Press briefing notes of April 11th 2012 by the Prime Minister, Minister Hon.Sarah Wescot-Williams

1. On Tuesday, April 10, 2012, the Council of Ministers met with representatives of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino enterprises and the Seminole Tribe of Florida, regarding this group’s discussions with the Simpsonbay Resort about a possible purchase of the resort. The group, no strangers to St. Maarten are confident that an eventual agreement will benefit them and the country St. Maarten. The Seminole Tribe is a sovereign entity in the state of Florida. Preliminary ideas hold promise of a development that would greatly contribute to our tourism product and St. Maarten in general. After these orientations, the representatives of Hard Rock will now submit a formal position to government that will include a request for government’s support for the group’s plans.


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2. Parliament has formally forwarded the motions as accepted by Parliament on March 22nd to the Government for its handling. This submission has lead to these motions being forwarded to the respective Ministries of government for advisement. These motions are: Motion Laville re. alternative energy; motion Laville re. Pawnshops; motion de Weever re. Succession Tax; motion Richardson/Leonard re. plastic bags; motion de Weever re. land tax.

General Affairs, VROMI, Finance and TEZVT are the relevant ministries in connection with these motions.

3. A formal response has been sent to the Minister for Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations, Mrs. J. Spies regarding St. Maarten’s membership in the Kingdom commissions as agreed to during the Kingdom Conference of December 2011. St. Maarten has opted to coordinate the workings of these commissions with those established by St. Maarten as part of the Arikok Agreement. The Arikok Agreement consists of agreements between the Prime Ministers of Aruba, Curacao and St. Maarten regarding new and more areas of cooperation between these 3 countries. The Department of Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations of St. Maarten will act as support for these commissions. It has also been agreed that the chairmanship of the Kingdom commissions will be shared amongst the four countries and as such St. Maarten will take on the chairmanship of the commission that will report on cooperation in the Kingdom and a kingdom secretariat.

4. The Ministerial consultation between the Prime Minister and the Dutch Minister for Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations, that was scheduled for April 12th has been postponed due the schedule of the latter. These so-called MO’s are held to review the quarterly reports on the plans of approach that have been agreed upon. Ministries that have a plan of approach are those of General Affairs (Census), Justice and VROMI. The meeting on the 12th was to take place by video conference and has been reschedule for April 24th . In the meantime, the possibility exists that a meeting takes place with Mrs. Spies during my upcoming travel to the Netherlands from April 17th thru 21st .

5. Preparations are being made for our attendance at the UN conference on Sustainable Development "Rio+20" to be held this June in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. A kingdom delegation will attend the conference. It is expected that the 3 Prime Ministers of the Caribbean countries will be leading their country’s delegation. The conference runs from June 19th thru the 23rd .

6. The final version of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR on human rights obligations) for the Kingdom has been drafted. The UPR involves a review of the human rights records of all UN member states. Not only do states report on their actions to improve their human rights records and overcome any challenges in this area, but also on best and innovative practices. It is the first report in which St. Maarten is included as a country and was responsible for gathering its own data for this report. St. Maarten has included references to the law passed on "declaration of paternity", on the Constitutional Court, our newly established ombudsman office, the Integrated Neighborhood Development Program and compulsory education.