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SMMC Medical Center to Launch “Welcome Baby” on Tuesday

CAY HILL – On Tuesday March 21st, 2017, at the St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) a new project will officially be launched. The project is called “Welcome Baby” and is a collaborative effort between the OB/GYN ward of SMMC and the Rotary Club St. Maarten Mid-Isle.

The pilot project is a way both organizations would like to give back to the community.

At the launch the individuals involved with the project will give a presentation, which will highlight the intent of the project, how it came about, and what the expectations are.

In general, this presentation will provide invited guests an opportunity to get more information on the project. Additionally, the intention is to present a new mother with a Welcome Baby bag, as the first official Welcome Baby Bag will be launched at the event as well.

Members of the Rotary club St. Maarten Mid-Isle will also be present and involved in presenting the first official bag.

The project is sponsored by several local organizations, namely Divico, Bebe ‘N Kids, and Dominoes amongst others. 

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Arts and crafts supplies for Sister Basilia Centre from Island Gems

ST. JOHN’S ESTATE - Island Gems Charity Foundation recently donated a large quantity of arts and craft to Sister Basilia Centre. The supplies will aid the Centre’s residents with their therapy, motor skills and for fun.

The official presentation of the supplies was made at the Centre when residents and clients were staging a wedding complete with a registrar. The event doubled as a celebration of love and as a thank you for the Gems who have supported the Centre many times in past. After, the ceremony, Gems joined the residents for dancing at the wedding reception.

Island Gems Board Member Jody Rosen said, “It is always a pleasure to assist Sister Basilia Centre. The clients and team leaders do amazing work and they deserve all the assistance we as community can give them.”

Island Gems President Alita Singh added, “We are only as strong as our most vulnerable in our community. While some may look to at the clients of the Centre as challenged, we as Gems see potential, strength and incredible courage. They deserve as much support as possible.”

Island Gems supports social and community projects on both sides of the island through its annual fundraising gala. This year’s themed gala is slated for Saturday, April 8, in Captain Oliver’s Restaurant in Oyster Bay. Tickets cost US $125 each and are available from all members.

The Foundation only supports registered foundations and associations who have projects of long term positive impact on the community and residents. No cash is given; the Foundation pays directly for services and/or equipment.

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Prime Minister Marlin sends Condolence Message on the Passing of Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott

POND ISLAND – Prime Minister William Marlin sent a condolence message to Prime Minster of St. Lucia with respect to the passing of Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott.  It reads as follows: “It is with a very heavy heart that I received the news of the passing of Sir Derek Alton Walcott, KCSL OBE OCC, winner of the 1992 Nobel Prize in Literature early Friday morning, March 17, 2017, at his home near Gros Islet in St. Lucia at 87.

“Sir Derek was not only a genial St. Lucian poet, in his own words, he was “primarily, absolutely, a Caribbean poet.” He embodied the Caribbean ethos, and carried in his blood that essential Caribbean make up that made him sing:

“I had a sound colonial education
I have Dutch, nigger and English in me,
and either I’m nobody, or I’m a nation.”

“The ‘Dutch” in him came by way of St. Maarten, his grandfather having been a Dutch administrator here. We were honored to welcome him back “home” when he was guest of honor at the Annual St. Martin Book Fair in 2011. St. Maarten, therefore, shares in your loss in a very special and intimate way. Sir Derek Walcott was family; he was a son of this soil, too, the embodiment of the Caribbean nation we all aspire to build.

“On behalf of the government and people of St. Maarten, I extend to you, Honorable Prime Minister Allen M. Chastanet, your government and the people of St. Lucia, our deepest sympathies for this great loss. May you find strength and comfort in the fact that he has left us his luminous, immortal works, a legacy that will continue to shine forever. May his soul rest in eternal peace.”

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Port St. Maarten: Royal Caribbean to Increase Pax by 13 Per cent

SINT MAARTEN/FLORIDA – Port St. Maarten officials returned from a successful Seatrade Cruise Global Conference & Expo that took place at the Broward County Convention Center from March 13-16 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. 

Acting Minister of Tourism & Economic Affairs Rafael Boasman who led the Sint Maarten delegation to the conference and expo, received a first-hand experience of who are who and the dynamics of the cruise sector.

“In our discussions with our strategic cruise partner Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., the destination will see a 13 per cent increase in cruise passengers or approximately 100,000 for the 2017-2018 season. In addition to the 13 per cent increase, we are busy looking at the trends in order to increase the numbers further. 

“Management has been working aggressively with its direct marketing approach.  The port is busy compiling all brand numbers for the 2018-2019 season and will step up its marketing approach as additional ships currently under construction come online.

“In our discussions with Royal Caribbean, our performance as a port has increased substantially where it concerns ratings for safety and security as well as in several other categories.  The port is busy with a survey and we are studying this very closely in order to further enhance and improve the destination experience for our guests,” Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mark Mingo said on Sunday.  

During the conference and expo, Port St. Maarten Management and stakeholders received an update at the State of the Global Cruise Industry which was a highlight on the calendar for all executives in the maritime world that took place on Tuesday, March 14.

The 2017 State of the Global Cruise Industry also set the course for the week-long cruise industry’s premier global business-to-business event.  Port St. Maarten Management also renewed relations with cruise line executives and other cruise stakeholders, and was able to give them an update about current destination developments, the home porting facility, and other port-cruise related and destination matters.   

Seatrade Cruise Global is the leading annual global business-to-business event for the cruise industry, which brings together buyers and suppliers for a four-day conference and three-day exhibition. 

Port and Government officials learnt that 2016 was an exciting year for growth of the cruise industry with over 30,000 berths and a total investment of close to US$7.5 billion being invested.  Over 10-ocean-going cruise vessels set sail in that year adding capacity to the global cruise market.

The 2017 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook, by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the world’s largest cruise industry trade association, says an increase in cruise travel is expected to continue throughout 2017, with an estimated 25.3 million passengers expected to sail in 2017, a strong surge from 15.8 million just 10-years prior (2007).

More ships are to set sail in 2017, with cruise lines set to debut 26 new ocean, river and specialty ships in 2017 for a total investment of more than US$6.8 billion in new vessels.  From 2017-2026 the industry is expected to introduce a total of 97 new cruise ships totaling an estimated investment of US$53 billion through 2026.

Cruise industry expenditures generated US$117 billion in total output worldwide, supporting 956,597 full-time equivalent employees who earned US$38 billion in come in 2015.

Officials were also informed about the trend in alternative fuels.  The Aidaprima features dual-fuel engines for direct supply of LNG to fuel hotel energy needs while in port.  New orders of luxury and upper premium ships are a trend as the market continues to grow.

The conference annually draws more than 10,000 registered attendees, over 700 exhibiting companies from 93 countries and more than 300 international journalists.  Experts, leaders and thought-makers of the cruise industry from the world’s largest cruise companies are the highlight of the conference.  

The conference programs offered attendees a comprehensive roster of panel discussions and workshops featuring experts, leaders and thought-makers from the cruise industry.

The next Seatrade Cruise Global conference and expo will take place from March 5-8, 2018.

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Battle of the Fittest Tryouts on Wednesday

PHILIPSBURG - Battle of The Fittest will conduct open tryouts for the 2017 St. Maarten Team that will compete against international teams during the Battle of The Fittest tournament.

Tryout will be on Wednesday March 22, 2017, 7pm, at the Melford Hazel Sports Complex.

The tryouts are open to St. Maarten, French and Dutch, male athletes 18 years and older. Players will be assessed by The Battle of The Fittest team coaches.

Athletes interested in participating in the open tryout can request the registration forms on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Completed and signed forms should be brought to the tryout or filled out during registration.

The intention this year is to have one St. Maarten team represent St. Maarten during the tournament. 

Battle of The Fittest is committed to training the team during the next few months to ensure that they are ready to compete against the fierce competition to come.

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TelEm Group urges personnel, public to attend Lion’s annual Health & Wellness Fair Saturday

POND ISLAND – TelEm Group is once again a proud sponsor of the St. Maarten Lion’s Club Rudy Hoeve Health & Wellness Fair, urging personnel, customers and members of the public generally to take advantage of the host of free health tests that will be available there.

The event kicks off from 9:00 am at the Festival Village in Philipsburg, Saturday. This year, organizers have promised health and wellness lectures, masses of information on a wide range of diseases and physical conditions and a welcome return of foot massage experts.

 Representatives of the Lion’s Club visited TelEm Group’s Main building on Pond Island, Friday, to talk about the upcoming event and also to collect a sponsorship check for the fifth consecutive year.

Lion Wally Havertong, thanked TelEm Group for its continued support and joined the company in its call for everyone to turn out Saturday and benefit from the variety of stakeholders who will be on hand to attend to them.

“The Lion Rudy Hoeve Health & Wellness Fair just gets bigger and bigger every year thanks to supporters in the community such as TelEm Group. We all recognize that a community that is well informed about its health is a more productive and happy community,” said Mr. Havertong.

He said seniors and other members of the public who are having tests and cannot eat at home early in the morning will find healthy foods and snacks available on sale at the Health & Wellness Fair. A special area has also been set aside to entertain and keep children busy while their parents/guardians are visiting the various booths.

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Suspects in Emerald-investigation to be released on Saturday

PHILIPSBURG - All five suspects detained in the Emerald-investigation will be released from pre-trial detention by the Prosecutor’s Office during the course of the day on Saturday March 18, 2017, a multi-agency press release headed by the Public Prosecution Service said on Saturday at midday.

“They are the suspects C.B., S.W., A.A., C.D. and K.L. The Prosecutor’s Office does not find it necessary for the case against them that they remain in detention . They all remain suspects in the ongoing investigation.

“The special anti-corruption taskforce TBO of the Kingdom Detectives Cooperation Team (RST) in cooperation with the National Detectives Agency St. Maarten and the French authorities also carried out two house searches on March 15, 2017.

“Also, the suspects C.B., A.A. and S. W. were arrested and detained. Later that day, a fourth suspect C.D. was arrested and on March 16 a fifth suspect K.L. The Emerald-investigation started in April 2016, following reports in the newspapers and questions asked in Parliament about the contract signed between the suspect’s security company the port authority of St. Maarten.

“During this investigation suspicions arose about tax fraud, forgery and money laundering. The investigation is part of a joint intensified fight against international fraud and corruption.

“Corruption and money laundering threatens the security and economy of the countries in the Caribbean part of the Dutch Kingdom. The special anti-corruption taskforce, TBO of the RST, together with the National Detectives Agencies (Landsrecherches) of Curaçao and Sint Maarten and the Prosecutor’s Office have joined forces to combat corruption,” the multi-agency press release concludes.

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Owners of Un-inspected Public transportation urged to call Control Unit

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – The Inspectorate of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Traffic and Telecommunications advises all public transportation operators of public buses, taxis, Gs and Ts of the following.

In consideration of the start of controls on road tax on Monday, March 20, 2017 there are still approximately 189 motor vehicles that have not been inspected as per March 17th. 

The breakdown is 77 BUS, 66 TAXI, 30 G operators and 26 T operators.

In addition to those motor vehicles, there are also 25 inspections still pending due to missing or incomplete documents.  

Operators are strongly encouraged to report to the office of Section Transport also known as Control Unit located at Cannegieter street #23 (upstairs, next to Sister Borgia School and submit all pending documentation soonest. 

The Inspectorate reminds those operators who haven’t undergone this inspection that it is mandatory for all public transportation motor vehicles to be inspected per art. 2, 3 and 4 of the National Decree for Transport of Persons.

Please call 5425641 or 5424509 during office hours for any further information.

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Leonard Connor School Students visit Police Headquarters – “You are the best”

PHILIPSBURG - On Thursday March 16th a group of students between the ages of six and seven years of age from the Leonard Connor School in Cole Bay under the guidance of teacher Elisia Lake visited Police Headquarters in Philipsburg on a field trip to meet the officers and to find out what the police does on a daily basis.

The group was met and welcomed by Chief Inspector Ricardo Henson of the Public Relations and Communication Department.

A complete tour of the police department with an explanation of what the task is of each department was given by the Community Police Officer (CPO) Rensley Henson.

The students were quite enthusiastic during the tour and expressed their gratitude towards CPO Rensley Henson by thanking him and the police department for the job they are doing to keep them safe.

Two students then gave CPO Rensley Henson a big hug and at the same time handed him a handcrafted card stating “You are the best.” (Police Force Sint Maarten)  

L. conner school 7 2 Hugging stud

L. Conner school 6 2 two students

 

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SHTA OFFERS SINT MAARTEN TO BE REFUGE FOR SNOW STORM BATTERED U.S. EAST COAST

PHILIPSBURG - An animation of portraying Sint Maarten as an option to seek refuge from the snow storm currently active in the North-eastern United States was a hit on social media this Wednesday.

It was one of the fruits of the branding project of Sint Maarten creatives and the Sint Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA) started last year in August 2016. The movie went viral as various Sint Maarten hotels assisted in spreading the commercial, aided by their most loyal guests and sympathizers abroad.  Reactions came in from as far as Russia.

The feature portrays a US highway in a snowy, grey background, and two hands shaping a heart with images from a Sint Maarten beach.  The image was created by local Sint Maarten creative Loic Bryan (Artistic Drive), who animated the branding work he did with Arun Jagtiani, Ronny Busby and Eduardo DeHaay.

Snow Storm Stella created chaos on the north-eastern United States area over the past days. Airlines cancelled thousands of flights in the Boston and New York area, trains were suspended and various governors even went as far to declare an emergency situation.

The ad offered a befitting platform for the “Calm In Your Storm” campaign, devised already in November as a teaser but missing a “perfect storm” for launch. SHTA is very grateful for the support of both frequent visitors as well as the hotels contributing to getting the national message out. 

In a joint effort, SHTA members sent out the message to over 5,000 travel agents in the North-eastern United States to think of Sint Maarten for those wanting to flee the cold weather. On the SHTA website alone, the effort was greeted with many views.

The art work was previously presented at the annual Crystal Pineapple Awards, where Bryan, Busby and Jagtiani’s art work formed the key note. 400 guests visiting the event took the project one step further by aiding the project with suggestions and slogans.  They based their campaign on previous Branding research done by SHTA and members through workshops and information provided for by frequent customers. By means of teaser videos and advertisements, various respected Sint Maarten creatives were requested to show their ideas of what branding country Sint Maarten should look like.

By means of the branding project efforts, SHTA builds on the conviction that the best brand Sint Maarten can be built bottom up - by Sint Maarteners and their most loyal customers. Next to that, being the largest business representative on island, SHTA is convinced that the island has enough talent to produce its own award winning campaign.

Please feel free to visit www.shta.com and our SHTA Facebook to see the ad yourself. To download it go to http://gph.is/2nbnIx2.

SHTA is happy it drew a lot of international attention, as it is to organize the Sint Maarten Annual Tradeshow together with its partners of L’Association des Hoteliers de St. Martin (AHSM), Saint-Martin Tourism Office and the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau.

As any year, the event looks to get as much international guests to bring business to the island. The event will take place at 14th to 16th of June this year. 

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