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Liat Pilots abandon strike threat. Passengers breathe a sigh of relief

SINT MAARTEN/ANTIGUA - The Leeward Island Airline Pilots Association (LIALPA) has abandoned its threat to take industrial action after having a meeting that led to an informal agreement being reached with the employer, LIAT.

Passengers throughout the Caribbean booked on Liat flights, were monitoring closely to see how the talks would turn out.  They can now breath a sigh of relief seeing that the latest challenge has been resolved.

The pilots had given LIAT’s management a deadline to pay the pilots’ salaries or they would have staged protest action until their demands would have been met.

At the centre of the current labor challenges reportedly, is the failure by LIAT to implement a new salary structure for its ATR-72 pilots; general salary increases; and the pilots’ objection to a salary deferral system, among other outstanding matters.



Recall of Nathan Hotdogs after metal is found in product

SINT MAARTEN/CAYMAN ISLANDS – Supermarkets across the Cayman Islands have pulled Nathan hotdog products from their shelves after Foster’s Food Fair-IGA announced that it was removing Nathan’s Famous Skinless Franks from sale.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service said 105 tons of recalled hot dogs may be contaminated may be contaminated with metal.  There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions or injury due to consumption of these products.

Hot dog manufacturer John Morrell and Company of Cincinnati, Ohio, on Jan. 26 produced 210,606 pounds of hot dogs in 14-ounce sealed film packages of Nathan’s Skinless 8 Beef Franks and 16-ounce packages of Curtis Beef Master Beef Franks.

The Nathan’s products have a use-by date of Aug. 19, 2017. The Curtis Beef Master Beef Franks have a use-by date of June 15, 2017.

Both products bear establishment code “EST. 296” on the side of the package.



Interference to mobile devices from Venezuela

BONAIRE - If you encounter slow mobile internet or dropped calls, you may be inclined to complain about your mobile service provider. The obvious suspect is not always to blame, however, in this news bulletin Agentschap Telecom (Radio Agency Netherlands) explains what the cause may be.

Radio applications make use of a scientific phenomenon to propagate and that is why radio signals are not always behaving in a predictable manner. Weather conditions, buildings, the landscape and radiation of the sun all have their influence on the way radio signals travel.

With extremely beautiful weather, mobile telephone networks on Bonaire, but also on Aruba and Curacao, sometimes suffer from interfering signals that originate from Venezuela. Mobile phone towers on the coast of Venezuela are situated on a mountain ridge and are therefore positioned relatively high.

That alone is already bad news for neighbouring countries, but when certain combinations of temperature, air pressure and humidity occur, radio signals can suddenly travel much longer distances than under normal conditions.

Scientist call this phenomenon “ducting”. Instead of dying out over a certain distance, radio waves are reflected between layers of air and sometimes also the sea. The energy stays concentrated so to say. Signals travelling five times the usual distance are no exception. The approximately 100 kilometres between Venezuela and Bonaire can easily be covered in such cases.

As a consequence, operators on the ABC Islands are having difficulties maintaining the quality of the local connections on an acceptable level.

Agentschap Telecom seeks, in close cooperation with Bureau Telecommucatie & Post and the Venezuelan regulator Conatel, to persuade mobile operators in Venezuela to make adjustments to their networks. In view of the current political and economic situation negotiations are tedious.

On a local level, Agentschap Telecom is investigating possibilities to have operators make use of other frequency bands, that suffer less from interference. This takes time. Until these solutions are established, this problem deserves your patience and understanding.

If you would like to check if ducting conditions are probable, you can find a prediction on the following website:

Agentschap Telecom is the telecom regulator for Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)



MARIGOT, St. Martin - The sudden and tragic death of French Quarter’s Kerry Coipel in a motorcycle accident this past Saturday has left his loved ones in a state of shock.

In response to the tragedy, ONE LOVE MOVEMENTS have joined forces and organized a rally that started at Kerry’s home in the French Quarter on Wednesday at 4:30 PM and ended at Joycee’s Car Wash in the French Quarter where a fundraiser will run until 11 PM.

The fundraiser will continue at Bamboo Vert from 11 PM until… All the proceeds from Joycee’s Car Wash & Bamboo Vert will be donated by ONE LOVE MOVEMENTS to help offset costs for his burial.  

On Thursday, May 25th, there will be a second fundraiser at Le Galion Beach featuring some of SXM’s top talent performing throughout the day starting at 11 AM until…

All proceeds from food and drink sales at the Le Galion beach event will also be donated by ONE LOVE MOVEMENTS toward Kerry’s funeral costs.

During both fundraisers Stay Focus Bus will be running and charging normal rates and all fees will be donated toward the burial. 

The day of the funeral services Stay Focus Bus will offer free transportation to the church & to your destination following the funeral. 

Donations are welcome, including food & drinks at all the fundraising venues!


Martial Arts Federation First Annual Spring Competition a Success

COLE BAY - Saint Maarten Martial Arts Federation (SMMAF) proudly presented its first annual spring competition on Saturday May 20th at MPC Gym in St. Peters.  SMMAF is a new sports foundation founded by Marco London with the objective of unifying combat martial arts on St. Maarten. The event was unique in that two very different combat martial art forms were on display- Muay Thai Kickboxing and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Competitors ages 4-22 years hailed from Marco London's Sityodtong Foundation, SXM BJJ/Renzo Gracie St. Maarten’s Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Teams, French St. Martin’s Caribbean Federation of Shidokan (Christian Pujol), Saint Barths Jiu Jitsu and Team Exodus.

SMMAF would like to thank the management of MPC for allowing the use of the gymnasium, as well as Mr Aartwicht Bell. The specialized mats competitions were generously provided by Mr. Bell (President of the Sports Federation and National Judo Association). 

SMMAF is especially grateful, without MPC management and Mr. Bell’s cooperation the event could not have taken place. Wesley Hendriks of Windward Roads was the official referee of the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu matches.

Official sponsorship was provided by Heavenly Water. Smiles-Inc Photo Booth Services was also on hand and treated competitors to a photo booth session and customized photo strip. For more information on the portable photo booth concept please visit: or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

St Barths Jiu Jitsu coach Nicolas Harmage traveled to St Maarten with three students to compete: Floriane Aubin, Malon Ballerin and Clement Georges. SXM BJJ/Renzo Gracie Jiu Jitsu athletes included:  Vlad Ahlip, Arhan Baharani, Amir Baharani, Britt Drent, Julia Hinckfoot, Gia Parisot, Jaiden Somersall, Sona' Sonakshee Sidhwa, Christian van der Horst., Ziro Degrammand, Natalya Munoz, Isiah Arrindell-Peterson, Amaziah Barze Richardson, Miles Cheasley, Jet Fleming, Andrea McQuilkin, Amani Michel, Mathew Stickells, Aiden Wilkie, Megan Whyte, Arman Yilmaz, Tristan Ahlip, Naomi Benjamin, Jayden Brooks, Renard Brison, Lukas Hassell, Keziah Hoeve, Jaheem O'Connor, Kevin Robens Bernard, Connor Scripps Ewing, Shaquamie Vanterpool, Annie Urdaneta, Angie Urdaneta, Sarai Willemberg, Ela Yilmaz, Aarda Yilmaz. Two multi-talented SXM BJJ athletes competed in both martial arts disciplines: Jaden Busby and Lucas Bardfield.

Muay Thai competitors included students of Akeem Lewis: Geraldo Schaede, Nicolas Schaede, Molly Slater, Yndys Gourdet, Vincent Legger, Jaali Galvani, Diandra Peterson, Gabriel Richardson.

Students of Marco London: Tino Chung, Dillon Peterson, Sebastian Daniel, Malcolm Arrindell, Malique Niles, Muaaz Ibrahim, Gwen vd Geer, Michelle London, Ariel Goberdhan, Sylvinienna Hooi, Hosea Rogers and  Andre Goberdhan. Students of Caribbean Federation of Shidokan led by Christian Pujol included Alizé PLANQUES, Yann POISOT, Mahonie CAUSSIN, Noaa SAINT LÉGER, Alexandre MARCHI, Vadim MALISEV, Rayan LANGEVIN, Chad WALTER, Stella PALMER, Jahia VILAR and Tylian VILAR.

After the children’s matches finished, two adult no-gi (without the kimono) matches were held between SXM BJJ’s Avish Wijesiriwardana (16) and Team Exodus Jay Thakurdin (18) and a heavyweight match between Pavle Marinkovic versus Team Exodus’s Nick Welch. Avish was victorious with a ‘mata leao or rear naked choke’ submission and Pavle won a very close and exiting match via points. 

SMMAF board was very pleased with the turnout and especially proud of the good sportsmanship displayed by each and every athlete. The level of technique was very high and bodes well for the future of martial arts in our small but talented Caribbean region.


High blood pressure is the leading risk factor for illness and premature death

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – Sint Maarten’s calendar of health observances is to promote particular local or global health issues, and encourage the population to get regular check-ups.  

For the month of May, high blood pressure and stroke is an issue that is worth discussing.  High blood pressure is the leading risk factor for illness and premature death from a cardiovascular event, and this is the second leading cause of disability in the world.  It is also the main cause of ischemic heart disease and stroke.

According to new research by the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of people in the world with high blood pressure reached 1.13 billion, nearly doubling since 1975.

The largest ever study of its kind, the research involved the WHO and hundreds of scientists throughout the world, and incorporated blood pressure measurements from nearly 20 million people.

Heart attacks, stroke and other circulatory diseases together kill more than 15 million people a year, or 30 per cent of the annual total of deaths from all causes.  Many of these deaths are both premature – occurring in people under 65-years – and preventable.

Between 20 and 35 per cent of the adult population in Latin America and the Caribbean has hypertension.  The number of people with high blood pressure has been increasing in recent years and many are unaware that they have this condition. 

Blood pressure is a leading risk factor for cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes, and it is treatable.  High blood pressure affects about 20 per cent of adults in most countries.  Blood pressure increases progressively with age.

Cigarette smoking is the most readily preventable risk factor for both heart disease and stroke.

High blood cholesterol levels are also a major risk factor.  The causes can be genetic, but are commonly related to a diet rich in animal fats.

Lack of physical activity is the most prevalent, modifiable risk factor for heart disease.  Obesity is a risk factor in itself for heart disease, and is related to inappropriate nutrition and inactivity.

In connection with the aforementioned, the Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department with the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development & Labour, is calling on the populace to ‘get healthy’ by being active.

For more information you can call CPS 542-2078 or 542-3003 or send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Governor’s Symposium 2017 entitled ‘ICT Governance – Shaping our Future’

HARBOUR VIEW – Today, the Governor of Sint Maarten, His Excellency drs. E.B. Holiday, announced details regarding the 2017 Governor’s Symposium. The theme for this year’s event is ‘ICT Governance – Shaping our Future’.

The event will be held at the auditorium of the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine, in Cupecoy, on Friday June 23, 2017. As in previous years the Governor’s Symposium is by invitation only.

This year’s symposium will feature national, regional and international speakers who will share their views and ideas and participate in an interactive panel discussion with the audience. In particular, the speakers will address ICT infrastructure, innovations, threats, cybersecurity and governance issues relevant to the shaping of our future. In addition, students will also present their research projects.

The Governor’s Symposium Organizing Committee installed by the Governor to prepare the Symposium is comprised of Mr. Ajamu Baly as chair, Mr. Patrick Trijsburg as secretary, Mrs. Kathy Snijders, Mrs. Emilia Connor-Thomas, Mr. Gerard Richardson, Mr. Dimitri Connor and Ms. Dahjanarah Philips. As preparations for the symposium progress further updates will be provided.

The overall objective of the Governor’s Symposia is the promotion of good governance. The annual Governors Symposium is considered to be a supportive platform for all invited stakeholders - government, civil society and the private sector - to focus, raise awareness and, function as a catalyst for best practices within the community of Sint Maarten.

This will be the sixth Symposium the Governor has organized. Previous themes included National Heritage, Sustainable Development, Education for Democracy, Governance: the value of checks and balances and Securing National Development.


Section of Back Street Closed from 24 May to 2 June as Phase III of the Project Commences

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – Ministry of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Development and Infrastructure (Ministry VROMI), announces that part of Back Street will be closed from Wednesday, May 24 to Friday, June 2.

The closure is in connection with the start of Phase III of the Back Street project.  The street will be closed after Gevangenis Street up to Korte Steeg where there will be no through traffic.  The works will be carried out from 7.00am to 6.00pm daily for the aforementioned dates.

On Wednesday, May 24, the intersections Gevangenis street (area of Angelo’s Boutique) and Wilhelmina street, and Hendrick street, will be closed off from 7.00am up to 1.00pm.

The bricks will be removed and base course placed and compacted accordingly.  Once this has been done, the intersection will be re-opened for motorized traffic.

Motorists are advised to be observant of detour and directional signs.

The works will be carried out by Windward Roads.

Ministry VROMI apologizes for any inconveniences this may cause.


Acting In Your Best Interest: How to Manage Your Money Workshop at USM on June 7

PHILIPSBURG – Do you often find yourself living paycheck to paycheck? Would you like to change you and your family’s financial future by living at your highest financial potential? Then this workshop is for you!

The Student Support Services Division (SSSD) of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport is organizing an interactive and informative Workshop entitled “Acting in Your Best Interest: How to Manage Your Money and Live at Your Highest Financial Potential.” The general public, especially parents of primary and secondary school children, are invited to attend.

Parents, school personnel and other interested persons are encouraged to come out to this workshop which will be held on Wednesday 7th June, 2017 at the University of St. Martin from 7:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M.

The objective of the workshop is to help all attendees understand the importance of budgeting, saving, debt management, and why proper financial planning and investing has become a necessity. Attendees will receive tips and strategies that can be utilized for their personal and family finances.

For more information, contact the Student Support Services Division at 543-1235 or email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The SSSD office is located in the Amigo Building across from the Police Station and next to the WIB.

The Student Support Services Division(SSSD) provides services to students referred by the schools and by extension their families. These services consist of psychological services, counseling services, social work services, educational diagnostic services, career services, and parent education sessions.


5th edition of NAGICO to NAGICO Race ends on high note

PHILIPSBURG - The 5th edition of the NAGICO to NAGICO cycling race is being dubbed a huge success by participants and spectators who experienced an exciting, fulfilled and incident free competition which spanned over the course of the entire weekend.

“This has been another successful edition for us, which attracted hundreds of cycling enthusiasts from both sides of the island,” Marketing Manager Lisa Brown said. “We were very pleased with the number of people that came out on all three days to support the event, but most of all we are thankful that we are able to boast the culmination of another safe event and for this we applaud the members of the emergency services, who through their expert planning and coordination were able to execute a safe and seamless operation which ensured the safety of the riders and the road users from border to border.”

This year’s races recorded more than 50 professional riders locally and from French territories including Guadeloupe, Martinique & France and surrounding islands like Anguilla.

Despite the intense heat brought on by weather conditions, the spirit of the supporters was not dampened as they followed the race, setting up cheer points at various locations of the route.

“Everyone is excited and already talking about next year’s edition as we see where the NAGICO to NAGICO race and cycling on the island sport is growing each year,” Brown said. “Already we have been approached with ideas from patrons on how to put a twist on the event for 2018 and internally our planning for 2018 will be commencing.”

One of the most memorable aspect of the race this year is that it helped to unify both the French and the Dutch as one people. At the opening ceremony on Friday night at the Simpson Bay Cause Way Bridge, the newly elected First Vice - President of the Collectivite, Valerie Damaseau officially opened the event and on Sunday members of the Sint Maarten Police Force participated in the prize giving ceremony held in Marigot, by presenting the Gamali Benjamin Award to the most Dynamic Rider of the event, Rene Arrondell.

“These are ways and examples of how sports can be used as a unifying thread to bring people from all culture and nationalities together as one and NAGICO is proud to be part of that.” Brown said.

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