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SXM Youth talent rocks TelCell Breakthrough finals 2017

POND ISLAND - TelCell’s Breakthrough Youth Talent Show finals, held for the first time at the Harbour Facility, Saturday, is being hailed the biggest and best to date by show organizers and an emotion-packed audience.

Once again the performance brought the audience to its feet and some to tears, with all youngsters performing to a very high professional level - leaving the panel of judges with a lot of work to do to select the winning acts.

At the end of the night and into the early hours of Sunday morning the organizers announced this year’s TelCell Breakthrough Youth Talent Search winners in their respective categories as:

TelCell Breakthrough 2017 Winners

Sinatra Bauld – vocals; Shakim York – Rapping; Temaia Dennis - Spoken Word; Manukiell Edwards - Dance (Urban); Jeremiah David- dance (technique); Tyler Percival – Instruments.

This year second place finalists were also named:

Quon Gordon – Singing; Niky Jean Charles aka (Dice) – Rapping;

Timothy da Silva - Dance (Urban); Ingemar Arndell- Dance (technique);

Gershwin Busby – Instruments.

Individual Awards:

Most developed artist - Stefanas Waakzaam; Best team spirit - Roan Soriano;

Telcell SMS campaign - Temaia Denis; Most Creative Perfomance - Tyler Percival; Best Promoter - Jason Brice.

Producer’s Pick - Tyler Percival

The winning acts will be the toast of TelCell for the next year with the TelCell Breakthrough winners already booked to assist the company with promotional spots along with promotion of their own performing schedules.

The winners will soon be featured on posters throughout the island delivering their own personal messages to their peers in schools and in the St. Maarten community generally.

They will top their year by collaborating on a CD and music video that they will write, perform and produce by themselves with the assistance of the show’s co-organizer and Producer, Berteaux “Mr. Rude” Fleming of Xtratight Entertainment.

This year’s event was hosted at the Harbour Facilities in Point Blanche for the first time and tickets were sold at a much reduced rate of $5 under the theme “#STAND” so that people affected by the passing of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria could attend.

“The decision to continue with the show this year despite having to move the venue, paid off with some really, really great acts and our best audience yet,” said co-organizer, Angel Richardson, of TelEm Group.

TelEm Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr. Kendall Dupersoy, and TelEm Group Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) Mr. Brian Mingo both congratulated the winners during the awards presentation ceremony at the end of an exciting night of entertainment. Both however had equally warm words for all the performers who they both said had performed amazingly well on the night.

“I am so impressed that we have such talent amongst our youth on St. Maarten and I am especially proud that our mobile provider TelCell, is helping to showcase that talent;” said Mr. Dupersoy.

The TelEm Group CEO took the opportunity to announce that on the 5th anniversary of the TelCell Breakthrough event, the company will also be sponsoring a recording deal for the second placed winners so that they too will get a chance to collaborate on their own CD.

Both TelEm Group executives were joined by the organizers in congratulating the team of volunteers and sponsors who have all played their part in making the TelCell Breakthrough Talent Search event the number one youth event on St. Maarten.

“We could not do it without the performers, the audiences, the sponsors and most of all the volunteers who are so passionate about keeping the TelCell Breakthrough energy going throughout entire year, and every year for the past five years,” said co-organizer, Angel Richardson.

She said two new sponsors have come on board on the strength of Saturday’s show alone.

“We are very, very pleased and we want to thank TelEm Group Management once again for backing this event for St. Maarten’s Youth, who have once again hit the ball right out of the ballpark so far as their talent goes,” said Angel.

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NA Board extremely proud of Marlin. Party to formally select Jacobs on Dec.10 at congress

PHILIPSBURG – The National Alliance (NA) party board issued a press release on Sunday praising Leader of the party and former Prime Minister William Marlin as well as highlighting some of his accomplishments.

“As a board, we wanted the people of St. Maarten to know that we are EXTREMELY proud of our leader Prime Minister William Marlin. We realize that some people have been trying to discredit him as a politician and a person. We know the real man, the man devoted to family and friends and loyal to St. Maarten. We also felt the need to remind ourselves of some of his many accomplishments.

“Many politicians can claim to have vision or a record of accomplishments but upon scrutiny, their claims are easily discarded. Prime Minister Marlin can not only claim vision but can show his accomplishments as tangible projects that were brought to completion. His accomplishments are more than we can take the time but we felt as he is getting ready to pass on the baton of leader ship to Minister Silveria Jacobs at NA’s congress on December 10th, we should reflect on some of his most important accomplishments.

“The main accomplishment in our opinion, is the Belvedere housing project or maybe Status change, envisioned, planned and successfully completed. The largest housing project in the entire former Netherlands Antilles and achieving 10-10-10 when others said it was not possible. Schools (before our children were going to school in bars and churches), Community Centers (where we meet and enjoy the community), paved roads (St. Peters and Cay Hill were swallowing dirt and Link 1), his propensity of getting things done that others failed to do, getting the new government building open after many years of stories by others. All this, in limited time in Government.

“His recent tenure as Prime Minister was something to behold. He represented us with honor, respect and integrity overseas and demanded attention wherever he spoke. Now out of the blue, the Dutch Government is trying to paint him black. Need we remind you what name the Dutch had for MP Theodore Heyliger “Mr. 10%,” back then, William Marlin was the preferred leader but now after he stood up to the Dutch, protecting our self-determination, he is the worst.

“Over the last 39 years, our leader has dealt with some ups and downs but if history is fair, she will consider his political career as a successful one and he a great leader. One that was in the service of all and not for the benefit of a few.

“Another testament of a great leader is to groom and prepare for others to take over; and so for the past few years, this is exactly what he has done with Minister Silveria Jacobs. He saw her potential, which has been supported by the people in the polls, and she has accepted the challenge. William Marlin has earned our respect and honor for his valiant service to St. Maarten. We have no doubt that Silveria Jacobs will continue along these same lines.

“The National Alliance always puts St. Maarten first. William Marlin started this party with that concept, imagined it, lived it and executed it when he got the chance. He has stood for his country and her people as an honorable man. We commend him and stand with him. May God bless him and protect him as he continues to serve the people of St. Maarten in this new chapter of his life,” the NA party board concludes in its Sunday press statement.

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Bervoets Family Organizes Hurricane Relief Supplies for Charlotte Brookson Academy: Presents 10.000 Euro Cheque

POND ISLAND - Members of the Bervoets Family, both living in Sint Maarten and in Belgium, organized a Hurricane Irma Relief Supply Drive for the Charlotte Brookson Academy of the Performing Arts.

Renown Belgian actor, Gene Bervoets, who used to reside on the island some years ago as a drama teacher, director of the Cultural Center and Director of the Council on the Arts; and his children Tadzio Bervoets, Manager of the Sint Maarten Nature Foundation and Ayumi Bervoets, Senior Policy Advisor to the Minister of Justice; on Friday presented the Charlotte Brookson Academy with much-needed Hurricane relief funds: “Sint Maarten is very close to my heart, not only because of the fact that I lived here but also because my kids work and live here.

“That is why I was so deeply affected by the effects of Hurricanes Irma and Maria on what I consider my home island. When I was following the aftermath of the hurricane from in Belgium I realized that the island, especially schools, will need all the help we could provide so with Tadzio and Ayumi we decided to assist the Charlotte Brookson Academy with their rebuilding after the hurricane.

“I used to teach performing arts when I use to live here, and I think after a traumatic experience such as a hurricane it is important to provide especially young people with a way to express themselves through art. That is why we thought it so important to support the Charlotte Brookson Academy,” commented Bervoets.

The Performance Arts School, which used to be housed in the former Government Building, suffered extensive damage during both hurricanes, forcing pupils to relocate to tents and in different buildings in order to continue to receive lessons.

The school also lost significant school supplies during the Hurricanes; “with his financial assistance gathered by the community in Belgium mostly organized by my daughter Ayumi and from various people and organizations including from the H. Pius X Institute Secondary School where my son Tadzio attended after Hurricane Luis, Het Geluidshuis, Kadonation and Tablefever, we hope that the Academy can get a push in normalizing the situation for their students,” concluded Bervoets.

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2018 Atlantic hurricane season could be more active than 2017 season. Caribbean could be at high risk

SINT MAARTEN/CARIBBEAN – The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season is officially over – November 30.  It has been described as an extremely busy season with 17 named storms, 10 of which became hurricanes and six of those major hurricanes of Category 3 and higher with scale five being the highest.  The season saw two destructive Category 5 hurricanes, namely Irma and Maria.

Weather specialist said described the season as the most destructive, intense and among the busiest on record, with three systems causing the most damage, Harvey (peak winds of 130 miles per hour), Irma (185 mph) and Maria (175 mph).

Irma will go down in the record books for being able to maintain an intensity of 185 mph for 37 hours; it was also the strongest on record in the Atlantic; the most intense ever to hit the Leeward Islands.  It is the second-strongest hurricane observed in the Atlantic coming behind Allen (1980) with 190 mph.

Crown Weather Services in its end of the season report says it is concerned that the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season could be another active one with activity similar to 2017 or possibly even a little more active.  The aforementioned is based on ENSO and sea surface temperature forecasts for next year.

Crown Weather says: “I think that we could see the following for the 2018 Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Hurricane Season: 17 Named Storms, 8 of those storms becoming Hurricanes and 3 of those of hurricanes becoming Major Hurricanes.

“The reason why I'm not forecasting a busier season is due to the significant uncertainty with the ENSO models and a currently less than favorable sea surface temperature profile setup. If we do end up seeing very favorable conditions materialize, then we could see higher numbers than what I am currently forecasting.

“As for possible storm tracks during the 2018 Hurricane Season – The track cluster during the 2017 Hurricane Season was further west and slightly more south than the 2016 Season. This is a trend that began in 2015 and is concerning because I think the track cluster during the 2018 Hurricane Season could end up being further west and south than the 2017 Season.

“This means that the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico could be at particular risk from tropical storms and hurricanes during the 2018 Hurricane Season. In addition, the Bahamas and south Florida could also be at risk again during 2018 for a tropical storm or hurricane landfall.”

SOUALIGA NEWSDAY REPORT

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Port St. Maarten Senior Management meets with Dutch Secretary of State Knops

PORT ST. MAARTEN – Port St. Maarten Interim Directors T. van Kooten and R. van der Mark hosted Dutch State Secretary for Interior and Kingdom Relations Raymond Knops and his delegation of 11 at the Dr. A.C Wathey Cruise and Cargo Facilities this week during his visit to the country.

State Secretary Knops was given a presentation with regard to the current state of affairs at Port St. Maarten from its various business pillars which includes Cruise. Cargo, Yachting and Real Estate.

The State Secretary was informed about the importance of getting the cargo facilities back into operation after the passing of Hurricane Irma, and the important role that it played days and weeks after the hurricane in emergency relief and humanitarian efforts.

Port St. Maarten Management also briefed State Secretary Knops about the extensive damages caused by Irma and how assistance may be needed from the Kingdom to sustain some of the costs.

“We informed the State Secretary that as a Port we have taken care of most of the critical items to become operational in lieu of the arrival of the first commercial cruise ship calls for the season, however there are strategic items that we may have to discuss in the coming months to remain a true competitor in the region as we move ahead,” Port St. Maarten Management said on Friday.

Port Management also gave State Secretary Knops and his delegation a tour of the cruise and cargo facilities where he could view first-hand some of the damages caused by Irma including those to Cruise Pier South.

During the tour, Dutch State Secretary Knops was also updated on the loss of cruise business for the period September to the end of November totaling nearly 450.000 passengers along with the ongoing efforts to recoup these numbers in the upcoming season that kicks off in December post-Irma with the cruise ship Viking Sea on December 4.

“The discussions with the Dutch State Secretary were very fruitful, and we hope to have continued discussions in the coming months relating to building back better,” Port St. Maarten Management said on Friday.

The Dutch State Secretary is on a week-long visit to Sint Maarten, St. Eustatius and Saba which includes meeting with the three Governments, representatives of the private sector, Non-Governmental Organizations to discuss reconstruction required by the islands in the aftermath of hurricane Irma.

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PJL receives collection of “Childhood Cultures Series: Bouba & Zaza from local UNESCO SG Henry

PHILIPSBURG — November 20th, 2017, was the United Nations convention on the Rights of the Child. In commemoration of the UN observance the Secretary General of Sint Maarten National Commission for UNESCO, Ms. Marcellia Henry presented to the Philipsburg Jubilee Library’s (PJL) Director, Mrs. Monique Alberts and Children’s Librarian and Public Relations Officer, Maryland Powell, 12 books from the book series “Childhood Cultures: Bouba & Zaza” to circulate to the community at large.

The Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) and UNESCO’s Regional Office in Dakar describes the book series Childhood Cultures as “an intergenerational African series of children’s books”.

Through the experiences of the main characters Bouba and Zaza, the series seeks to develop life and socialization skills outside the family context among children. It is also aimed at parents, teachers, care takers and mentors.

The lesson and concepts include various topics as the issue of water resources and environmental protection; the HIV/AIDS pandemic; saying No to sexual advances; and moral values.

The Series are designed to assist communities and their children to discussion and find proper solutions for these problems.  Addressing these spoken and unspoken topics will help the community and children to better adapt to their environment. The books assist with the improvement of children’s communication skills, their sense of responsibility and their ideas of justice.

The 12 books received from UNESCO representative Secretary General Ms. Marcellia Henry, covers concepts and themes that are universal and not specific only to an African setting.  These topics are affecting lives worldwide, in the nearby Caribbean and of course Sint Maarten.

Secretary General Ms. Marcellia Henry stated “as our cultures are entwined we can relate to some if not all these issues that the series “Childhood Cultures” discusses”.  

“Bouba and Zaza” bridges the gap between schools, family and the local environment. The experiences encourage dialogue and discussion of current topics that are important but sensitive.  

As we stay abreast of current events on our island, promoting literacy and knowledge and reaching children from all walks of life this series was gratefully received and is now available to the public at the Philipsburg Jubilee Library.

Do look forward to the book reviews that will shortly be forth coming in the media.

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Jason Johnson wins Small Business Leader of the Year 2018 for the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce South Council

SINT MAARTEN/Jacksonville, Florida – Jason Johnson claimed the Small Business Leader 2018 title after demonstrating exponential business growth.  Jason is a former student of the Milton Peters College (MPC), Reward and a graduate of the St. Peters St. Maarten Academy School.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Marlin Consulting Solutions won the Small Business Leader of the year South Council 2018 for Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce South Council, after an exemplary business performance. Veteran Jason Johnson, who is also known as the ‘Chief Marlin’ took the business to new horizons and reported a record business growth since 2009.

“Being recognized as the Small Business Leader of the year South Council 2018 is a proud moment for me and my whole team. We have spent months in perfecting our business solutions that deliver strong results. Our SEO, design, and Pay-per-click solutions offer businesses a unique opportunity to increase their sales and income” – Jason Johnson.

He was also reported to have said, “The reason behind our success is diligence, commitment, and integrity, which allows us to keep our products optimized for better performance in the market. Without deliverable results, a business such as ours would be unable to retain its clientele and would ultimately close shop. We understand the requirements of our customers and offer them unique solutions that are designed to increase their sales and profits.”

About Marlin Consulting Solutions

Marlin Consulting Solutions offer integrated solutions for high search engine ranking that will increase website traffic. They offer distinct solutions that are tailor-made to suit the requirements of their customers. Marlin Consulting Solutions offer a range of result-driven products and services to its clients for increasing their sales and Return on Investments (ROI). The company offers various free analytics to businesses that highlights the key underperforming areas and identifies areas of improvement. The CEO of the company launched extensive solutions that delivered verifiable results. 

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Port St. Maarten Ready for First Commercial Cruise Ship Call on December 4th. Positive Cruise Experience can Influence Future Calls

PORT ST. MAARTEN – Port St. Maarten is ready for the return of the first commercial cruise ship call by Viking Cruises on Monday, December 4 with the cruise ship Viking Sea.

Port St. Maarten Management calls on all stakeholders, businesses and the public to use this weekend to finalize all preparations for clean-up and beautification as the first cruise ships return start on Monday, December 4.

Port St. Maarten has been laying the ground work leading up to the first commercial cruise ship call by sensitizing the community via broadcast media interviews over the past few weeks and these will continue up to the Christmas holidays; organizing a stakeholders meeting to sensitize and how to manage expectations when the first cruise ship passengers land; preparing the grounds at the port while business owners get their businesses ready at the Dr. A.C. Wathey Cruise & Cargo Facilities shopping area; are just some of the work and activities on island that have been taking place. 

Many other approaches have been taken abroad which includes attending the 24th FCCA Cruise Conference and Trade Show; one-on-one meetings with cruise lines in Miami/Orlando and on the island; and keeping the cruise lines and stakeholders informed and updated on a weekly basis regarding destination recovery efforts.

The November sessions with stakeholders regarding the cruise passenger experience post-Irma was provided by former cruise line executive Mico Cascais of Carnival Cruise Line. He provided information and tips to prepare cruise tourism stakeholders on the alignment of the cruise guest expectations with the current story and the experience they need to deliver when the first guests arrive, as well as the significance of the first cruise ship call which will shape future calls to the destination.

The recent assessment tour of the country in preparation for the first ships allowed key stakeholders to evaluate and assess the current state of affairs along the identified tourism corridor and take additional measures where the clean-up of the destination is concerned in preparation for cruise ship destination calls.

Part of the assessment action list of things to do before the first cruise call included: cleaning of beaches with a refined finish; refined finish of temporary garbage depots in Cole Bay and at Kim Sha Beach area; removal of boats/containers on Great Bay Beach; beach promenade street lights to be repaired; clean-up of popular beaches; placement of temporary restrooms at popular beaches. 

Port St. Maarten continues on its mission to provide quality integrated services to customers through continuous development and innovation in all areas of business while maintaining the leadership role in the economic development of Sint Maarten where sustainability is the cornerstone for 21st century port development and progress.

The Viking Sea was built in 2016 and carries 930 guests.

Viking Cruises, is considered the leader in river and small ship ocean cruising, offers destination-focused itineraries designed for experienced travelers who have an interest in geography, culture and history.

Viking currently operates a fleet of 61 vessels, offering scenic cruising along the rivers and oceans of the Americas, Europe, Russia, Egypt, China, and Southeast Asia. By 2019 the company will operate six 930-passenger ocean cruise ships and will sail itineraries in Scandinavia and the Baltic, the Western and Eastern Mediterranean, Asia, Australia, North America and the Caribbean.

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ST. MAARTEN AT THE HAGUE TRADE MISSION AND CONGRESS

SINT MAARTEN/THE HAGUE - St. Maarten joined countries of the kingdom for a two part trade mission in the Netherlands, this week. The event looked at ways to achieve sustainable business between the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Latin America and the Caribbean region and to explore what opportunities entrepreneurs have on all sides.

The theme for the event was ‘Connecting sustainable businesses, investments, innovation, between the Netherlands, Dutch Caribbean and Latin America’. The event included a congress with 20 leading keynote speakers and a matchmaking initiative, connecting the business community of the Netherlands and the Dutch Caribbean.

Sustainability

For a number of years already, the trade mission organizers have explicitly focused on the sustainable energy market and stimulating long-term partnerships.

Financial institutions and investors were provided the opportunity to have a behind the scenes look of (new) markets in the Caribbean area and in Latin America. At the same time, organizers of the trade mission point out sales markets for various products and services to the entrepreneurs.

In the matchmaking segment, participants discussed the development of new partnerships and taking advantage of opportunities the reconstruction of St Maarten could potentially bring to develop joint markets.

Participants

The trade mission and congress attracted a cross section of business community, but also employers’ organizations, the financial sector (trust and banking sector), representatives of

governments from the Caribbean parts of the Kingdom, the Caribbean region and Latin America.

The St. Maarten delegation was comprised of government and representatives of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Partnerships

Dutch entrepreneurs have already indicated to be very interested in seeking partnerships, which are facilitated by the Dutch legislation or comparable legislation they are encountered with. This makes partnerships very accessible and profitable for both parties.

This week’s trade mission again offered a platform for St. Maarten to promote itself and at the same time indicate which international investments opportunities and partnerships St. Maarten is looking for. Besides financial opportunities that could support the rebuilding of the country’s economy, being part of this event was furthermore seen as a means to help contribute to knowledge based business partnerships.

This is particularly important now that St. Maarten is dealing with a financial situation in which the country is seeking a balance between budget deficits and boosting the economy. St. Maarten’s participation in this Kingdom event was furthermore in keeping with government’s interest in contributing to making the most of its ties within the Kingdom.

The government’s Department of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (BAK) has the responsibility to support and promote relationships within the Kingdom, including strengthening of regional cooperation and seeking of partnerships. It was among departments providing support to government as part of the delegation, at the event. 

PHOTO CUTLINE: Minister plenipotentiary Doran-York with visiting chamber of commerce officials and visiting senior  St. Maarten civil servants in The Hague, supporting the trade mission.

Photo 1

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Kim Sha Beach designated as market, activity area for cruise

POND ISLAND - Minister of Tourism and Economic Affairs Mellissa Arrindell-Doncher, in consultation with Port St. Maarten and several cruise lines, has approved the temporary designation of the section of Simpson Bay Beach known as Kim Sha, as a temporary market and activity place for a period of 1 year, with possible extension based on the success of the pilot project.

The Minister explained that given the present circumstances post hurricane Irma, she saw the need for the designation and grant an exemption to the moratorium on Beach Activities for the section of Simpson Bay Beach known as Kim Sha, to accommodate the issuance of vending licenses.  Cruise executives have already visited the location and has given their approval, in particular with activity spots on French St. Maarten still closed.

“Bottom line is we need to provide an experience for our visitors. Yes we have several tour operators that will be functioning but the cruise lines wanted more, in particular with the French side being closed,” the Minister said. This is also a good opportunity for local entrepreneurs to start their own smart business to generate some income post Irma,” she added.

Eight (8) vending stalls will be allowed to be erected on the Simpson Bay Beach (i.e.  Kim Sha) parking lot for the sale of food and beverages; and four (4) vending spots for the renting of a maximum of 50 beach chairs and umbrellas per vendor. 

The selection of the applicants will be done via an impartial selection committee using criteria that will be published on the government information page in The Daily Herald and on Government’s website and social media outlets. Applications should be submitted to the Department of Economic Licenses, Counter B at the Government Administration Building by Friday December 8, 2017

This is a pilot project. Therefore, licenses will be issued for a period of 1 year, with possible extension depending on the success of the marketplace and the desire of the Government of Sint Maarten to further delay the construction of the parking lot.

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