Curacao General Strike Ends in Accord

WILLEMSTAD—Thursday’s the general strike of labour unions in Curaçao ended in the evening after agreement was reached during an urgent meeting between government and the social partners.

WILLEMSTAD—Thursday’s the general strike of labour unions in Curaçao ended in the evening after agreement was reached during an urgent meeting between government and the social partners.
The island’s employers represented by business association VBC pledged 1.8 million Antillean guilders to bridge the remaining gap between contractors’ association AAV and the SGTK union representing their workers at the Isla oil refinery. Parties had already agreed on a two-year Collective Labour Agreement (CLA) with annual pay raises of 6 and 3 per cent, but the SGTK wanted a lump sum of NAf 3,000 per person for the last two years without a new CLA, while AAV would give only NAf 500.

Exactly how the private sector came up with the money to cover the balance was not immediately clear, but the funds were to be transferred to the union’s lawyer today, Friday. SGTK was to hold a general meeting this afternoon on arranging the payments.

Earlier a judge had rejected the petition by AAV to order the SGTK union to end the strike of its members that lasted almost three weeks. The court ruled that the strike was not unlawful in light of the dispute related to the CLA.

The verdict did not concern the general strike by 23 unions gathered at seven locations.

There was also another injunction filed by Curaçao Airport Partners (CAP) against civil servant union ABVO asking to forbid a strike because CAP was not a party in any labour conflict. However, ABVO said it had not called its members at the airport to join the strike or at least not intended to so do and CAP was operating normally, so the judge dismissed the case

A third summary proceeding of the unions against the island-wide ban by Justice Minister Nelson Navarro on crowds with the goal to demonstrate was held pending a meeting called by government, which led to an agreement and ended the strike. The public order decree was subsequently withdrawn.

curacao strike
curacao strike

Navarro, Prime Minister Ben Whiteman, Finance Minister Jose Jardim and Labour Minister Ruthmilda Larmonie-Cecilia represented government during the meeting at Kura Hulanda that led to a solution.

In addition to the SGTK issue and Navarro’s public order decree, the general strike was aimed at a law unanimously passed by Parliament to regulate all government-owned companies, foundations and other entities, whereby the freedom to negotiate employment conditions with the unions would allegedly be restricted.

The PS/PAIS/PAR/PNP/Sulvaran coalition leaders in Parliament held a press conference during which they announced that the national ordinance not yet signed into law should be discussed with experts of the unions and re-evaluated if necessary. They asked the Council of Ministers to work in that direction.

During the meeting a newer version of the draft ordinance with several modifications was presented and parties agreed to have a dialogue on the matter and address the concerns before it is signed into law.

Source: The Daily Herald

 

Dutch Sint Maarten Police Seeking Assistance in “Copper” Murder Case

The police department is again reaching out to the public for their assistance in the ongoing “Copper” investigation.

Police Department seeks help from community in the “Copper” murder case

The police department is again reaching out to the public for their assistance in the ongoing “Copper” investigation.

arrest anguilla

This investigation is regarding the shooting of the man known as Jimenez in Sucker garden on January 25th 2016. The victim Jimenez lost his life as a result of this shooting.

This case is still under investigation and the police needs more information that can lead to the arrest of the suspect(s) in this case. A plea for the assistance from the public has been prepared in the English and Spanish language.
English:

The police force of Sint Maarten is requesting the assistance form the public to help solve the shooting incident which took place on January 25th 2016 in Sucker Garden whereby the man Jimenez, a Dominican national, was gunned down by an unknown assailant(s).

Anyone who may have information that can lead to the arrest of the suspect(s) can call the anonymous tip line number of the police department. The number is #9300. If you prefer to use a direct line please call 54-22222 ext. 106 . Your cooperation is highly appreciated.

Spanish:
El cuerpo policial de Sint Maarten esta pidiendo la asistencia de la comunidad encuanto el assesinato del 25 de enero 2016, en Sucker Garden, en qual el senor Jimenez de la Republica Dominicana fue abatido a tiros.

Personas que tienen alguna informacion sobre este assesinato pueden llamar el numero anonimo del departamento de la policia #9300. Si desean usar la linea directo pueden llamar al numero 54-22222 ext 106. Tu cooperacion va a ser muy apreciada.

Government News

Bon Trabou di Polis! Good Job by the Curacao Police in Massive Drug Bust.

7 Arma i 184 kilo cocaina, 11 kilo mariwana i 18.000 florin konfiská awe !

7 Weapons plus 184 Kilos of cocaine, 11 Kilos Marijuana and fls/naf 18.000 Guilders confiscated today!

Bon trabou di polis ! Great Job By Curacao Police in Drug Bust

Curacao Polis Drug Bust
Curacao Police Drug Bust

7 Arma i 184 kilo cocaina, 11 kilo mariwana i 18.000 florin konfiská awe !

7 Weapons plus 184 Kilos of cocaine, 11 Kilos Marijuana and fls/naf 18.000 Guilders confiscated today!
Djamars den oranan di mardugá un unidat polisial ku tabata kore riba Schottegatweg-Noord a tuma nota di dos vehíkulo sospechoso i a duna e shofùrnan òrdu pa para. E shofùrnan no a duna oido na esaki i inmediatamente a kuminsá un persekushon i ku yudansa di un otro unidat a logra para un di e vehíkulonan aki riba e krusada Schottegatweg-Noord/Suffisantweg.
Durante di kontrol riba e vehíkulo aki, a bin topa den e outo aki:
1 shotgun; 6 pistol; Un kantidat grandi di munishon; 184 kilo di kokaina i 11 kilo di mariwana.
Na e sitio a detené alrededor di 01.35’or, e hòmbernan L.M.Q.Y di 16 aña i B.G.Y. di 19 aña, ámbos nase na Kòrsou.
E otro vehíkulo a sigui kore bai i den besindario di Bullenbaai e okupantenan a baha bai, drenta mondi i los algun tiru riba polis.
Kontinuando ku e investigashon a tene un entrada hudisial na diferente adrès i a konfiská 18 mil florin na plaka kèsh. A konfiská mas leu tur droga, arma i e dos vehíkulonan. Investigashon den e kaso aki ta kontinuá

Government News

150 Photos Dutch Sint Maarten Parliament Opening 2016-2017

His Excellency Governor Eugene Holiday give his annual address to the people of Sint Maarten. In attendance were the Council of Ministers, Members of Parliament and other invited guests

150 photos dutch sint maarten parliament opening 2016-2017


His Excellency Governor Eugene Holiday give his annual address to the people of Sint Maarten. In attendance were the Council of Ministers, Members of Parliament and other invited guests.

Government News

Dutch Sint Maarten Acquittal for Masbangu suspects

Dutch Sint Maarten Acquittal for Masbangu suspects. The Court of First Instance of St. Maarten on Wednesday, September 14, 2016 acquitted the four suspects in the Masbangu investigation of all the charges of vote buying.

Acquittal for Masbangu suspects

Acquittal for Masbangu suspects
Acquittal for Masbangu suspects

The Court of First Instance of St. Maarten on Wednesday, September 14, 2016 acquitted the four suspects in the Masbangu investigation of all the charges of vote buying. The prosecutor’s Office had asked for a three (3) months jail sentence fully suspended, 200 hours of community service and deprivation of the to vote as well the right to be elected for R.H. (62). Against the suspects R.C.H.J. and A.R.W.M. the Prosecutor’s Office had asked for a jail sentence of three (3) months fully suspended, 150 hours of community service and deprivation of the right to vote while for C.J.L.C. the Prosecutor’s Office asked for a jail sentence of three (3) months fully suspended, 180 hours of community service and deprivation of the right to vote. The Prosecutor in charge of the Masbangu investigation is currently off island. Upon his return a decision will be taken about a possible appeal against the court verdicts.

Government’s Latest News

St Maarten KPSM Police Public Warning

The Police Department is taking this opportunity to again address the very serious issue of the destruction of Political Billboards and other publicly placed material or items for public viewing on the public roads and which belong to the numerous political parties for the upcoming 2016 Parliamentary Election. Latest from the Sxm Kpsm Sint Maarten Police Department

PUBLIC WARNING

The Police Department is taking this opportunity to again address the very serious issue of the destruction of Political Billboards and other publicly placed material or items for public viewing on the public roads and which belong to the numerous political parties for the upcoming 2016 Parliamentary Election.

arrest anguillaSxm Government

The police department on a daily basis receives official complaints from contact person of the different political parties regarding the destruction of their property. This criminal act is in violation of Article 2: 334 of the Penal Code and the political parties in question have requested criminal investigations into these cases.

The police department has taken these cases very seriously, just like every other case, and will do in depth investigations to determine who is/are responsible for these criminal acts.

2 Police Officers Shot Antigua

2 Police Officers Shot Antigua
Two police officers have been hospitalized after sustaining multiple stab wounds, following separate altercations during ‘T-shirt Mas,’ on Saturday.

A high-ranking police officer confirmed that the officers responded to at least four incidents involving weapons during the tail end of Saturday’s festivities.

During the incidents four people were stabbed.  The other two were civilians.

Describing the officers injuries a police officer said, “One received stab wounds to the face, side and about the body and the other got two stab wounds somewhere across the abdomen.

“The police went to assist in terms of fighting and when they tried to part the individuals, they received the wounds.”

Up to press time, both men were warded at the Mount St John’s Medical Centre, where they were treated for the serious, but non-critical wounds.

two police offiers shot antigua
two police offiers shot antigua

The police are yet to arrest anyone in connection with the incidents, which occurred in St John’s, since the perpetrators fled the scene.

The stabbing took place mere hours after Minister of Culture Paul Chet Greene urged residents to enjoy the celebrations, but to leave weapons out of the festivities, during Friday night’s opening ceremony.

“We say welcome to Carnival 2016, and we encourage you to misbehave, behave bad, go on chupit, but above all, have fun,” he said. “Remember no guns, no knives… let’s make this a clean carnival.”

He told revellers to remember that the individual they may injure have  loved ones.

Source: http://www.antiguaobserver.com

BREXIT creates EU-Britain nightmare for the Caribbean

Brexit’s effect on the British Caribbean Islands

BREXIT creates EU-Britain nightmare for the Caribbean

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By Sir Ronald Sanders – (The writer is Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the US; he has served as Ambassador to the EU and the WTO and High Commissioner to the UK)

The 12 English-speaking independent countries of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) have at the most two years to formulate a plan for dealing with the serious consequences of the British Exit (BREXIT) from the European Union (EU).

Indeed, the time may be less if the current mood of the leadership of the EU intensifies.   They want Britain gone “as soon as possible”.  The presidents of the European council, commission and parliament – Donald Tusk, Jean-Claude Juncker and Martin Schulz respectively – and Mark Rutte, the prime minister of the Netherlands which holds the EU’s rotating presidency, are reported as saying any delay to Britain’s exit would “unnecessarily prolong uncertainty”.

Once Britain finally leaves, the 12 Caribbean countries will have no structured trade relationship with that country.   When Britain joined what was then the European Economic Community in 1973, it transferred all authority for its trade agreements to the Community.  Ever since then, the formal trade, aid and investment relations between the 12 Caribbean countries has been with EU.   These relations were formalised successively in the Lome Convention, the Cotonou Agreement and the Economic Partnership Agreement.

Key to the terms under which the English-speaking Caribbean countries entered – and continued – the relationship with the EU, was Britain, their former colonial ruler.

Up to the time of British entry to the EU, trade between Britain and the 12 Caribbean countries was conducted under a Commonwealth preferences scheme.  That scheme fell away once Britain joined the EU and negotiated the extension of some of those preferences to the English-speaking Caribbean by the European body.

In effect, once Britain officially exits the EU, Caribbean countries will have no trade agreement with it.   Indeed, Britain will have no formal trade agreements with any country, having subsumed its authority for trade matters to the EU.  Its first task will be to negotiate trade terms with the remaining 27 EU members, hitherto its biggest trading partner.   Those negotiations will not be easy.  Britain will then have to try to formalise trade agreements with other countries.   The United States will be uppermost in its priorities, but President Obama had warned during the debate on BREXIT, that the UK market of 64 million people would not be high on the US agenda.  The EU, with a population of 450 million (without Britain) was a far greater target.

In any event, a trade agreement with the 12 small English-speaking Caribbean countries (total market of approximately 7 million) will also not be high on Britain’s list.

However, even though these Caribbean countries have been notionally trading with the EU, the majority of their exports has been going to the British market.  Now that the EU will no longer be representing Britain, the EPA will not cover trade with Britain.   That is an issue, however much on the back burner it will be for Britain, that will be important to the Caribbean – at least for trade in services, particularly tourism.  British tourists comprise a significant number of the annual visitors to the region.

More worryingly, once Britain leaves the EU, there will be several troubling consequences for the 12 Caribbean countries.  Not only will the British market disappear from the EU, but so too will the British contribution to official aid and investment.  It is most unlikely that the 27 EU countries, which had no historical relationship with, or colonial responsibility for, the English-speaking Caribbean, will want to maintain the level of official aid and investment that now exists.

Importantly, it should be recognised that the EU-EPA is the only such formal comprehensive arrangement that Caribbean countries have with any other country or region of the world.    It is vital to maintain as much of it as possible.

There had been some speculation in Britain during the BREXIT debate that Britain could resuscitate trade among the 52 other Commonwealth countries. But, that idea, rooted in Empire, is not only impractical, it would not reap for Britain the trade rewards it derives from the EU.  Britain’s earnings from exports to the Commonwealth, is not huge, representing only 9.76 per cent of its total exports in 2014, while its merchandise exports to the EU represented a hefty 45 per cent of its total exports.

In any event, total Commonwealth trade in goods has declined over the years.  And, even its share of world trade is owed to the trading capacity of only six of the Commonwealth states – Singapore, India, Malaysia, Australia, Britain and Canada.   Moreover, that trade is not between themselves.  For instance, China is Australia’s biggest trading partner, and the US and Mexico are Canada’s. In 2014, the six countries accounted for 84 per cent of all Commonwealth exports; 47 countries combined, including South Africa and Nigeria made up only 16 per cent.  Not surprisingly, the 36 Commonwealth small states, including the 12 in the Caribbean, enjoy only a tiny share of Commonwealth exports.

As for the notion that Commonwealth countries could fashion a Commonwealth Free Trade Agreement (FTA) under which they could give preferences to each other to expand intra-Commonwealth trade, while this is technically possible to make it compliant with WTO rules, it is enormously difficult from a legal, administrative and even political standpoint. Certainly, Cyprus and Malta would have to leave the EU customs union.

Other Commonwealth countries would also have to review their commitments to other countries with which they have joined in FTAs to ensure that the effect of Commonwealth preferences does not violate their existing agreements, which, in many cases, it must do to make the Commonwealth FTA beneficial to many of its participants.

Finally, the benefits of improved preferential access to all Commonwealth States within an FTA would be exploited by the major economies such as India, Malaysia and then by the developed Commonwealth countries, Britain, Australia and Canada. The Commonwealth’s 36 small states would not get much of a look-in.

Other options have to explored by the Caribbean countries for dealing with the twin-problem of no formal trade relationship with Britain, and an existing EPA with the EU that is now skewered and ripe with problems.

The Caribbean has known for over a year that the referendum on BREXIT was coming.  The result could only have been one of two things – either Britain would stay within the EU in which case it would be business as usual, or Britain would leave.  In the latter case, the scenario described above would be the reality with which the Caribbean would be faced.  Plans for dealing with it should, therefore, have already been thought through.

If not, the Caribbean has at most two years, and the clock is ticking.

Responses and previous commentaries: www.sirronaldsanders.com

 

Sir Ronald Sanders

www.sirronaldsanders.com

SOURCE: Source Anguilla News Online