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‘Mighty Bomba’ proud winner Youth Road March competition

page13c063ST. EUSTATIUS--Sporting a Batman outfit, Dantez “Mighty Bomba” Daniel (12) was crowned winner of Sunday’s Youth Road March competition for his rendition of “Super Hero.” Even though the show got off to a very late start, a large crowd remained until the winner was announced.

There were four participants and many artistes on stage that kept the crowd entertained during what was a truly Caribbean night, with young singers from St. Eustatius, a calypsonian and clowns from St. Kitts and judges Andrew Richardson aka Baker Junior and music teachers Helen Hart and Neville James from St. Maarten.

Master of Ceremonies for the evening was Musical Foundation President Winston Fleming.

First to take centre stage in the Junior Road March Competition was Tarzz, who came out of a box while her “accomplices” dropped silver glitters from the rooftop onto the crowd.

page13b063All young contestants were judged on lyrics, melody, rendition and clarity. Besides, all participants were posed a question, which they had to answer correctly to be awarded 10 extra points. After the points were calculated Bomba emerged as the big winner with 274 points, followed by “Mighty Red Boy” Sjiano Richardson (9) with 248 points for his song “Wine”, “Mighty Tarzz” Tanzenee Berkel (14) with 230 points and “Mighty Singer” Diego Schmidt at 205 points for “Celebrating 51.”

The winner took home US $1,500 in prize money and a trophy, as well as a bicycle, school materials and a case of juice. First runner-up “Mighty Red Boy” won a laptop computer, a trophy, a Winair airplane ticket, a gift basket and school supplies.

“Mighty Singer” was devastated during the prize-giving ceremony as he found out he had not won the coveted crown. As he stood on stage in tears, “Mighty Bomba” made a royal gesture and took the crown from his head and the cloak from his shoulders and placed them on his fellow-contestant. The comforting gesture was much appreciated by the crowd.

WYCF: Urgent attention needed to develop health care affordable to all

PHILIPSBURG--White and Yellow Cross Foundation (WYCF) official Bregje Boetekees says urgent attention is needed to develop a health care system that is affordable and accessible to all residents of St. Maarten.

She made the comments Wednesday in reaction to statements made by Vice President of St. Maarten Seniors and Pensioners Association, Raymond Jessurun at the United Nations Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing (OEWG) conference in New York recently. At that forum Jessurun highlighted the human rights perspective of persons with dementia in low-and high- income countries.

Boetekees said Jessurun raised some “important points” during the conference. She said too that Jessurun is knowledgeable about different forms of dementia and its presence and impact here in St. Maarten as he is also a member of the St Maarten Alzheimer Foundation (SMAF).

On the issue of care, she said in the Netherlands, more options are available for early diagnoses of dementia. Memory clinics are some of the newer additions to the health care field and the profession of geriatric doctors is becoming more and more important in that ageing society.

“St. Maarten is lagging behind in the sense that for many years we counted ourselves lucky being a young (migrant) society. However, the belief that migrants would return to their country of origin at retirement age is a myth and St. Maarten is ageing at a much more rapid pace than previously believed. This calls for a speed-up in actions from all parties: Government, insurance funds, health care organisations and suppliers and society in general. With ageing percentages doubled over these last few years we need to prepare for the care demands that come along with that,” she said.

She said the Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Affairs VSA is showing keen interest in ageing and its effects, having recently done an elderly survey and ageing conference and indicating support for an expansion of services of the White and Yellow Cross Foundation. She said an example was the construction of a new and larger elderly care home to cater to seniors who can no longer sustain an independent life in St. Maarten.

Social and Health Care Insurance SZV, via the AVBZ fund, is supportive of care for seniors and then especially those afflicted with a form of dementia. Since September 2012 the WYCF opened the first day-care facility in St. Maarten for clients with a psycho-geriatric disorder. “These 16 places in our day-care are fully funded by the AVBZ fund, enabling these clients to remain living at home with their loved ones while receiving therapeutic care during the day.

“Are we lacking important health care, also in comparison to other parts of the Kingdom? Absolutely! We desperately need a residential neurologist on the island, not only for our residents with a form of dementia but also for our high amounts of stroke victims,” she said. “But we do have the Mental Health Foundation with an excellent team of psychologists and psychiatrists who offer testing and diagnostic activities for clients who are suspected of a dementia disorder.”

Furthermore, “a neuropsychologist from Curaçao, Dr. Ebicilio, visits St. Maarten monthly and has his consultation hours at the WYCF for anyone that needs it.”

She said the disparity in health care within the Kingdom is not only present in the negative but also in the positive. “Our nursing home offers better care than some in Holland, where “pajama days” are present due to understaffing and showers are weekly instead of daily. Also, the ratio group leader to client in our Sister Basilia Center is better than in many centres in the Netherlands that cater to clients with an intellectual handicap.

“These examples of high quality care are often overlooked when comparison is made with health care elsewhere,” Boetekees said.

Boetekees said urgent attention is needed to develop a health care system that is “affordable and accessible to all residents of St. Maarten. Coverage of high quality offered here locally by the dedicated health care organizations and suppliers that we have. Monies spent on overseas health care referrals, if invested locally in our own hospital and other facilities, can result in quality health care for all.”

In his presentation in New York, Jessurun exemplified the vast difference in diagnosis and treatment of two patients based on location. He said for the last 15 years seniors’ organisations in the Dutch Caribbean, such as the St. Maarten Seniors and Pensioners Association have been protesting the inequality in the health care infrastructure and the health care quality in the Kingdom of the Netherlands as human rights violations.

  He is of the opinion that access to an adequate health care infrastructure should be equal to all in all territories of the State. For quite some years now the Netherlands has had one of the best health care systems of the world.

“Persons with suspected dementia in the European part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands are diagnosed in general by neurologists and geriatricians in memory clinics, assisted by geriatric nurses and/or psychologists. These specialised memory clinics have specific diagnostic equipment. In St. Maarten there is no neurologist, no geriatrician, no neuropsychologist, no specialised memory clinic, and also there is none in any of the six islands of the Dutch Caribbean,” he noted.

  He added that “globally eight out of 10 persons with a suspected dementia condition are not realising their right to health. As representative of Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI), I can inform you that in the high-income countries six out of 10 persons with dementia (61 per cent) have not yet received a diagnosis.”

  “But in the lower and middle-income countries the figures are worse: nine out of 10 persons with dementia (90 per cent) have not received a diagnosis,” citing the organisation’s World Alzheimer Report 2011. “Are these just differences or is this a structural violation of their right to health? Is not this lack of a proper diagnosis affecting or violating their right to an adequate standard of living and other human rights as well as the social and economic development of their families and their society?” he asked.

  His suggestions at the forum include: “to use the Inter-American Convention on the Protection of the Rights of Older Persons as draft International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of Older Persons. To put the gaps and possible ways to repair legislation in human rights instruments which are affecting older persons and those with dementia, in particular, on the agenda of the seventh OEWGA to be included in a binding International Convention that protects rights of all older persons and their families.”

He also suggests “reviewing and adjusting the adequacy or the lack of sanctions in international public law and in international human rights politics to get states to comply and respect older persons’ rights.”

“To review and adjust international cooperation between states and to further elaborate on reparations to finance the right to development and the realization of all human rights in low and middle income countries; to charge an expert group with the task to ‘inventorise’ the gaps in international, public legislation and to propose how to eliminate these gaps, to guarantee that human rights of all, especially of older persons and the persons with dementia in the low- and middle-income countries will be adequately protected against violations.”

  He later offered suggestions and urged the recognition and importance of dementia, calling it “the epidemic of this century,” with figures of those affected set to triple by 2050 (citing The Global Impact of Dementia 2013–2050 by ADI) and impacting society’s collective right to development.

75 per cent of residents living below poverty line, says report

PHILIPSBURG--“More than 75 per cent of the St. Maarten households live under the poverty line,” according to the Transparency International (TI) National Integrity System Assessment for the country that was released on Tuesday.

“Despite its relatively high income per capita St. Maarten has an uneven distribution of income – 22 per cent of the population is without income – and its standard of living is high,” cited the report.

The TI report said the figures were based on the “latest Census survey 2011 results.” The final results of that population census never were released locally; only preliminary results were given in 2012. The final results were said to be pending a corroboration of population count with the Civil Registry.

The Census results, according to TI, show that 75 per cent of all households have less than NAf. 4,000/US $2,222 in gross income per month and 67.5 per cent of the population have less than NAf. 3,000/US $1,667.24.

Using the Dutch National Institute for Budgetinformation (Nibud) norm for St. Maarten, TI said the figures would mean that more than 75 per cent of St. Maarten households live under the poverty line.

However, a poverty line is not yet defined for St. Maarten and a poverty reduction policy is still to be developed, according to information gathered by TI from the Department of Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication.

The country faces an unemployment rate of 11 per cent.

A total of 42.9 per cent of the population is without a secondary school education, said the report.

The undocumented children in the country comprise 10-15 per cent of the school-going population.

On the economic front, although no exact figures are available, TI said there was a “perception” of a relatively large informal sector in the country.

With a substantial number of people working in the tourism and related sectors, there is a tendency of a continuous interim type of economy, with people being economically active in the tourist season, then leaving and coming back for the next tourist season.

“This seems to be the case especially in the retail sector. Due to this phenomenon the state loses tax income,” the report said.

The Treaty in Full

Due to recent developments and comments, The Daily Herald thought it useful to publish the complete text of the so-called Dutch American Friendship Treaty so readers can make up their own minds as to what it means or should mean.

 *Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation*

Orange Alert - elevated at 'Kick 'em Jenny' in Grenada

ST GEORGE’S, Grenada (CMC)--An increase in seismic activities at the submarine volcano "Kick ‘m Jenny" on Thursday morning, has prompted the National Emergency Council to meet with a team from the University of the West Indies(UWI) seismic unit in Trinidad and Tobago.

  "We were informed through the official channel about the increase activities at Kick ‘m Jenny and like we did early we again call on all marine interest to observe the no exclusion zone of five kilometres around the summit of the volcano," said Coordinator of the National Disaster Management Agency, Terrence Walters. He promised that a detailed statement will be issued following the meeting.

  On Thursday, the UWI seismic unit posted an advisory informing the public that it has changed the alert level of the volcano from yellow to orange, stating that at 3:00am (local time) a strong continuous signal was observed on instruments monitoring the submarine volcano.

  "Signs of elevated seismicity (earthquakes) began on 11th July and continue to present," said the advisory. It further explained that for the period since the 11th July a total of more than 200 micro and small earthquakes of varying magnitudes have been recorded, with the largest, prior to the strong signal, less than 3.0.

  "There have also been observations from divers of degassing occurring off the west coast of Grenada in the Moliniere Sculpture Park area. This activity is being closely monitored by The UWI-SRC and further updates would be issued as more information becomes available," the advisory stated.

  An alert orange mean highly elevated level of seismic activity or other unusual activity. This means that an eruption may begin with less than twenty-four hours notice.

  The seismic unit says all regional governments will be alerted through Disaster Coordinators. The release added that local radio stations in Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Barbados and Trinidad have been placed on alert.

  In addition, all shipping are required to stay outside the first exclusion zone that is 1.5km from the summit and non-essential shipping such as pleasure craft should stay 5km clear of the summit.

  Since the rumbling at Kick ‘m Jenny telecommunications service in Grenada has being affected with only the FLOW network apparently operating.

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