Category Archives: Caribbean

Port CEO Mark Mingo detained at Airport.

Once again another high-level ‘official’, here on Sint Maarten has been arrested in conjunction with ties to dubious quasi-legal dealings. The following is quoted from the Sint Maarten Daily Herald.

 

AIRPORT–Port of St. Maarten Chief Executive Officer Mark Mingo was arrested at the Princess Juliana International Airport SXM. His arrest is in connection with the “Emerald” investigation.

According to the Prosecutor Spokesman Norman Serphos, the suspect is in the interest of the investigation in detention. Therefore, no further information can be given in this case for the time being.

Meanwhile, the investigative team, TBO and RST, under the leadership of the judge commissioned a search of the house of Mingo.

 

 

The Emerald-investigation was launched in April 2016. The investigation started when the owner of a security company on Sint Maarten was suspected of forgery, money laundering, and tax evasion. In November 2016 O.A. was arrested already in this case and some of his property was seized. The investigation is part of a larger investigation into fraud and corruption, also called society undermining crime. This is considered a serious threat for the security and economy of the countries of the Dutch Caribbean. TBO, RST, the national detectives of Curacao and St. Maarten and the Public Prosecutors Office are all partners in the combating of society undermining crime.

25 Years prison sentence for ‘Murder Broker’ in the murder case Helmin Wiels.

25 Year prison sentence for B.C.A.F. in the case Magnus/Maximus.

Fonseca the defendant in this case followed the proceedings via a live video feed, from the Netherlands.

(Fem Judge) Mister Fonseca>>>> (Fonseca) yes.

(Fem Judge) “Your case was handled on the 19th and 21st of April and today (5/11/2017) is the ruling, which is as follows. The bench after careful study of the case file, we are overwhelmingly convinced that you in collusion   with others on May 5th conspired to rob mr Helmin Wiels of his life. In Judicial terms you (addressing Fonseca), are an accessory to murder.   The evidence pointing to your involvement in the murder of Helmin Wiels , is overwhelming and rest’s on 4 indicators , the testimony of 1. Elvis Kuwas,  2.  The testimony of the witness who was threatened (unnamed), 3.  The testimony of E. Gumbs, 4. The text’s that were exchanged by yourself and Jeorge Jamaloodin.   Each of the indicators in and    of themselves are not enough for a conviction, however when combined, there is more than sufficient evidence to substantiate our verdict. The defense claims that Kuwas’ testimony is so flawed i.e. untrustworthy that it cannot be used as prosecutable evidence. However the court’s ruling is that, mister Kuwas’ testimony is based in fact and is legally binding in this case as prosecutable evidence. The court’s ruling given the consistency of Kuwas’ testimony, that (Fonseca) you sir and mr Florentina (deceased) gave the orders for him to murder mr Helmin Wiels. In light of the testimony of mr Kuwas pertinent to the meeting in garage Florentina’s  where you (Fonseca), was present , verified by Kuwas’ wife Monalissa Kuwas Andrea.   The court’s decision is based on the overwhelming evidence, from the witnesses in this case and the SMS text’s exchanged between yourself and mr Jamaloodin. It is clear from the SMS text’s between yourself and mr Jamaloodin that you outsourced the ‘work’ to other’s one of which was as per his own testimony mister Kuwas. Furthermore it is clear from the exchanged texts that the ‘job’, was discussed at the home of mr Jamaloodin.  You have given no believable reason for those meetings.  Given the facts in this case the court has come to the conclusion that, you in collusion with Luigi Florentina  gave the orders to Elvis (Monster) Kuwas to assassinate mr Helmin Wiels, in exchange for a huge cash payment. Elvis Kuwas accepted the contract and on May 5, 2013 he murdered mr Wiels, on the Maria Ponpoen beach in broad daylight, Kuwas emptied the clip of his automatic weapon into the body of mr Wiels , with his body riddled by multiple gunshot wounds mister Wiels succumbed as a result of his injuries, on the spot. You sir in the first instance robbed mr Wiels of his right to life, and the right to life is a fundamental right that is guaranteed in our constitution and it is also protected, in our constitution. Your actions mister Fonseca has shown your utter contempt for this right, as a result of your actions you have caused irreparable harm to the family members of mr Wiels, resultantly the murder that was perpetrated on your orders in broad daylight, terrorized the community and caused widespread unrest in society. Murder is a deadly serious punishable offense, the court has concluded that there is no other option but to lay to your charge a lengthy prison sentence the court is fully aware of the gravity of the situation that, that in this case we are dealing with the murder of a politician. Helmin Wiels was prior to his murder Prime Minister and leader of the Pueblo Sobreano Party, at that time the primary political party in Curacao.  The onslaught did not only disturb the social order but shocked the community in its entirety here in Curacao. The murder of a party leader and Prime Minister means that irreparable harm has been done to society at large and in particular to the democratic process. This murder also exerted pressure on other politicians who, in its aftermath became fearful of going against the grain and publicly voicing their stand points and opinions, as is guaranteed in a democracy.  The court deems this murder worthy of a more lengthy sentence than in ordinary circumstances since this murder, is one with political characteristics. Mr Fonseca the court has decided to charge you with 25 years minus with time served in pretrial detention. This is the courts’ decision mr Fonseca you have the right to appeal within 14 days.                   

Francis voices terrorism concerns.

 

In a move unheard of in previous years, the National Security Minister of St Lucia, voiced concerns concerning the terrorist threat to the region.

I will quote here from the St Lucia Times: “National Security Minister, Hermangild Francis, has voiced concerns about terrorism  and the possible effect on tourism in an address to members of the Saint Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture.

 

Addressing private sector representatives on Wednesday, Francis disclosed that he has discussed the issue of terrorism with the Director of the Regional Security System (RSS) and the threat it poses to the Caribbean.

 

“We do not have the exact number of ISIS fighters returning to their countries but we know that between 150 to 400 of these individuals, especially from Trinidad and Tobago, have returned,” the former Deputy Police Commissioner who is currently Chairman of the RSS said.

 

He asserted that the situation was very problematic for the Caribbean.

 

“Imagine, most of the Islands are depending on tourism and we have an incident with one of our tourist ships – maybe in Aruba, Martinique, Saint Vincent – you could imagine the sort of catastrophic reaction that is going to happen to our main export,” the minister stated.

 

Francis said that Saint Lucia will be addressing the issue by going to the primary schools to ensure that young children are not radicalised.

 

According to Francis, all the evidence indicates that children are radicalised from a very early age.

 

“That is one of the techniques that the ISIS movement uses,” he observed.

 

“We are going to make sure, with the help of our minister of education, to put in place programmes so that those young children – vulnerable children, can be taught how to deal with radicalisation,” Francis told members of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture.

 

 

MFK Wants An Independent Curacao.

WILLEMSTAD – The ruling party MFK headed by former Prime Minister Gerrit Schotte wants independence from the Netherlands. Both Schotte and former Minister of Public Health and current Member of Parliament for MFK Jacintha Constancia made a plea for independence in front of the TV cameras.

 

Yesterday after the raid at Schotte’s house, the former Prime Minister said that the Netherlands was the de facto ruler in Curaçao. “Curaçao is still a colony,” said Schotte.

 

Constancia also expressed this during an interview with the Dutch news channel NOS. “It’s time for us to take care of our own business here on the island.”

 

Caribbean adopts plan to seek slavery reparations.

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent (AP) — Leaders of Caribbean nations on Monday unanimously adopted a broad plan on seeking reparations from European nations for what they say are the lingering ill effects of the Atlantic slave trade on the region.

 

A British human rights law firm hired by the Caribbean Community grouping of nations announced that prime ministers had authorized a 10-point plan that would seek a formal apology and debt cancellation from former colonizers such as Britain, France and the Netherlands. The decision came at a closed-door meeting in St. Vincent & the Grenadines.

 

According to the Leigh Day law firm, the Caribbean Community also wants reparation payments to repair the persisting “psychological trauma” from the days of plantation slavery and calls for assistance to boost the region’s technological know-how since the Caribbean was denied participation in Europe’s industrialization and confined to producing and exporting raw materials such as sugar.

 

The plan further demands European aid in strengthening the region’s public health, educational and cultural institutions such as museums and research centers.

 

It is even pushing for the creation of a “repatriation program,” including legal and diplomatic assistance from European governments, to potentially resettle members of the Rastafarian spiritual movement in Africa. Repatriation to Africa has long been a central belief of Rastafari, a melding of Old Testament teachings and Pan-Africanism whose followers have long pushed for reparations.

 

Martyn Day of the law firm called the plan a “fair set of demands on the governments whose countries grew rich at the expense of those regions whose human wealth was stolen from them.”

 

Day said an upcoming meeting in London between Caribbean and European officials “will enable our clients to quickly gauge whether or not their concerns are being taken seriously.” It was not immediately clear when the meeting to potentially seek a negotiated settlement will take place.

 

The idea of the countries that benefited from slavery paying some form of reparations has been a decades-long quest but only recently has it gained serious momentum in the Caribbean.

 

Caricom, as the political grouping of 15 countries and dependencies is known, announced in July that it intended to seek reparations for slavery and the genocide of native peoples and created the Caribbean Reparations Commission to push the issue and present their recommendations to political leaders.

 

They then hired Leigh Day, which waged a successful fight for an award compensation of about $21.5 million for surviving Kenyans who were tortured by the British colonial government during the so-called Mau Mau rebellion of the 1950s and 1960s.

 

The commission’s chairman, Hilary Beckles, a scholar who has written several books on the history of Caribbean slavery, said he was “very pleased” that the political leaders adopted the plan.

 

In 2007, then British Prime Minister Tony Blair expressed regret for the “unbearable suffering” caused by his country’s role in slavery but made no formal apology. In 2010, then French President Nicolas Sarkozy acknowledged the “wounds of colonization” and pointed out France had canceled a 56 million euro debt owed by Haiti and approved an aid package.

 

The Caribbean Reparations Commission said Monday that far more needed to be done for the descendants of slaves on struggling islands, saying it sees the “persistent racial victimization of the descendants of slavery and genocide as the root cause of their suffering today.”

 

Reblogged by Wade Bailey

 

Associated Press writer Duggie Joseph reported this story in Kingstown, St. Vincent, and David McFadden reported from Kingston, Jamaica.

 

General Intelligence and Security Service Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations. Says Antilleans in ISIS.

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The transformation of jihadism in the Netherlands Swarm dynamics and new strength.

 

 

Hard to count, hard to profile The true size of the jihadist movement in the Netherlands is difficult to assess. Not everyone openly propounds their ideology, it can sometimes be hard to distinguish between jihadists and non-violent Salafists and internet personalities may be misleading. One individual can assume multiple jihadist identities online, and some of those who espouse jihad on the internet shy away from it in real life. However, the AIVD estimates that there are several hundred core adherents in the Netherlands and a few thousand sympathisers. Moreover, the movement’s appeal to some is so strong that they evolve remarkably quickly from followers at home to hard-core fighters on the front line in Syria, where they are prepared to take part in atrocities such as summary executions, mass murder and the beheading of opponents.

It is impossible to present a standard profile of the “typical” Dutch jihadist, or of the “typical” Dutch fighter abroad. The movement’s members vary widely in age, ethnic origin, educational attainment, employment background and home situation. Although the majority are men, many are women. A large proportion are in their twenties or thirties, but plenty more are older or younger. Some are minors. Relatively speaking, Dutch Moroccans are overrepresented (the majority of those identified by the AIVD as Dutch fighters abroad are of Moroccan origin). But ethnic Dutch converts to Islam are also found in the ranks of the movement, as are people of Somali, Antillean, Afghan, Turkish and Kurdish origin. Some lack even a basic educational qualification; others are university students or graduates. Many are out of work and living on benefits, but others hold down a variety of jobs. Some come from radical families that share their jihadist ideology, others from secular or moderate homes.

The widely-held view that they tend to deradicalise once they marry and have children does not always hold true. Several of the fighters now in Syria are husbands and fathers, and some have even been joined there by their wives and children. That is in defiance of mainstream religious leaders, who stress that jihadist fighters are in breach of Islamic teachings in respect of family obligations – for example, a child’s duty to obey their parents and a parent’s responsibility for their children.

Strategy Report Volume II Money Laundering and Financial Crimes March 2017. Sint Maarten.

United States Department of State

Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs

International

Narcotics Control

Strategy Report

Volume II

Money Laundering and Financial Crimes

March 2017

 

 

Sint Maarten

OVERVIEW

Sint Maarten is an autonomous entity within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Kingdom retains responsibility for foreign policy and defense, including entering into international conventions. The Kingdom may extend international conventions to the autonomous countries. With the Kingdom’s agreement, each autonomous country can be assigned a status of its own within international or regional organizations subject to the organization’s agreement. The individual countries may conclude MOUs in areas in which they have autonomy, as long as these MOUs do not infringe on the foreign policy of the Kingdom as a whole. In 1999, the Kingdom extended the UN Drug Convention to Sint Maarten, and in 2010, the UNTOC was extended to Sint Maarten.

A governor appointed by the King represents the Kingdom on the island and a Minister Plenipotentiary represents Sint Maarten in the Kingdom Council of Ministers in the Netherlands.

In June 2016, Aruba, Sint Maarten, the Netherlands, and Curacao signed an MOU with the United States to stimulate joint activities and enhance sharing of information in the areas of criminal investigation and upholding public order and security and to strengthen mutual cooperation in forensics and the organization of the criminal justice system. While the MOU is a broad-based attempt to improve all of the criminal justice system, one priority area is cracking down on money laundering operations.

VULNERABILITIES AND EXPECTED TYPOLOGIES

Sint Maarten has an offshore banking industry consisting of one bank.

Many hotels legally operate casinos on the island, and online gaming is also legal but is not subject to supervision.

Sint Maarten’s favorable investment climate and rapid economic growth over the last few decades have drawn wealthy investors to the island to invest their money in large scale real estate developments, including hotels and casinos. In Sint Maarten, money laundering of criminal profits occurs through business investments and international tax shelters. Its weak government sector continues to be vulnerable to integrity-related crimes.

KEY AML LAWS AND REGULATIONS

INCSR 2017 Volume II Country Reports

156

KYC laws cover banks, lawyers, insurance companies, customs, money remitters, the Central Bank, trust companies, accountants, car dealers, administrative offices, Tax Office, jewelers, credit unions, real estate businesses, notaries, currency exchange offices, and stock exchange brokers.

The MLAT between the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the United States, rather than the U.S. – EU Agreement, which has not yet been extended to the Kingdom’s Caribbean countries, applies to Sint Maarten and is regularly used by U.S. and Sint Maarten law enforcement agencies for international drug trafficking and money laundering investigations.

Sint Maarten is a member of the CFATF, a FATF-style regional body, and, through the Kingdom, the FATF. Its most recent mutual evaluation can be found at: https://www.cfatf-gafic.org/index.php/documents/cfatf-mutual-evaluation-reports/sint-maarten-1

 

AML DEFICIENCIES

In July 2015, Sint Maarten’s FIU reported that hundreds of unusual financial transaction investigations were backlogged at the Sint Maarten Public Prosecutor’s Office. Approximately 1,138 reports totaling $243 million have not been investigated.

The UNCAC has not yet been extended to Sint Maarten.

Sint Maarten has yet to pass and implement legislation to regulate and supervise its casino, lottery, and online gaming sectors in compliance with international standards. In addition, the threshold for conducting customer due diligence in the casino sector does not comply with international standards.

ENFORCEMENT/IMPLEMENTATION ISSUES AND COMMENTS

The National Ordinance Reporting Unusual Transactions establishes an “unusual transaction” reporting system. Designated entities are required to file unusual transaction reports (UTRs) with the FIU on any transaction that appears unusual (applying a broader standard than “suspicious”) or when there is reason to believe a transaction is connected with money laundering. If, after analysis of an unusual transaction, a strong suspicion of money laundering arises, those suspicious transactions are reported to the public prosecutor’s office.

The harbor of Sint Maarten is well known for its cruise terminal, one of the largest in the Caribbean islands. The local container facility plays an important role in the region. Larger container ships dock their containers in Sint Maarten where they are picked up by regional feeders to supply the smaller islands surrounding Sint Maarten. Customs and law enforcement authorities should be alert for regional smuggling, TBML, and value transfer schemes.

Ahead of pivotal European elections, rightist websites grow in influence.

The following post by Michael Birnbaum on March 6, for the Washington Post is a potent example, of the increasingly nationalist, populist direction that the Caucasian masses in Europe are willingly marching in. In step with their North American counterparts. The political elite on Sint Maarten will not take heed, the present course of developments in Europe and America will, force the politically progressive in the Caribbean including belatedly Sint Maarten, to unite out of a shared sense of mutual self-preservation.  To you Sint Maarteners who frequent this platform, read with an understanding and learn the salient potent lessons herein.

AMSTERDAM — On the brand-new political news website, the headlines could have been ripped from a speech by President Trump: Immigrants commit more crime, Syrian refugees are raping girls, and Muslim education is taking over the school system.

But the two-month-old Gatestone Europe website is based in the Netherlands; the contributors are Dutch. And their aim, their editor says, is to swing the debate ahead of European elections this year to deliver a tide of anti- immigrant leaders to office in the Netherlands, France, Germany and elsewhere.

Websites that focus on the perils of open borders, immigration and international alliances are expanding in scope and ambition in Europe, seeing a once-in-a-generation opportunity to harness the energy from Trump’s win to drive deep into a continent where traditional political parties are struggling. Some of the websites are registered in Russia. Others, like Gatestone Europe, are being supported by Americans with ties to Trump.

In the Netherlands, some online activists are backing a handful of anti-Muslim candidates, including the fiery Geert Wilders, who is running in a dead heat against the ruling party ahead of March 15 elections. In France, news blogs are spreading innuendo about the rivals of the anti-immigrant Marine Le Pen, who is the most popular presidential candidate in the lead-up to the election in April and May. And in Germany, some of the outlets have spread false stories about refugees raping people that were repeated by the Russian foreign minister. Fed by public anger about refugees, the Muslim-bashing Alternative for Germany party is poised to seize seats in Germany’s Parliament in September.

“There’s quite a lot of news, quite shocking, often with rape or violence and immigrants,” said Timon Dias, 29, who started Gate­stone Europe last month after several years of writing for a different anti-establishment website in the Netherlands. “We want people to learn what’s happening in Europe and vote accordingly, especially ahead of elections this year.”

Although many of the sites are small — the Amsterdam-based Gatestone Europe has only four writers, and no office — they do not need to be well established to score big on Facebook or Twitter. A spicy individual post can go viral with little regard for the history of the outlet.

It’s a crowbar in the system,” Dias said. “The main line is highly vigilant, highly critical about what the effects are of having a significant Muslim minority in the inner cities.”

The project is funded by the New York-based Gatestone Institute, which is chaired by former U.N. ambassador John Bolton, who was a finalist in Trump’s search for a new national security adviser. Contacted for comment, the Gatestone Institute made available one of its board members, retired Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz, who said that the organization is nonpartisan and that its aim is to “move the debate to the center.” Bolton did not reply to a request for comment.

As with other similar sites, many of Gatestone’s posts are based on true events, spun aggressively to feed the narrative that mainstream, pro-European Union politicians are selling out their countries to immigrants. The site does not support any one candidate in the Dutch elections, but the anti-E.U. leader of the small Forum for Democracy party, Thierry Baudet, is a contributor.

“We report the news to our readers in a directed way,” Dias said.

Although Wilders is likely to face trouble forming a coalition and Le Pen is forecast to lose the second round of France’s presidential election, both candidates have had success in shifting ­debate in their nations onto

more anti-immigrant, Euroskeptic ground. Far-right websites are often their megaphone.

In the Netherlands, similar news outlets have already made successful forays into Dutch political life.

A referendum last year on whether the Dutch government should ratify a trade deal with Ukraine was triggered by a far-right news site, GeenStijl.

The eventual rejection of the trade deal turned into an embarrassing defeat for the Dutch government, which was forced to backpedal on its commitment to Ukraine. Opponents of the trade deal, including GeenStijl, cited an opposition to E.U. expansion and a desire not to antagonize the Kremlin as reasons to vote it down.

Pro-Ukraine-deal campaigners say they suspect that the Kremlin put a finger on the scale by supporting activists and pro-Russian trolls online, although no link has been proved. The activists, including GeenStijl, deny any connection.

But even absent ties to Russia, the news sites demonstrated a powerful ability to disrupt the pro-E.U. agenda of the Dutch mainstream, creating a political headache for Dutch leaders and feeding Western disunity that coincides with Kremlin efforts.

“The Ukraine referendum has shown what kind of mayhem they can cause,” said Cas Mudde, a Dutch scholar of far-right movements at the University of Georgia. “What impressed a lot of people was their ability to mobilize people who were commenting on websites to go out and actually vote for a cause. People weren’t expecting that.”

Now GeenStijl’s political arm, GeenPeil — Dutch for “no poll” — has spun off into a political party and is contesting the parliamentary election on the promise to hold Dutch leaders accountable.

“Until my generation, everybody had a better life than their parents. That has stopped,” said Jan Dijkgraaf, 54, a former journalist who is now the leader of GeenPeil.

He said he did not consider himself a far-right politician, but he seized on immigration as a major focus for Dutch voters.

Dijkgraaf said he could understand if a mother of three needed temporary refuge from war. “But when there are boys of 25 with these kind of muscles, you have to think, are they really victims of a war, or do they have plans to get rich, or to do something like in Brussels or in Paris?”

The Ukraine referendum sparked a number of political parties, most of which have struggled to break through Wilders’s lock on anti-immigrant discourse in the Netherlands.

Wilders was using Twitter to spark outrage and publicity long before Trump turned to electoral politics. A tweet last month of a leading political opponent, Alexander Pechtold, Photoshopped into a pro-sharia demonstration in London dominated political coverage for days. Wilders later acknowledged that the photo was fake but said Pechtold had recently been to a similar demonstration.

“They don’t care about what is really true, what is a little true, or what is fake,” Pechtold said. “And that’s of course what we have seen in the United States.”

In the far-right Web universe, the faked picture caused no uproar.

“It’s a way of speaking to people,” said Bert Brussen, editor of ThePostOnline, another far-right website where headlines on recent articles have included “Iraqis on Trial for Gang Rape in Vienna” and “Massacre by Islamic terror was again prevented in Germany.”

“A lot of what Wilders says, it’s Internet language,” Brussen said. “The Internet makes them stronger, and they make the Internet stronger.”

In other countries with elections this year, far-right sites are also thriving, attracting the attention of some of the American outlets that helped propel Trump to victory. Last year, Breitbart News — whose former head, Stephen K. Bannon, is now Trump’s chief strategist — said that it would take the plunge into the French and German markets, although there is so far little sign that it is readying to open.

But anti-establishment activists in those countries may need little help.

In France, where far-right candidate Le Pen wants to take a hard line against Muslim immigration, hold a referendum on E.U. membership and embrace relations with the Kremlin, far-right news sites have taken aim at whichever candidate appears most likely to challenge her in the final round of the presidential election, due to be held May 7. (Le Pen is expected to win the first round.)

For months, that was center-right candidate François Fillon. More recently, a surge from the centrist Emmanuel Macron has drawn a volley of darts from ­rumor-mongering websites, some of them branches of Russian state media. Macron recently took on the rumors, joking that his apparent ability to have gay affairs puzzled his wife, who is usually by his side.

And in Germany and Austria, experts say roughly 30 German-language “alternative websites” are currently operating. Many have existed for years, but they have transformed into machines to undermine traditional politicians, especially since the start of Europe’s refugee crisis.

The majority of them, experts say, tend to have opaque ownership structures, making it difficult to ascertain who is behind them. They are almost universally pro-Russian in tone, and some of the German-language sites are operated from Russian servers, though direct links to the Russian government are hard to find.

“They publish stories with a true core, building their own atmosphere around this core, what we call ‘hybrid fake,’ ” said Andre Wolf, a spokesman for Mimikama, an Austria-based fact-checking website.

Many stories seem aimed at undermining German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s bid for reelection on Sept. 24. But as a center-left challenger, Martin Schulz, rose in the polls in recent weeks, along surged a flurry of fake reports — including one by the website AnonymousNews.ru falsely claiming that his father once ran a Nazi concentration camp.

Across Europe, Dias said, the possibility of change is alive.

“People feel the epicness of the times they’re living in,” he said.

Michael Birnbaum is The Post’s Brussels bureau chief. He previously served as the bureau chief in Moscow and in Berlin, and was an education reporter.

Study shows poor school infrastructure in Latin America, Caribbean.

Cross posted from the Jamaica Observer.

WASHINGTON, United States (CMC) — A new study has found that only one in four students in basic education in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) attends an educational centre with sufficient school infrastructure.

 

The study undertaken by the Education Division of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and UNESCO Regional Bureau for Education in Latin America and the Caribbean involved a comparative analysis of the relation between the state of school infrastructure in the region and learning among students from 15 countries.

 

The research involved a comparison of students’ results in the assessments of the Third Regional Comparative and Explanatory Study (TERCE) and school infrastructure characteristics and it revolved around the concepts of sufficiency, equity, and effectiveness.

 

The TERCE study was carried out by the Latin American Laboratory for Assessment of the Quality of Education (LLECE), which is coordinated by the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Education in Latin America and the Caribbean.

 

 

 

The study concludes that only one in four students in basic education in the region attend an educational centre with sufficient school infrastructure.

 

“Sufficiency is a concept related to access to six infrastructure categories: water and sanitation; connection to services; educational or academic spaces; offices areas; multipurpose rooms, and classroom equipment. In contrast, almost one third of the students in basic education attend schools with only two or less categories that met sufficiency levels of school infrastructure.”

 

Similarly, the analysis reveals significant inequalities in access to the different categories of school infrastructure, both in terms of students’ socioeconomic status and the geographic location of schools. In general, lower income students from countries that participated in TERCE attend schools with infrastructure in poor conditions.

 

The study also confirmed that most of the school infrastructure categories are positively and significantly associated with the students’ learning achievements.

 

“Although the situation is slightly different in each country, pedagogical and educational spaces (other than classrooms), followed by connection to services and the presence of multipurpose classrooms, are the infrastructure categories that are most often associated with higher learning achievements,” the report noted..

 

The IDB and UNESCO note that the research “highlights that the challenges for countries in the region lie not only in the provision of school infrastructure, but also in ensuring that these facilities truly become spaces and environments that promote a quality education”.

Why Sint Maarten will be independent: A fact driven analytical report.

 

The following statistics are from 2004 when the so called Netherlands Antilles still existed. The facts shown are also used by “analysts”, like Stefan Molyneux and others to bolster populist politicians like Geert Wilders’ case that Holland should have fewer immigrants https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypnC5-M7PhQ

Wilders’ fewer foreigners’ policy also includes all Dutch Caribbean people. Sint Maarten as I have indicated will be forced to become an independent entity from Holland, since the policies of the present Dutch government and majority of Dutch European citizens are diametrically opposed to the advancement of so-called Dutch Caribbean people. Independence for Sint Maarten is now more than ever an existential reality and no longer a talking point. I predict the coming independence of Sint Maarten and Curacao from the Netherlands. The new reality that is on the horizon will create an opportunity for the islands’ population, to truly participate in a democratic model based on our own unique, norms and values from a pan-Caribbean centered model. Much work remains to be done. Awaiting the Sint Maarten res-Republica !

The drug trade is a prime driver of crime across the Caribbean. In the Netherlands Antilles, authorities estimate that 75 percent of crime is drug-related. Some 60 percent of all the cocaine seized in the Caribbean in 2004 was seized in the Netherlands Antilles, and cocaine seizures there increased dramatically between 2001 and 2004. Confronted with large numbers of people attempting to smuggle drugs by commercial flights, authorities implemented a “100% Control” policy of screening large numbers of passengers for drugs. Drugs were confiscated from the couriers, but in most cases the couriers themselves were not arrested. The program has been very successful in reducing cocaine smuggling via air courier, and could be tested in other contexts, including other Caribbean countries suffering from drug transshipment. The Antillean example also highlights the need for cooperation between Caribbean transshipment countries and destination countries in maritime interdiction.

7.1. Despite their diversity, the Caribbean countries share a common affliction: they are geographically positioned in the world’s largest drug transit zone. South America produces nearly all the world’s cocaine. The United States and Europe are responsible for 88 percent of global retail sales of cocaine, a market worth some US$70 billion in 2003(UNODC, 2005). The gross domestic product of the entire Caribbean was US$31.5 billion in 2004. (ECLAC, 2006). In other words, the value of the drug flows through the region may exceed the value of the entire licit economy.

7.2. Drug trafficking is associated with significant increases in crime, particularly violent crime and the use of firearms, as violence or the threat of violence regulates transactions in this market. In addition, drug trafficking is associated with money-laundering, trafficking of firearms, and corruption. Drug use is associated with increases in both violent crime and various types of property crime. For more on recent drug trafficking trends in the Caribbean, see Chapter 2; for regional policy responses to drug trafficking, see Chapter 10.

7.3. CARICOM’s Regional Task Force on Crime and Security, speaks of a three-pronged strategy to international drug control:

  • Eradication or alternative development for producer countries (e.g. Colombia, Peru and Bolivia for cocaine)
  • Supply restriction through interdiction operations for transit countries (e.g. Caribbean states); and
  • Demand reduction for the main consumer countries (e.g. North America and Europe). (CARICOM, 2002)

7.4. This chapter examines interdiction efforts in the Netherlands Antilles. The Netherlands Antilles are an autonomous part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. They are comprised of two groups of islands located about 900 km apart: • Curacao and Bonaire, located in the south of the Caribbean, near the coast of Venezuela;

  • St. Eustatius, Saba, and St. Maarten, in the Eastern Caribbean.1

7.5. The Netherlands Antilles have a population of 183,000 people, (United Nations, 2004; United Nations, 2005)2 about 75 percent of whom live on the island of Curacao. The country is relatively well-developed, with a GDP per capita among the highest in the Caribbean, good infrastructure, and an economy based on tourism, financial services, and oil transshipment.

7.6. The Netherlands Antilles was chosen as a case study for two reasons. First, it is one of the Caribbean territories most afflicted by the drug trade and is among the world leaders in cocaine seizures per capita. Second, the government of the Netherlands Antilles, in collaboration with the Dutch government, has undertaken innovative and seemingly successful policies to interdict the supply of cocaine.

7.7. About 100 times more cocaine per capita was seized in the Netherlands Antilles than in the United States in 2004—over nine tons, or just under 50 grams of cocaine for every man, woman, and child on the islands.3 Some 60 percent of all the cocaine seized in the Caribbean in 2004 was seized in the Netherlands Antilles, and cocaine seizures increased dramatically between 2001 and 2004 (Figures 7.1 and 7.2).4

7.8. The increased flow of drugs though the region is believed to have a powerful impact on the local crime situation. The Netherlands Antilles authorities estimate that 75 percent of the crime on the islands is drug-related. On March 12, 2004, the Antillean government proposed a state of emergency due to the levels of crime afflicting the society, opening the door for both Dutch and Antillean military to participate in internal security operations. This was in response to a rapid increase in the number of crimes seen in Curacao. Drug-related murders increased from 12 in 2002 to 29 in 2003. Other islands experienced similar problems. The murder rate in St. Maarten went from 20 per 100,000 in 2001 to 47 per 100,000 in 2003.5

1 St. Maarten is half of an island, the other half being St. Martin, a French territory. Aruba was part of the Antilles until 1986, when it became a separate country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. While drug trafficking through Aruba used to be a major issue, it is much less so today. Aruba was removed from the US State Department’s list of major drug producing and transit countries in 1999. The reason for this decline is unclear.

2 World Population Prospects: The 2004 Revision and World Urbanization Prospects: The 2003 Revision, http://esa.un.org/unpp, accessed 25 July 2006.

3 The Netherlands Antilles ranked eighth in the world in terms of gross cocaine seizures in 2004, just behind the Netherlands and just ahead of Bolivia and Brazil.

4 In addition to a possible increase in real volumes transiting the region, the dramatic rise in seizure figures is likely the result of a shift from an early focus largely on airport interdiction to intelligence-led operations against major traffickers, which only began to pick up around 2001. This was also the time that the Coast Guard of the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba (CGNAA) came on line, after being equipped with three cutters in 1999.

5 Information on population and number of murders from the Central Bureau of Statistics Netherlands Antilles Statistical Yearbook as quoted on their on-line database:http://www.cbs.an/stat.asp.

The Netherlands Antilles have not always been at the epicenter of the global cocaine trade.6 Recently, a number of things have changed. Law enforcement efforts have made it less likely that cocaine shipments depart directly from Colombia than in the past, and more likely that they come from a secondary country, particularly Venezuela. Between much of the Venezuelan coastline and the rest of the world lie the islands of Curacao, Bonaire, and Aruba, so maritime cocaine shipments are likely to pass through the territorial waters of these countries. In addition, there is much commercial sea traffic between Venezuela and the Netherlands Antilles, which are just a few kilometers offshore.

7 This traffic provides cover for drug shipments that can then be forwarded by sea or by air.

7.10. The islands’ continued membership in the Kingdom of the Netherlands has also been important. While cocaine use in the United States is down since the 1990s, it has been increasing in Europe. The European portion of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is one of the two main points of entry for cocaine to Europe.8 The Netherlands Antilles have suffered from high rates of unemployment since the closure of the Shell refinery in

6 In the early days of the Colombian cartels, large volumes of drugs were flown by private planes into the United States, their main destination. Improvements in radar response put an end to this, and shipments became increasingly maritime. Again, most sea routes from Colombia to the U.S. did not pass through the most populous areas of the Dutch Caribbean.

7 Curacao is less than 65 km off the coast of Venezuela. Venezuela is the source of 52 percent of imports to Antilles. See Economist Intelligence Unit, “Netherlands Antilles Country Report.” London: EIU, June 2006.

8 The other being Spain. About 65 percent of the cocaine seized in Europe in 2004 was seized in Spain and the Netherlands. According to Europol, “Cocaine is also shipped from South America to Europe via the Caribbean Islands. This in part can be explained due to the historical links that exist between the Caribbean and some European countries, for example Curacao and the Netherlands …” See Europol, “Drugs 2006.” The Hague: Europol, 2006, p. 3.

7.11. A final factor in the remarkable seizure totals relates not to the existence of the flow of drugs but rather to their detection. Assisted by the Dutch Royal Navy and the Coast Guard for the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba (a common agency of the three countries in the Kingdom), Antillean law enforcement has intercepted some massive shipments in recent years, shipments that might have been missed by less well-resourced agencies, or only apprehended on arrival in Europe. Further, both the Antilleans and the mainland Dutch have also taken an innovative approach to stopping what had been a virtual stampede of couriers on commercial air flights. At least until recently, they have had a “drug focused” (as opposed to courier-focused) interdiction policy at the airports, a policy that is discussed further below.

DRUG TRAFFICKING ON COMMERCIAL AIR FLIGHTS: AN INNOVATIVE POLICY RESPONSE

7.12. It is estimated that 30 tons of cocaine enter Europe on commercial air flights every year, and that Schiphol International Airport in Amsterdam has been one of the primary points of entry (Europol, 2006). In 2000, 4.3 tons of cocaine were seized at Schiphol (INCB, 2001), and by August 2001, the flow of cocaine from the Netherlands Antilles had reached crisis proportions. An innovative approach became necessary. The first priority became stopping the ingress of drugs, even if that meant identifying more couriers than could possibly be prosecuted.

Given the facts shown above Wilders and others like him will continue to press for the case that, so-called Dutch Caribbean people are an existential threat to Dutch culture and society. Presently Wilders is again enjoying a high in the polls, showing that he is the leading Dutch politician which has been the case for years. The majority of the Dutch voting populace are for Wilders, it is only a matter of time before he gains a majority in the Dutch parliament. Given the nationalist sentiments dominating Dutch society and Europe as a whole I can only envision a hardening of the anti-foreigner (i.e. non-Dutch European) stance of the Dutch population which will eventually translate into policy in the first and second chambers in the Hague.  Forcing the islands of Sint Maarten and Curacao to secure their populaces’ future in an independent democratic model.