Monday, June 21, 2021

Good morning Mr. Chairman, the griffier, my colleagues and all following us on Facebook and radio. Today as I look back at the last 7 months of this parliamentary year, I can say that I believe we have started with the closing that could set an extraordinary tone forthis era or perhaps eras;the era of not wanting to cross party lines even when doing so is in the greater interest of the country;

the era in which many still have to let go of the concept of party or self above country and embrace the concept of country above self;the era in which a member of parliament choses to give quorum so a meeting can proceed rather than focus on personal agendas, because you realize that your job as a parliamentarian is to work for the people and not for yourself!

This year, for me as a newcomer, was very enjoyable, because I learnt so much.I leant particularly about the constitutional foundation on which the country is built and the constraints within which the country is required to operate. Our introduction to parliament by Dr Nilda Arduinbenefitted us all extremely well, and to her, I know I can proudly say, on behalf of all her students, “Thank You very much”. You opened our eyes to many things that we were not aware of until we took your week of classes.

This parliament stood its ground and didn’t allow things to just happen simply because somebody said it must be done that way. We did our research, we asked questions and even pleaded with ministers when it was necessary, and today we can say hard work pays off. St. Maarten is off the CFATF grey list and moved on to the 4th round without passing a draft penal code that doesnot reflect “law for all”. The law needs to represent everyone, not serve the interest of a few. We took the criticism for our stance, but today we can look back with pride at what it actually means for our people.

The Corona Virus taughtthis country, its people, the government and parliament many hard lessons. In fact, the Corona lessons are still ongoing for the world! It also taughtus that we need to take a firm stance and not let constitutional changes be pushed down our throats because of past failures. We need to take responsibility for our actions and deeds, but most important we need to learn to take a stance for what we believe is best for our country and not necessarily for ourselves. As we reflect on theoath we took we should take time to understand what it means and how it should affect our decisions for our country. Our vote matters, regardless of the outcome of the vote. The record will always show your stance and those of the others.While you should not take my word for it, try to understand that “You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity”.And “You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it”.

Through this all and with the crippling effect of the corona virus, this parliament eventually passed the laws for the Pension age increase, the AOV age increase and the premium increase.Remember that “what one person receives without working for, another person works for without receiving”. Let me repeat that! “What one person receives without working for, another person works for without receiving”.

I do believe that it is in the country’s best interest that we come together and make our meetings more efficient with less politicking and grandstanding. In addition to that, I truly hope that when meetings are requested,they are called promptly and completed, instead of being continuously adjourned for answers that are sometimes never received. Our duty is to give accurate information to our constituents and we should do so in a timely fashion, based on accurate information. Communication is key in every successful venture.

To our partners in the kingdom, I say that we are willing to work with you, but we must respect our laws, our constitution and, most of all, our partners.

If anyone of you believe that you can take away our autonomy for food or liquidity support, or if you believe you can continue to enter through the backdoor by using article 43 of the kingdom charter to impose your will on the people of this country, and if you believe that the democratic deficit is the way to go without having a legal appeal process, then I truly believe that the kingdom charter has outlived its true meaning and purpose. Our people will decide our constitutional future as regulated by law, and not by a few in The Hague. We need to stop creating conflicts with each other and work resolution oriented.

Mr. Chairman our government needs to put its plans forward on what we are going to do and anchor it down in an amended budget and give it legal value. We mustembrace the Dutch government as part of our solution and not make them part of our problem. Too often we get derailed by discussions of integrity and corruption instead of focusing on what we need to do to get this country moving. Corruption is not a true reflection of the average politician and the people of St. Maarten. The parliament and the government need to have a clear unified message to the Netherlands and our people. We need to clearly articulate our problems and possible solutions for our discussions. 

It’s our obligation to ensure that the Kingdom Government embraces that equality in the Kingdom is there for all its citizens.

Mr. Chairman in closing I want to leave you with these remarks: while the Dutch government commits constitutional infractions,which threaten us and the constitutional foundation we stand on, we must alsorecognize our consecutive governments’ infractions towards our people. Infractions in providing a good and safe environment which is conducive to our peoplemaking a fair and decent living.The lack of an investment climate in which the island’s people have real opportunities to make a good life for themselves and their families! Let’s face it, we must improve our educational system that provides the island’s children with the necessary skills to grow up to be the employers not the employees.We too must take stock of how we are keeping up our end of the bargain.What are we doing to avoid giving our partner, the Netherlands, reasons to push through their agenda?I look forward to a productive parliamentary year, one in which we stand up for what is right, because it’s right for our people. A year in which we make commitments not only those we intend to meet, but those we are able to meet. St. Maarten is no stranger to challenges; St. Maarten is not a stranger to rebuilding; St. Maarten is the “Friendly Island” and so it is instinctive for us to want to work with our partners in this Kingdom. But St. Maarten did not come this far economically and constitutionally, having to build a country from scratch because commitments made by others were not kept to have to take a step back, at this time of crisis and risk again that commitments made are not kept. We have come a long way from 1954!!!

Thank you, Mr. Chairman and May God continue to bless St. Maartenand its people.

SXM Radio Online

Entertainment

June 15, 2021 NEW YORK (AP) — Oprah Winfrey and Hearst Magazines are teaming up for interviews that pair young Black journalists with elders who include civil rights activists, celebrities and others sharing some lessons learned in life. The project, “Lift Every Voice,” will be featured on Winfrey’s OprahDaily.com website and in magazines like ELLE, Good Housekeeping, Esquire, Runner’s World and Winfrey’s own O Quarterly. Dionne Warwick, Patti LaBelle, Andre De Shields and the activist Claudette Colvin are among the people featured. While some material from earlier Hearst television stories is used, the interviewers are drawn primarily from the ranks of historic Black colleges and universities, with most of the portraits taken by Black photographers just starting in the field. In one example, 94-year-old community activist Opal Lee, from Fort Worth, Texas, talks to Mariah Campbell, a journalism student at Texas Southern University, about efforts to make Juneteenth a national holiday. Winfrey said she was inspired by her own memories of knowing poet Maya Angelou when Winfrey was young, and how Angelou stressed the importance of sharing stories from the time she grew up.

June 15, 2021 NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Philharmonic will resume subscription performances in September following a historic 18-month gap caused by the coronavirus pandemic, presenting a shortened schedule of 78 concerts in a season shifted from Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall while the orchestra’s home is remodeled. The Philharmonic said Tuesday its season will open Sept. 17 with music director Jaap van Zweden conducting the orchestra and pianist Daniil Trifonov in Anna Clyne’s “Within Her Arms,” Copland’s “Quiet City,” George Walker’s “Antifonys for Chamber Orchestra” and Beethoven’s piano concerto No. 4. That concert, the orchestra’s first regular event since March 10, 2020, will be the first of 50 at Lincoln Center’s 1,086-seat Alice Tully Hall, a venue more typically used for chamber music and recitals. There will be 28 concerts in Jazz at Lincoln Center’s 1,233-seat Rose Theater, located at Columbus Circle, less than half a mile from Geffen Hall, plus four concerts at Carnegie Hall, the orchestra’s home from 1891 to 1962.

June 15, 2021  NEW YORK (AP) — Rita Moreno emigrated with her mother from Puerto Rico at age five. By six, she was dancing at Greenwich Village nightclubs. By 16, she was working full time. By 20, she was in “Singin’ in the Rain.” In the documentary “Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It,” Norman Lear says: “I can’t think of anyone I’ve ever met in the business who lived the American dream more than Rita Moreno.” In the decades that followed, Moreno won a Tony, a Grammy, an Emmy and an Oscar, for “West Side Story.” (Her entire acceptance speech: “I can’t believe it.” ) With seemingly infinite spiritedness, she has epitomized the best of show business while also being a victim to its cruelties. That has made Moreno, who co-stars in Steven Spielberg’s upcoming “West Side Story remake, a heroic figure to Latinos, and to others. “I have never given up,” she said in a recent interview by Zoom from her home in Berkeley, California.

June 15, 2021 NEW YORK (AP) — The tragedies of Brian Wilson’s life is a rock ‘n’ roll story well told. The postscript — that he’s a survivor nearing age 80 who appears to be supported personally and professionally in a way he never really had before — is less familiar. Despite some uncomfortable moments in “Brian Wilson: Long Promised Road,” that important update is the point of the documentary that premieres Tuesday at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York. The film’s heart is a series of drives around Southern California, where Wilson and Rolling Stone magazine editor Jason Fine talk, listen to music and occasionally stop at restaurants. There’s a comfort level between the two; Fine is a journalist who has become a friend. Wilson, the creative force behind the Beach Boys, has dealt with an abusive, hard-driving father, the mental illness Schizoaffective disorder where he’d hear voices berating and belittling him, and band members often resistant to where he was going musically. Add in years of drug abuse, a quack psychologist who effectively held him, prisoner, for a decade and the younger brothers who died early, and it’s a lot to endure.

Business News

June 16, 2021 WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Tuesday installed an energetic critic of Big Tech as a top federal regulator at a time when the industry is under intense pressure from Congress, regulators and state attorneys general. The selection of legal scholar Lina Khan to head the Federal Trade Commission is seen as signaling a tough stance toward tech giants Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple. Khan was sworn in as FTC chair just hours after the Senate confirmed her as one of five members of the commission on a 69-28 vote. Khan has been a professor at Columbia University Law School and burst onto the antitrust scene with her massive scholarly work in 2017 as a Yale law student, “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox.” She helped lay the foundation for a new way of looking at antitrust law beyond the impact of big-company market dominance on consumer prices. As counsel to a House Judiciary antitrust panel in 2019 and 2020, she played a key role in a sweeping bipartisan investigation of the market power of the tech giants.

June 15, 2021  BRUSSELS (AP) — The deal the United States and the European Union reached Tuesday to end their long-running rift over subsidies to Boeing and Airbus will suspend billions in punitive tariffs. It will ease trans-Atlantic tensions. And it will let the two sides focus on a common economic threat: China. But the breakthrough still leaves some trade friction between the U.S. and the EU unresolved. Most prominently, President Biden kept in place import taxes that President Donald Trump imposed on European steel and aluminum, a move that infuriated some of America’s closet allies three years ago. For now, Tuesday’s truce in the Boeing-Airbus dispute goes a long way toward repairing a huge commercial relationship — $933 billion in two-way trade last year despite the pandemic — that came under enormous strain during the Trump years. Among other things, the former president angrily charged the Europeans with using unfair trade practices to sell more products to the United States than they bought and of shirking their responsibility to pay for their own national defense.

June 15, 2021 -A day after her interview for a part-time job at Target last year, Dana Anthony got an email informing her she didn’t make the cut. Anthony didn’t know why — a situation common to most job seekers at one point or another. But she also had no sense at all of how the interview had gone, because her interviewer was a computer. More job-seekers, including some professionals, may soon have to accept impersonal online interviews where they never talk to another human being, or know if behind-the-scenes artificial-intelligence systems are influencing hiring decisions. Demand for online hiring services, which interview job applicants remotely via laptop or phone, mushroomed during the COVID-19 pandemic and remains high amid a perceived worker shortage as the economy opens back up. These systems claim to save employers money, sidestep hidden biases that can influence human recruiters and expand the range of potential candidates. Many now also use AI to assess candidate skills by analyzing what they say.

Fashion News

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