Soualiga News Today


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Soualiga News Today (3312)

UTS supports October breast cancer awareness month

PHILIPSBURG – UTS has again put its support behind the breast cancer awareness movement with its endeavor to help create awareness and encourage early detection of breast cancer in the local community.

The company has been supporting this cause and collaborating with local foundations for many years; each year in a different way to keep the message interesting and relevant. This year the company will have a different sales activity every Friday, of which part of the proceeds will go towards breast cancer awareness in the community.  

“We are happy to be able to assist our local foundations again this year in their objective to educate and move local women and men to action.” says UTS Marketing and Communication Officer, Ivy Lambert “Finding cancer early saves lives and can also mean that the cancer is easier to treat.

“The earlier you can diagnose and start treatment, the better your chance of successful treatment. Breast screening is a very effective way of spotting breast cancer early, but it is not the only way. Cancer can occur at any time, even between screenings.

“It is therefore important to be breast aware between mammograms and do regular checks. Education is important, but aside from that communication is also key. By dressing our sales force in pink and doing some active promotions around breast cancer awareness our goal is to get people talking.  You may be surprised to know what your female friend knows. The goal is to talk to one another regularly and share information. Know that being aware can save your life and your friend or family members.” Lambert continues.


Minister De Weever makes Second Political Statement on Current Developments

PHILIPSBURG - On Monday evening, Minister and Parliamentarian-elect released the following statement with respect to current political developments.

"During many pre- and post-campaigns I have met disgruntled candidates, voters and supporters from all parties which created a deep empathy in me for those who felt abandoned and/or mistreated. I observed the process and talked to the leadership, usually by phrasing my thoughts into questions, talked about how things should be and tried to implement small improvements but the overall environment was still unwelcoming to any major change. In order to effectuate change we need to focus on the process and get away from blaming individuals. We need to work in an environment where leaders (and their self-serving special interest individuals) do not yell, scream, shout or intimidate, where candidates do not need to "check their brains at the door," and are actually listened to.

St. Maarten is a small place and we are all interconnected. Today or tomorrow we still have to live amongst each other and continue to work.

I have tried during my tenure and during all three coalitions not to get personal or political with anyone - I maintained my level of being a professional in order for us to build country St. Maarten without tearing down or exposing individuals.

We, as a people, need to stop the old blaming and finger-pointing and get everyone involved to see better results. It is not always easy, but anything worthwhile has to be a bit of a challenge. The challenge is leadership and it is not that the leaders are bad people - it was the system (and those who influence it) they were taught and the expectations they were given.

We cannot bandage the process anymore instead of stopping and taking our time to fix it so it would not occur again. In order for this to work, we all have to work together, put the egos aside, be willing to admit what we know and what we do not know, figuring out how to combine our knowledge in a way that works. This is what St. Maarten needs at this moment."


Crystal Pineapple Awards - Nominate NOW!

PHILIPSBURG -- The 9th Annual Crystal Pineapple Awards, organized by the St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association, officially opened its nomination period on September 1st 2014. SHTA has been receiving nominations and is in the process of the reviewing applications as they come in. The SHTA urges St. Maarten to make sure to nominate all those that deserve to be recognized for their outstanding service in the tourism industry before the nomination period closes on October 6th, 2014.

Crystal Pineapple Awards is the only event on the island that recognizes Hospitality & Trade personnel, organizations and associations, for their contribution towards the tourism industry, the island’s main economic pillar, directly and indirectly employing 87% of the workforce on the island. The following categories are open for nominations: ACCOMMODATIONS DIVISION: Employee, Supervisor, Department Manager, General Manager, Timeshare Sales Person and Rookie of the Year; RESTAURANT DIVISION Employee, Supervisor/Manager, Restaurateur, Chef, Bartender and Rookie of the Year in the Restaurants & Bars Division; Employee, Supervisor, Manager and Rookie of the Year in the Trade Division; AND Outstanding Community Service Achievement.

In the previous years, the Annual Crystal Pineapple Awards Gala has been huge successes and SHTA is proud and pleased to serve the tourism industry in this aspect. The nomination period closes on Monday October 6th, 2014 and the voting period commences shortly after. Send in your nominations as soon as possible before its closing date!!

The nomination form and category qualifications can be found at and you can email the form to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. SHTA encourages the community to visit us on Facebook: “Crystal Pineapple Awards” or our website For more information, please contact the SHTA office: 542-0108, e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Social media abuzz with messages of congrats for TelCell Breakthrough winners

POND ISLAND – It was a night to remember at the Theatre Royale, Maho, Saturday, where judges announced the 2014 TelCell Breakthrough Talent Search winners in true Hollywood style.

The winners and runners-up in the four categories were:


Winner: New Generation Status (GNS STM)                                                                                                         

Runner up: Brandon Potmis


Winner: Arias -4

Runner up: Sinatra Bauld


Winner: Serenity Martinus

Runner up: Rumari Rogers


Winner: Tristan Defoe

Runner up: Deveny Elferink

The winners will now begin a one year dream program in which they will be granted celebrity status, assisting TelCell and the TelEm Group in various promotions, while further honing their own artistic talents.

They will also collaborate on a recording contract and will act as mentors and role models for St. Maarten’s youth.

It all came down to the final announcements Saturday, after a nerve-wracking contest in which 13 talented youth took to the stage in four different categories.

The elated winners were each called to the stage to thunderous applause from a very appreciative audience, adding to the magic and fun of the night.

Immediately the winners were known, there followed a wave of SMS messages, e-mailed photos and social media messages congratulating the winners and also praising TelCell and the organizers of the Breakthough event for a very professional and well done job.

“Big-Up’s for St. Maarten’s talented youth” stated one tweet, while a Facebook follower of the show urged the organizers to commit themselves to shows of this quality for another, “10 Years!”

“I want to congratulate TelEm Group staff, Angel Richardson and her team, along with  Bertaux “Mr. Rude” Fleming of  Xtratight Entertainment for another outstanding job on behalf of St. Maarten’s Youth,” said Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) TelEm Group, Mr. Brian Mingo.

Mr. Mingo said he expected a great turnout and some super acts on the night, but what transpired went way beyond his expectations.

“The crowd was really supportive and family-oriented. It was great to see this kind of togetherness and spirit of competition on St. Maarten and I am personally proud that TelCell and TelEm Group is associated with something so positive for our youth and exposure of our youth talent,” said Mr. Mingo.

He said the company will ensure that, like last year’s TelCell Breakthrough winners, the new team will have every bit as much exposure and much more, so that they can live their dreams of what life as a top celebrity and performer can be.

Organizers, Angel Richardson and Bertaux “Mr. Rude” Fleming both congratulated the winners and all the contestants who took part in the talent search Saturday.

“Unfortunately there has to be a winner, but again, in our view all the contestants performing on the night worked hard and are all winners to us,” said “Mr. Rude” who is also looking forward to sharing studio time with the youngsters to  fulfill the recording contract deal.

“We want to thank the judges for doing a great and difficult job, the Mcee on the night Peter Gittens and co-mc Shanna Vasilda, all the volunteers, including David Evans, and most of all, the members of the public who sent SMS messages and who came ready to support and cheer for their favorite performer,” said Angel.

She said the prize for the most popular performer, by SMS votes was Sha-Neisha Gijsbertha with 362 votes.

Meantime a much-edited version of the TelCell Breakthrough 2014 show is being prepared for members of the public who were unable to attend Saturday’s show. A date for the airing and broadcast of this show will be announced at a later date.


Police Force provides Leadership Training to forces from Curacao and Caribbean Netherlands

PHILIPSBURG - Last week the team leaders of the Detection Division, Criminal Investigative Department (CID) and Infodesk of the Police Force Sint maarten (KPSM) and leaders of Forensic Investigation, representatives of the Police Corps of the Caribbean Netherlands and Curaçao Police Force, started a theoretical tailored leadership training program provided by KPSM.

This training was held in the 'Police Multipurpose Center' at the Police Head Quarters in Philipsburg.
The training was given by Sander Schaepman, former detective chief of the Dutch Police. The training was made ​​possible by RESECO Education & Training, in particular by the General Director of the company Richard Zandbergen, the National Forensic Investigation Team of the Netherlands and RST.

The course lasted a week. The coaching has now become reality. This process means that students now have a one year period to make use of the expertise of Sander Schaepman. The students can now discuss the cases they encounter in practice with him at fixed times.

The team leaders were given a customized curriculum, focusing on the practice, in which they include what "leadership" means, how they should look at the developments within their profession and doing so can translate it into their own department, their role within a TGO (Large Scale Investigation), how to distribute tasks in a good way and how they can work in an international context.

Commissioner D. Geertruij - Jacobs indicates that the participation of colleagues from Curaçao and the Corps of the Caribbean Netherlands in this training is an important part of cooperation with the police. The past week has been the basis for more intensive cooperation between the police forces and KPSM. (Contributed by Police Force Sint Maarten)


Sint Maarteners can download a free mobile app that measures cardiovascular risk

SINT MAARTEN —On the occasion ofWorld Heart Day, celebrated each September 29, the Pan American Health Organization/ World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) is launching a new app for mobile devices and computers that calculates people’s risk of cardiovascular disease and can help motivate them to take steps to lower that risk.

Sint Maarteners who are health conscious and would like to calculate their risk of cardiovascular disease can download the app.  Civic and social organizations could also use this opportunity to spread the word and assist persons who are interested in this modern tech tool and add it to their mobile device which can be a motivating factor for the person looking at their own risk.

PAHO’s Cardiovascular Risk Calculator app, which can be downloaded free of charge, offers advice to modify habits that contribute to higher risk. It allows users to see how their cardiovascular risk would change if certain risk factors were modified. Six variables are used to calculate the probability of experiencing a cardiovascular event in the next 10 years: age, sex, blood pressure, cholesterol level, whether the user is a smoker, and whether he or she has diabetes. A result of 10% or less is considered low; a risk of over 40% is considered high.

The risk estimate is more accurate if the serum cholesterol level is included, but it can be calculated without that variable. The app, developed by PAHO/WHO with the GEDIC group and Pixeloide, also allows users to calculate their body mass index (normal, overweight, or obese) and provides reminders to take medication on time and as prescribed.

The app is based on a WHO formula for estimating cardiovascular risk that is appropriate for most countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. It lets healthcare workers and individual users calculate the probability of having a major cardiovascular event, such as a heart attack or stroke, in the next 10 years.

“This tool helps healthcare professionals rapidly assess their patients’ situation and discuss strategies with them to lower their probability of experiencing one of these events,” said Dr. Pedro Ordúñez, PAHO/WHO Advisor on Cardiovascular Diseases.

It is also designed to offer suggestions to people wishing to improve and monitor their cardiovascular status.” The tool is not meant to replace consultation with a physician, but it is user-friendly for non–health professionals as well.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide and in most countries of the Americas, where it kills some 1.6 million people each year. The main risk factors for cardiovascular disease are tobacco use, physical inactivity, and obesity. People with hypertension, diabetes, or high cholesterol are more likely to suffer a heart-related event.

Knowing one’s cardiovascular risk can motivate people to take steps to lower that risk, for example, by being more active, avoiding tobacco use, and consuming a healthy, low-salt diet rich in vegetables and fresh foods.




D’Shnay to represent St. Maarten in Haynes Smith Miss Caribbean Talented Teen Pageant

PHILIPSBURG—Reigning Teen Carnival Queen 2014 D’Shnay Matthews will represent St. Maarten in the Digicel Haynes Smith Miss Caribbean Talented Teen Pageant Show in December in St. Kitts. Since being crowned in April, D’Shnay has been very busy locally, involved in various events. Her participation in the St. Kitts pageant will be her first attempt to bring a regional crown home.

In D’Shnay St. Maarten has a very strong, confident candidate, experienced in pageantry and no stranger to pressure-filled pageants. She has won five crowns and has been participating in pageantry from age 2. If you ask anyone to describe 17 year D’Shnay Matthews, you would likely hear adjectives such as energetic, outgoing, determined and even a little goofy.

St. Maarten born, D’Shnay prides herself on her enthusiastic and positive on life. Currently a student at the St. Maarten Academy (Academic section), she enjoys dancing, singing, modeling, acting or just surfing the web when she has rare free time. Heavily involved in community activities, she is a member of various foundations and youth groups. 

She is extremely excited and proud of this opportunity to represent her country in a pageant that is well-established and well respected in the Caribbean.

The show began in 1980 and is the first show of its kind in the region that showcases the talents of female Caribbean teenagers. The Pageant has grown exponentially over the years into the most prestigious pageant in the entire Caribbean, and continues to attract participants from close to 20 countries annually. It is also one of the most anticipated events for the St.Kitts-Nevis National Carnival calendar, and Christmas season.


Port St. Maarten first of government-owned companies to establish an Integrity Board as part of corporate transparency

POINT BLANCHE – The multi-million dollar Port St. Maarten facility which welcomes close to two million cruise passengers annually and pumps over US$300 million into the economy of the country, has established an Integrity Board.

Port St. Maarten is one of the first government-owned companies to establish such an entity in line with international corporate integrity standards.

“Based on the process of integrity that our shareholder has embarked upon, the Port St. Maarten supervisory board of directors and shareholder representative agreed to set-up the aforementioned.

“During the integrity process carried out by President of the Public Administration Integrity Committee Judge Bob de Wit entitled ‘Doing the right things right,’ Port St. Maarten cooperated fully and has also given its comments with respect to the outcome and results of the report prepared by Judge De Wit’s team.   

“We also cooperated with the Kingdom Government’s instituted integrity study which went via the Kingdom representative on the island, the Governor and executed by PricewaterhouseCoopers of the Government of St. Maarten. 

“On Friday the Kingdom Council of Ministers released the report entitled, ‘Integrity Inquiry into the functioning of the Government of St. Maarten.’  We have not received a copy of this report in order to give our reaction to the comments where reference is made to Port St. Maarten.

“As part of the checks and balances described in Port of St. Maarten’s Strategic Plan 2019, port management and supervisory board will continue to execute its audit umbrella along with the operational audit that was carried out by Ernst & Young.  These results will also be discussed and shared with the incoming new shareholder representative,” Port St. Maarten Chief Executive Officer Mark Mingo said on Sunday.  

The Integrity Board will have its first meeting in October to review current state of affairs with attention being paid to risk management and the connection to integrity as well as integrity training for management and port employees via the port’s human resources department under the guidance/review by an expert on the Integrity Board.

Mingo recently returned from the Netherlands where he met with several legal minds concerning the establishment of Port St. Maarten’s Integrity Board.  One of the key areas to be strengthened is risk management.

The Integrity Board comprises of a member of the supervisory board of directors, CEO, the Chief Financial Officer, Human Resources, a member who has extensive knowledge and know-how about port operations, a member with international maritime experience, and a member with a legal background.

“The establishment of the Integrity Board is very important, just as important as an operational audit.  At this stage of the integrity process, we need to look at the positive side of this recommendation, and we now need to follow-up on the legal framework where it concerns the company’s articles of incorporation and all supporting corporate documents.

“I am very pleased with the way we are progressing in this area.  Port St. Maarten, the people’s port plays a key role in the economic viability of our country.  As the current CEO, it is my responsibility to ensure that the people’s port and by extension the shareholder, the Government of St. Maarten, is operated in a transparent manner and in alignment with leading practices and global standards,” CEO Mark Mingo said on Sunday.


Youth Detention Center named “Miss Lali Center”

PHILIPSBURG - Based on the proposal of the envisioned “Youth Care Center,” the Minister of Justice Hon. Dennis Richardson decided to name this center the “Miss Lali Center” after the late Mrs. Eulalie Meyers who was a staunch and faithful volunteer, supporter and spiritual guide of the prison inmates on Sint Maarten.

In a meeting held the Minister requested permission from the Meyers Family to use the name for this purpose.

The Family members reacted with enthusiasm on this proposal and gladly gave their permission.

Present at the gathering were Jackie, Molly, the Minister Dennis Richardson, Ms. Richelda Emmanuel, Gwendolyn and Charles Meyers.


BREAKING NEWS: Minister De Weever Addresses Latest Political Developments

PHILIPSBURG - My fellow St. Maarteners, with all of the rumors and innuendo circulating, I want to inform you formally on a decision that I have made and some of the reasoning behind it.  On Tuesday afternoon, I informed Honorable Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams that Iwill be taking up my seat in Parliament instead of serving as Minister and serve the people of St. Maarten through this forum. In this regard, I believe an explanation is warranted to the people of St. Maarten - those who voted for and supported me, to my fellow DP candidates and their supporters and voters, to our current coalition partners their voters and supporters as well and finally and most importantly to the people of St. Maarten whether they voted or not.  The latter is critical as I was elected to represent all the people of Country St. Maarten. 

My decision to go into Parliament is a complicated one and a surprising one for many, just as it was for me. It was not a choice I thought I would be making at any time during the election but as you well know, the dynamics of our governmental system can be fairly volatile. Those who are appointed and those of us who are elected and willing to sit in the executive seats understand the risk associated with becoming a minister. Knowing that you are the one to execute the coalition's governing program requires sharing your input and vision for St. Maarten.

When my input, proposals and vision were not being supported by some in my own party - it became clear that I had no other choice than to go into parliament to protect the health, social and labor reform that I started and that St. Maarten needs to continue. Importantly, the counterpart policy is a principle that I was not willing to compromise on as it sought to protect the interests of our nationals who often want to return home only to be told they do not have enough experience and are even sometimes told they have too much experience and the company cannot afford to pay them all this while companies still want foreign work permits for the same position.

The decision I have taken was not one made based on emotions but rather was one that demanded much in terms of reflection.  As you know, my story with the Democratic Party goes back many years, and began at the feet of my family, my aunt Millicent and my uncle Leroy de Weever. I grew up within the party and when given the opportunity to serve the people of St. Maarten, I embraced the opportunity to do so as your Minister of Public Health Social Development & Labor.  As a loyal party member, I served through 3 1/2 tumultuous years, towing the party line through many challenges yet always trying to be even keeled and committed to influencing positive change.

On July 11 - postulation day I decided to run as a New Democrat but in a show of commitment and gratitude to the party, I ran as a DP candidate despite the many rumors and proposals associated with me running with other parties. After six weeks of campaigning, working hard with the other DP candidates and humbly asking the population to vote for me - I asked the voters to "cast a vote for me not against another person or party."  As history shows, after the election results came in - three parties met to form a coalition.

It was also clear that the voters wanted a change and have largely embraced young politicians to represent them to lead our country St. Maarten forward.  That said, it is unfortunate that many within the political apparatus are unwilling or unable to allow for change and new leadership but rather are more concerned with the status quo and special interests.  Self-serving interests cannot advance the needs of St. Maarten and its people.

As an appointed minister I worked hard for you. It was a level of commitment that I am extremely proud of and I asked for your vote based on that body of work. Throughout those 3 1/2 years and three coalitions I continued to serve your interests, consistently striving and finding the best environment in which I can do my job to the best of my ability and positively influence the ministry to work smarter and provide a better service to you, the people.  As an elected representative, I now find that it is in the best interest of the people that I take a Parliamentary position, where I am guaranteed the opportunity to represent you and your interests for the next four years.  I am looking forward as a Member of Parliament to continue helping to shape and reform government in a manner that makes all of our citizens proud. This commitment on my part has not changed.

I ask that you keep an open mind and let my work determine my contribution to our country. I ask you to stay the course with me, stay calm,keep the faith, and we will all weather this storm together. God Bless St. Maarten.

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