question: what rights do we have?" he said.

Workshop on dualism for Island Council members

PHILIPSBURG--A workshop on dualism themed "Dualism in Country St. Maarten 10-10-10," will be held for Lt. Governor Franklyn Richards, Island Council members, and several other officials at Sonesta Great Bay Beach Hotel on Wednesday, February 3.

The concept of dualism creates the division of power between the Council of Ministers (executive branch) and the Parliament (legislative branch). These two branches of government will be the new institutions that will govern country St. Maarten, the Government Information Service (GIS) said in a press release on Sunday.

Commissioner Xavier Blackman, Island Secretary Joane Dovale-Meit, Quartermaster for the Parliament of Country St. Maarten Cassandra Janssen and the Sector Directors are also expected to attend the workshop.

"Dualism, the separation of powers, assures checks and balances between the two branches of government, ensuring that the executive branch is supervised by the members of the legislative branch, who are representatives elected by the people," it was stated in the release.

"The current structure of Executive Council and Island Council will cease to exist on 10-10-10 and be replaced by the Council of Ministers and the Parliament of Country St. Maarten. Persons who are Members of Parliament will not be able to sit in the Council of Ministers at the same time."

The workshop is organised by the Island Secretary’s office in collaboration with the Dutch Association of Municipalities (VNG). VNG experts will share their knowledge based on their experiences of dualism in politics. Dualism workshops were first introduced to Dutch politicians in 2002.

Dutch VNG experts will present the pros and cons of dualism based on experiences in Holland. A discussion will then take place on how to introduce the concept of dualism in the new governmental institutions for country St. Maarten at the political level, to achieve a balance between the executive and legislative levels of government.

The four VNG experts who will be providing information to the workshop participants are Nico Schoof, Gilbert Isabella, Marieke Verhoeven and Famke Kweekel.

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