Soualiga News

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Sustainable finance project SSS-islands

SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) - This week the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) and World Wide Fund for Nature The Netherlands (WWF-NL) join forces with Wolfs Company to assist the Saba Conservation Foundation (SCF), St. Eustatius National Parks (STENAPA) and the Nature Foundation Sint Maarten (NFSXM) with strengthening their ability to achieve sustainable financing of the National Parks in Saba, St Eustatius and St Maarten, respectively.

Financing gap

Similar to other protected areas in the Caribbean, the organizations that manage the nature parks in the Dutch Caribbean (Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, Sint Eustatius and Sint Maarten) face a structural shortage of financing to fulfil their nature management tasks. In order to address this problem, several reports have been commissioned to, amongst others, identify the actual financial needs of the parks, the financing gaps and the potential financing mechanisms that could be implemented to bridge these gaps. However, these studies do not actually generate additional funding and do not address certain outstanding challenges.


Some of these challenges include: The lack of nature and financial management plans that provide a solid basis for financial planning, capacity within the park management authorities to actually undertake activities to identify and implement financing mechanisms, obstacles for putting financing mechanisms in practice, designing feasible financial mechanisms within the contextual constraints and possibilities of each of the islands.

Wolfs Company will bring in their expertise in conservation finance and facilitate workshops on each of the three SSS-islands of the Dutch Caribbean. The objective of this project is to address the challenges identified for the implementation of financing mechanisms to support protected area management, with the ultimate goal of supporting the parks’ management to develop and implement a sustainable financing strategy.

Building on experience and planning for the future

With the experience gained and expertise that is being built-up through this project, DCNA and WWF-NL will assess the possibility to set up similar workshops on the ABC-islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao).


World Interact Week in commemoration of the first Interact club

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Every year, in the week of 5TH November, Rotary celebrates World Interact Week, to commemorate the founding of the first Interact club in 1962. Interact Clubs are Rotary’s youngest leaders, who make a difference in their schools and communities.

To celebrate World Interact Week, the Rotary Club of St. Maarten-Mid Isle hosted members of the Interact Club of St. Dominic High School and Charlotte Brookson Academy at their weekly dinner meeting on Tuesday November 5th. Present were, from the St. Dominic High School Interact Club, President Chanae Davis, Vice President Saheli Kirpalani and Sergeant at Arms Diya Chatani and from the Charlotte Brookson Academy Interact Club were President K'Maya Lake, Ma Lyesha Cannegieter and Jamelia Smith.

Interact is an international organization of service and social clubs for young people of secondary school age 12-18 that fosters leadership and responsible citizenship and promotes international understanding and peace. The name “Interact” was created by combining the words “international” and “action.”

Interact clubs are sponsored by Rotary clubs as a program of Rotary International. The sponsor Rotary clubs provide guidance and inspiration, but the Interact clubs are self-governing and self-supporting. Clubs vary greatly, with both single-gender and mixed as well as large and small. The membership base of a club can be drawn from the student body of a single school or from two or more schools from the same community.

Each year, Interact clubs complete at least one community service project and at least one project that furthers international understanding and goodwill. Interact's five primary avenues of service include the following: community, international, school, environmental, and fundraising. Interactors develop a worldwide network of friendships through exchanges with local and overseas clubs. Along the way, Interactors develop their leadership skills and initiative while meeting new friends.

Interactors often spearhead the formation of Rotaract clubs and participate in Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA). Interactors also often go on to become Rotary Youth Exchange students or Ambassadorial Scholars.

The first Interact club was initiated on November 5th, 1962 by the Rotary Club of Melbourne, Florida, USA. Two months later, the first Interact club outside the United States was established in Tanjore, India. There are over 20,370 Interact clubs in 159 countries and geographical areas, 80% of the world’s countries have Interact clubs. Interact is truly a worldwide phenomenon.

Through service activities, Interactors learn the importance of, developing leadership skills and personal integrity, demonstrating helpfulness and respect for others and advancing international understanding and goodwill. Most importantly, World Interact Week celebrates Rotary’s youngest leaders making a difference in their schools and communities. 

The Rotary Club of St. Maarten-Mid Isle meets Tuesday at 7:30pm at Pineapple Pete in Simpson Bay. For more information please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit the Facebook page Rotary Club of St. Maarten-Mid Isle.


Governor Holiday: Perfecting Our St. Martin Story Together

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – On the occasion of the 60th Anniversary St. Martin’s Day, His Excellency drs. Eugene B. Holiday, Governor of Sint Maarten delivered the following address on November 11, 2019.

My fellow St. Martiners,

It is my pleasure, also on behalf of Marie Louise, to wish you a Happy 60th St. Martin’s Day celebration. (Note St. Martin refers to the entire island, Sint Maarten and Saint Martin)

Today November 11th, 2019, we gather to mark the 60th anniversary of the official joint celebration of St. Martin’s Day. Today we come together as brothers and sisters from North and South to celebrate our oneness based on the founding idea of Dr. Hubert Petit and Claude Wathey. Today is thus our celebration of “Our St. Martin Story”. Every year we start our celebration with the pleasant greeting: Happy St. Martin’s Day. It is a profound greeting. A greeting that reflects the story of the St. Martin spirit. A spirit of community, resilience and unity. It is the source of our kindness, solidarity and determination towards our common happiness and wellbeing. These are the values that have shaped our St. Martin way for generations.

This morning, amid our St. Martin’s Day greeting, we began our observance of our 60th St. Martin’s Day anniversary with a joint Church service at the Philipsburg Methodist Church in appreciation of God’s blessings and to seek his continued grace and guidance for us as a people and for our island. I was pleased to inspect our uniformed men and women in appreciation of their selfless service towards the maintenance of our cherished law and order. We laid wreaths at the Cole Bay/Bellevue border monument in recognition of our shared heritage and as inspiration for our common future. And we prepared a time capsule in acknowledgement of our obligations to future generations.

My fellow St. Martiners,

I highlighted our actions as a reminder of the significance of our St. Martin’s Day celebration as a shared moment of celebration and reflection. A shared moment in our continued obligation to perfect Our St. Martin Story together. It is my hope that you are enjoying our St. Martin’s Day Celebrations with family and friends in good St. Martin tradition and that you will take time to reflect on your contributions to Our St. Martin Story.

Our St. Martin Story is a story of overcoming seemingly insurmountable challenges. Over the years our island transitioned from Soualiga to St. Martin and from salt and agriculture to tourism. As a people,

  • we triumphed over slavery with emancipation in the mid 1800s[1];
  • we built a buoyant tourism economy in the latter half of the twentieth century;
  • we expanded the areas of Philipsburg[2], Marigot[3] and Simpson Bay[4] by reclaiming land in the Great Salt Pond, the Marigot Bay and the Simpson Bay Lagoon;
  • we recovered from the devastation of 7 hurricanes in the second half of the 1990s; and
  • we achieved significant constitutional reforms in the first decade of this century[5].

My fellow St. Martiners,

As we review these major accomplishments in our history the question that arises is what will the next major chapter in our story be? As we observe this 60th St. Martin’s Day anniversary we are, in view of the current challenges of climate change, socio-economic recovery needs and stable governance, reminded that the accomplishments I mentioned only give a snapshot of our evolving St. Martin Story. We are reminded that these accomplishments did not just happen. Our story, as passed down orally from generation to generation, as expressed in our Ponum dance, and as recorded in our Calypso songs, our paintings, our poetry and our history books, is the legacy of the hard work, sweat and sacrifices of our parents, grandparents and great grandparents.

The task before us today therefore is to build on their legacy. It is to write a new chapter in pursuit of perfecting Our St. Martin Story. This in the face of again seemingly insurmountable challenges.

My fellow St. Martiners,

The writing of our new chapter must start with our recommitment to stable governance. This to provide the foundation and leadership to fuel needed investments: in excellence in education, in excellence in health care, in the protection of our land and heritage, in sustainable waste management solutions, in Climate Change Resilience and in the revitalization of our economy. Successive generations of St. Martiners have fulfilled their tasks guided by a spirit of community, resilience and unity in purpose for St. Martin. Anchored in my faith in our people I therefore, on this 60th Anniversary of the celebration of Our St. Martin Story, trust that we will embrace these core St. Martin qualities and write a new chapter towards perfecting Our St. Martin Story.

To close, we are in this regard encouraged by the following messages of our calypsonians about Our St. Martin Story. While we may be “brokes again” as rendered by King Beau Beau, we have a shared obligation to invest in building “a model nation” as recommended by The Mighty Brat, an investment which is necessary to maintain our legacy that “St. Martin is still the best” as sung and affirmed by The Mighty Dow. My Fellow St. Martiners, carrying on our legacy is a task, an obligation which we can only fulfill together.

May this 60th St. Martin’s Day celebration therefore serve as an inspiration for our continued perfecting of Our St. Martin Story.


Thank you, God Bless You,

And May God Bless St. Martin and Protect its Coast.

[1] Emancipation of the enslaved black men of women was proclaimed in the North in 1848 and in the South in 1863.

[2] In the late 1960s and early 1970s

[3] In the 1980s and early 1990s

[4] In the late 1970s and early 2000s

[5] The north became a French Collectivity in 2007 and the South became an Autonomous country in the Kingdom of the Netherlands in 2010.


Kids Connect with Nature and Heritage at Migratory Bird Festival

SINT MARTIN (FRENCH QUARTER) —On Saturday, hundreds of kids roamed garden paths looking for signs of birds. They dipped nets into huge old boiling coppers to find tadpoles and aquatic insects. They decorated their own bird backpacks to take home and learned how their own family story is part of the island’s history. Learning has never looked so fun!

It was a beautiful sunny day during the island’s rainiest month, and over 250 people came out to enjoy the seventh annual Migratory Bird Festival at Amuseum Naturalis. The festival celebrates the birds that travel thousands of miles each year to come to St. Martin. It also celebrates the things that make St. Martin special to both birds and people. 

“This year’s festival was really special because we were able to provide buses for schools and youth groups,” said festival organizer Jenn Yerkes. “We were able to reach more youth than ever, and it is all thanks to our sponsors. It’s not enough to have a free event if the kids can’t get there, so we want to do this even more in the future.”

At the Portable Pond Station, people learned about all the underwater animals that many birds come to St. Martin to eat. They could even see them up close under the microscope. Kids explored the gardens and paths while playing Bird Bingo and a habitat scavenger hunt from the BirdSleuth Caribbean program. They also learned about pelicans and how plastic can harm birds.

In the craft area, kids and adults decorated canvas backpacks with bird art. They took the backpacks home, to use instead of plastic bags. The mobile media and learning hub IdeasBox were also at the event, bringing books, games and tablets loaded up with videos and e-books about St. Martin’s birds.

Heritage preservation work was also done at the event. One team of volunteers recorded oral history interviews with event visitors. Another team showcased the mobile heritage preservation station, scanning photos and giving advice on how to preserve pictures. Visitors saw how many things can be learned from photos, and how family stories and photos are part of the island’s history. 

The annual Migratory Bird Festival is organized by the Les Fruits de Mer association. The 2019 event was made possible by the generous support of this year’s sponsors: 97150, Animal Hospital of St. Maarten, Belair Beach Hotel, BirdsCaribbean, BZSE, Caraïbes Numeric Print, Delta Petroleum, Dynaf, Etna Ice Cream, Hotel L’Esplanade, Lagoonies Bistro and Bar, Trakx Design, White Sands Beach Club and Yacht Club Port de Plaisance.

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At the Portable Pond, kids got an up-close peek into an underwater world. (Photo by Mark Yokoyama)

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An interview team recorded oral histories at the event. (Photo by Mark Yokoyama)

les Boiling Coppers

Historic boiling coppers are a hunting ground for kids looking for tadpoles and aquatic bugs. (Photo by Mark Yokoyama)

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Kids explore nature while playing BirdSleuth Caribbean games. (Photo by Kristin DeFalco)

les Backpacks

Cotton backpacks are a plastic alternative and look great with bird art. (Photo by Kristin DeFalco)



60th St. Martin Day Celebration Message from MP Wescot Williams

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – United Democrats (UD) Leader Member of Parliament (MP) Sarah Wescot Williams released her St. Martin’s Day Message on Sunday evening.

Her message reads as follows: “Fellow St. Martiners, As we celebrate the 60th commemoration of St. Martin Day, let us recognize and be thankful that notwithstanding the many challenges we have faced over the past decades, we have managed to hold on to this day.

“The creators of St. Martin Day, Dr. Petit and Dr. Wathey wanted to celebrate the oneness of the St. Martin people. Their enthusiasm for this day was inspired by the St. Martin people.

“No doubt, 1648, the year of the Treaty of Concordia, is an important year in our nation’s history, as it marks the peaceful coexistence after centuries of warring occupation of our island. But St. Martin Day is a day inspired by ‘We the People’. That’s ‘We Story.’

“That’s how come my navel-string is buried in Marigot. That’s how come my grandfather was caught bootlegging in Grand Case.  That’s how come when hurricane Donna struck, I was at my aunt’s in Concordia.

“There were a few times in the past years, when it seemed as if we were bent on cutting the cords that bind us, but thankfully it never happened. There were times when tempers flared and harsh words spoken, but today we still stand strong.

“This day’s 60th observance, is testimony to the fact that regardless of what tends to get between us, that what keeps us together is resilient and strong. Any attempts to throw a wedge between the 2 parts of this unique island have until now always met with resistance.

“We have firmly stood together when it mattered most.  It is evident nevertheless, that as leaders, we are so caught up with the daily management of our individual responsibilities, that the collective issues we face as one island are too often relegated to second place.

“Even so, we have managed to maintain the oneness, the openness, the freedoms for our people, as if one. However, we must always remember that the world we live in is becoming more complex by the day. The powers that be, the French Republic and the Kingdom of the Netherlands are subject to global demands themselves and in turn they look at us to be in synch, with little regard for our limitations as a small island state.

“We cannot continue to take for granted the bonds that has kept us together for centuries. And if nothing else, every St. Martin Day should serve to reaffirm our commitment to the oneness of our island and its people.  It is time we conceive a modern-day “Treaty of Concordia”, but this time by us and for us, thereby reaffirming the very essence of St. Martin Day. Happy St. Martin Day”


Coast Guard saves 74-year old sailor who had been drifting for four days at sea

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - Last Thursday the Rescue and Coordination Center of the Coast Guard received a notification from the St. Kitts authorities that a sailboat had drifted near Saba, the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard (DCCG) said in a press statement on Saturday.

“The sailboat named Caribella was 32 miles south of the Saba Bank with a person on board. The captain had been drifting with his boat at sea for four days because his vessel ran out of gas. The Coast Guard Cutter Poema from St. Maarten sailed to the Saba Bank to assist the sailboat.

Upon arrival, the Poema crew gave the captain food and water as he also ran out of food. The 74-year-old man looked very exhausted. The sailboat was initially moored in St. Eustatius where the captain indicated that he would continue sailing after resting.

“After being moored in St. Eustatius and seeing the man's condition, the Poema decided to drag the sailboat to St. Maarten and advised the captain not to continue his journey.”

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The beach, pond and dump speak at LU’s St. Maarten Day assembly

SINT MAARTEN (CAY HILL) - Learning Unlimited Preparatory School (LU) on Friday held its St. Maarten Day Assembly under the theme “Clean Up St. Maarten” and featured as special guests a beach, the Great Salt Pond and the Philipsburg Landfill more popularly known as the dump.

While a majority of the program featured performances LU’s students, three of the school’s teachers performed shorts skits as a beach, the pond and the dump decrying how they are treated on a regular basis. The dialogue between the beach and the pond focused on how each was being treated. In the beach’s case the amount of garbage left behind after celebrations were highlighted, while the pond complained about being filled in, shrunken in size, and used for disposing of waste.

The dump, performed by Dean of Students at LU Danny Fleming, begged for a solution. “When is this going to stop? I can’t take it anymore! I had enough! Everyone is blaming me for making people sick and for making the town look bad but it is not my fault. I would never do this to myself. I feel so ashamed when the tourists stare at me. SXM reduce, reuse, and recycle. Give me a fair chance. Build an incinerator in a faraway open land… something How much higher you want me go? My goodness… clouds passing through my head,” the dump cried.

Head of LU’s Primary School Amissa President explained that the goal of the 2019 St. Maarten day assembly was to send a message to the general public to consider reducing, reusing and recycling. In this context, part of the program was a “Trashion Show” which saw students and modeling trash items they find around their homes. “The message was about keeping St. Maarten clean, not just beautiful,” President said.

LU’s stage backdrop was made of recycled materials, showcasing St. Maarten. The tree trunks were made up of newspaper intertwined with brown paper from amazon packages, while the leaves were all Sprite, Ting and Heineken cans. The Clean Up SXM sign was made up of coke, Pepsi, Carib Beer and Canada Dry cans as well as egg cartons which were used for the word “UP. “ The sea was made up of layers of plastic bottles and Pepsi Cans. Lastly, the sun emitted its rays with yellow bottle caps of two different sizes. “This is indeed a true example of “Trash to Treasure,” President said.

The rest of the program featured dances by students and other entertainment. Prime Minister Wycliff Smith, Minister Stuart Johnson, Minister Christopher Wever, MP’s Rolando Brison, Tamara Leonard and Ardwell Irion were all in attendance.

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LU’s grade 7 students performing their dance.





Police arrest man for theft

PHILIPSBURG - The police arrested the male suspect with the initials R.L. Thursday morning November 7th, 2019, at the Philipsburg Police station.

He was suspected of being involved in the theft of an expensive measuring device from a house on the E.C Richardson Street in the month of August.

The suspect was handed over to the detective department for further questioning. After his statement was taken he was released and given a summons to appear in court. (Sint Maarten Police Force)



SINT MAARTEN (CUL DE SAC) - St. Maarten Academy has double reason to celebrate now that two of its candidates earned coveted spots on the May/June Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) CSEC merit list. The CXC merit list comprises the top 10 students in every subject from among 122,813 candidates who sat the regional examination in May/June.

Placing fifth in the region in Principles of Accounts was David Beek, who copped a Grade 1 pass in the subject area with a straight ‘A’ Profile. Beek, who wrote nine CSEC subjects, earned Grade I passes in all, eight of which were straight ‘A’ profiles. He earned Grade I passes in English A, Information Technology, Integrated Science, Mathematics, Principles of Accounts, Principles of Business, Social Studies, Spanish, and Additional Mathematics. He also secured an A in Cambridge Dutch.

The second student to make the regional merit list in Social Studies was Nigel Adriana, who placed tenth in the region, earning a Grade I with straight ‘A’ profiles. Adriana obtained 10 Grade I passes out of the 11 CSEC subjects that he sat. Eight of these were with straight ‘A’ profiles. His Grade I passes were in Additional Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Human and Social Biology, Information Technology, Integrated Science, Mathematics, Physics, English A, Social Studies, and Geography. He also copped an A in Cambridge Dutch. Adriana is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Technology at Northern Caribbean University in Jamaica.

Speaking on his achievement, a humbled Beek stated that he was pleasantly surprised to make the merit list for Principles of Accounts, as he had been aiming to make the merit list for Additional Mathematics, which he found “fun” due to its need for thinking and precision. The math whiz, who is currently pursuing an Associate Degree in Mathematics at the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE) at St. Maarten Academy has not yet settled on a career path. He is considering a career which requires “precision and the use of technology”. He further added that he tries to live by the maxim, “There is profit in all labour”, and admonishes the upcoming cohort to start curbing their social media use at least three months ahead of examinations. He also expressed his thanks to God and his teacher, Head of the Business Studies Department, Ms. Maura Bute for helping him accomplish this feat.

Adriana, meanwhile, picked Social Studies in Form 4 as an extra subject, under the advice of his mom, who encouraged him to “do it just for the experience!” And what an experience it was! He expressed his gratitude to his teacher, Mrs. Joy-Ann Browne-Skeete for offering him her tremendous support as he prepared to write the subject.

St. Maarten Academy continues to lead the pack on the island by producing the top results at the regional examinations. Over the years, the school has also made the merit list in subjects such as Music (placing first and fourth in the region), Additional Mathematics, Mathematics, and Physics.

The school’s principal, drs. Tallulah Baly-Vanterpool said: “As a school we strive to put forth our best selves despite our current challenges. I am proud and inspired by our students and teachers – their passion, dedication, and drive to excel. Congratulations to our students, parents, and teachers, and by extension St. Maarten, as placing on the CSEC regional merit list is not a small feat.”

The Board of the Foundation for Academic and Vocational Education (FAVE), under which the school falls, congratulates these two young men on their exceptional performance and recognition, and looks forward to honouring them, along with others when the Class of 2019 walks in their commencement ceremony on December 18, 2019 at the Belair Community Center.

David Beek David Beek





District Governor Delma Maduro visits Rotary Sunset

SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) - Members of the Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset welcomed Governor, Delma Maduro and her husband, Past Assistant Governor Audley Maduro, to their general meeting on Monday October 21.

Governor Delma Maduro holds one of the highest positions within District 7020, which comprises of the islands St. Barths, St. Maarten / St. Martin, Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Haiti, Turks and Caicos Islands, and the Bahamas.

The purpose of the official club visit was to allow Governor Delma Maduro the opportunity to communicate with Rotarians from each club within the district. It also served as an opportunity for Governor Delma Maduro to gain a better understanding of each club and to provide support and to inform each club of the programs of Rotary as well as to share the vision and the goals of these programs.  Governor Delma Maduro was able to see firsthand the accomplishments of the club for the Rotary year.

During the meeting, President Jaida Nisbett gave a brief overview of the club’s accomplishments thus far as well as the upcoming projects and events. President Jaida also provided details on the club’s goals for membership growth and retention as well as the club’s plans to support the district’s Diabetes Prevention and Awareness program. The chair persons of the club’s committees discussed upcoming projects and events with DG Delma and the club members.

The Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset would like to send a special thank you to Guavaberry, I Love SXM Bar, and Laser It for the souvenirs donated, which were presented to DG Delma and PAG Audley.  

Amongst invited guest were District Governor Nominee, Louis Wever, his wife Rotarian Amanda Wever, Assistant Governor Marcellia Henry, and visiting Rotarian Heidi Hammervik of the Rotary Club of Holmestrand in Norway.

The members of the Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset would like to extend their heartfelt gratitude to Governor Delma Madura and her husband PAG Audley for visiting the island and the club and for providing her support and encouragement. We look forward to the rest of the Rotary year 2019-2020 under their leadership. 

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