Friday, March 05, 2021

January 22, 2021   -In a WICLU meeting held on Sunday January 17th, 2021 at the WIFOL Building the Presidents of the unions NAPB, ABVO-SXM, WIHCUA, WIFOL /ASEWI and WITU at the Agenda Point Carnival 2021 expressed their concerns related to the fact that the Council of Ministers has approved and given the greenlight for Carnival 2021 to be held.

The concerns expressed were not only because this decision was taken without consultation or a dialogue with the unions, but the analysis was made based on among others the reality that we are living in with the COVID-19 pandemic and the threats of new viruses.

As unions this decision was viewed as irresponsible and not taken into account the risk factors that the frontline workers, all workers and the whole population of Sint Maarten (Dutch and French) will be exposed to.

It goes without saying that the unions can't remain silent on this issue since as unions the health and safety of the population and the workers are our concerns.

During this pandemic that has affected the whole world, our leaders should act in consultation with tri-partite committees, before making such decisions that can have far reaching consequences. What one might seem to look at this event as an economic boost for the island, which will have a higher cost on the health and take a toll on rise of cases, whether asymptomatic or COVID-19 active.

Therefore, as unions in the WICLU, we are calling on the Minister of VSA and the Council of Ministers on its whole to review and reverse this decision.

The whole Carnival (so not only the parades) cannot happen without the frontline workers and in our view as unions the pressure, risk and stress on these workers will also affect the day to day operation of all departments.

Even to the schools will be affected as have been the case since the reopening of the school year with the face to face attendance. A number of schools were forced to continue online classes and quarantine staff members and students after the reopening took place. 

The questions are:

1. Based on the set norms of prohibiting large gathering shouldn't Carnival fall into that same category?

2. Are we prepared or do we have the means to handle the health issue and consequences of this?

3. What are the financial benefits and for who?(since for years this event was heavily financial supported by government;- all of a sudden the Carnival Community can host this event on its own?

4. "Who yo'allfoh?" Is it so that all at once the health and safety of the people and their families doesn't matter?

In closing I would like to state that the general consensus at this meeting was to request the postponement of Carnival 2021 and   a letter will be going to the Council of Ministers forcefully requesting this.

This is not the time for this SintMaarten !

Note: The Presidents of SMCU and WICSU-PSU were absent, but they will find themselves in agreement with this statement also.


February 28, 2021    NEW YORK (AP) — When drained of glamour, what’s left of the Golden Globes? That’s one of the biggest questions heading into the 78th annual awards on Sunday night. The show, postponed two months from its usual early-January perch, will have little of what makes the Globes one of the frothiest and glitziest events of the year. Due to the pandemic, there will be no parade of stars down the red carpet outside the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California. Its hosts, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will be on different sides of the country.

February 26, 2021  NEW YORK (AP) — Most playwrights who dip their toes into musical theater for the first time go small. Not Katori Hall: Her first assignment was to capture the life of a musical giant — Tina Turner. “I’m not really scared of much, which is probably why I felt like ‘Oh yeah, I’ll try this. I’ll take Tina Turner, one of the biggest icons in the world, and attempt to retell her story in this musical form,’” Hall says, laughing. “I had no qualms whatsoever.” That fearlessness has led to Hall’s first Tony nominations, as a producer and book writer for “Tina — The Tina Turner Musical.” At the awards show, it will compete against “Jagged Little Pill” and “Moulin Rouge! The Musical!” for Broadway’s best new musical crown.

February 26, 2021   NEW YORK (AP) — Netflix on Friday released a study it commissioned from top academic researchers that shows the streaming giant is outpacing much of the film industry in the inclusivity of its original films and television series. For years, academic studies have sought to capture inequalities in Hollywood and to hold studios accountable for making film and television that doesn’t reflect American demographics. Those studies have generally relied on box-office or ratings data, often leaving out streaming platforms. Netflix is trying a different route with both more transparency and more company control. The streamer commissioned the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative to analyze its 2018 and 2019 original, live-action films and series, and presented the results to members of the press Thursday in a video presentation. The results were, as Annenberg Inclusion Initiative founder and director Stacy L. Smith noted, far more positive than most Annenberg reports, which have typically found only slow, sporadic improvement in the most popular films.


February 26, 2021  NEW YORK (AP) — Four hours of morning television is a lot of time to fill, but new Black News Channel hosts Mike Hill and Sharon Reed don’t expect to run out of things to say. Their new program, which debuts Monday at 6 a.m. Eastern, is the centerpiece of Black News Channel’s relaunch to emphasize commentary and a more analytical approach to the news. Nearly invisible when it debuted last year, BNC is methodically becoming more available to viewers. “This is when I need my voice to be heard and I want my voice to be heard,” said Hill, who has worked at Fox Sports and ESPN. “So much is happening in our country.”

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February 28, 2021  WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. is getting a third vaccine to prevent COVID-19, as the Food and Drug Administration on Saturday cleared a Johnson & Johnson shot that works with just one dose instead of two. Health experts are anxiously awaiting a one-and-done option to help speed vaccinations, as they race against a virus that already has killed more than 510,000 people in the U.S. and is mutating in increasingly worrisome ways. The FDA said J&J’s vaccine offers strong protection against what matters most: serious illness, hospitalizations and death. One dose was 85% protective against the most severe COVID-19 illness, in a massive study that spanned three continents — protection that remained strong even in countries such as South Africa, where the variants of most concern are spreading.

February 28, 2021  WASHINGTON (AP) — Looking beyond the $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill, President Joe Biden and lawmakers are laying the groundwork for another top legislative priority — a long-sought boost to the nation’s roads, bridges and other infrastructure that could run into Republican resistance to a hefty price tag. Biden and his team have begun discussions on the possible outlines of an infrastructure package with members of Congress, particularly mindful that Texas’ recent struggles with power outages and water shortages after a brutal winter storm present an opportunity for agreement on sustained spending on infrastructure.

February 26, 2021    WASHINGTON (AP) — On a cold, gray February afternoon, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen stepped out of the West Wing wrapped in a puffy black parka and clutching a folder of documents, seemingly oblivious to the Washington custom of having an aide schlep the paperwork. Viewed as an outsider to partisan politics, she now has a place in President Joe Biden’s inner sanctum, a Ph.D. economist who does the reading, knows the numbers and treats her staff as peers rather than underlings. Yellen, entourage in tow, had been at the White House to strategize about how to push through Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan -- a package that could determine how quickly the U.S. economy heals, how the Democrats fare in the midterm elections and just how much Americans can trust the government to solve the nation’s toughest problems.

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