Soualiga News

Soualiga News (2044)

The Taste of Writing workshop for high school and tertiary Education

SINT MAARTEN (REWARD) - Last Friday, author of juvenile books, Loekie Morales, visited the Milton Peters College to give a workshop 'The Taste of Writing' to the High school HAVO/VWO, Milton Peters College on Sint Maarten.

The writing workshop is part of the Beyond Kultura Events Foundation’s Writing Program of this year. The foundation stimulates reading, writing, storytelling and cultural activities among the youth. The students of the MPC were very interested in the main aspects of the writing a story process.

‘It starts with getting the ideas and topics, going into the process of writing itself, technically and with your heart. During this writing process, using your senses to describe the situation, the characters and their acts with monologues, dialogues and so one, is vital to write in a captivating way’, Morales explained.

‘The story needs to flow from your mind to your heart and from your heart to the pen, which touches the paper to which you have trusted your story,’ Morales stated.

Writing is a solitary action in which you can touch so many lives. 

During the workshop, the students could experience ‘Freewriting’ as a writing technique to enhance their writing skills, by getting an idea and to write it down without being distracted. At the end of the workshop, tips were given to the students to how to furthermore enhance their writing skills. All the students have gotten a ball point at the end of the workshop, to stimulate them to start writing their own biography and live story.

The students liked the writing workshop. It was a good taste of a writing experience for them and for me it was having an educational and fun journey with our youngsters at the same time’, Morales concluded.

High schools and tertiary education institutions can experience this writing workshop by contacting Beyond Kultura Events Foundation at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


UD wants state of affairs briefing about previous care-taker government’s decisions

PHILIPSBURG - "This election is too important to downplay how we came to having an election in the first place," said the board of the United Democrats (UD).

“The UD has had enough of the one-sided rhetoric by the opposition NA (National Alliance) and USP (United St. Maarten Party); including their blatant disregard for the truth and slanderous amateurish smear campaign,” the UD press release continued.

"These opposition parties should remember that up to less than a month ago, they were in government and the current government is still busy assessing the “damage” which was done during the now opposition final weeks in office," added the UD board.

“As a warning to the reckless behavior of the former ministers and their accomplices, all actions after these ministers received a vote of no confidence from the parliament must have been only routine matters.

“Anything else will be considered “parting gifts” and potentially illegal. There are many rumors out there regarding “parting gifts”, but we await government’s confirmation of the facts.

"Our country was thrown into further turmoil after Hurricane Irma due to the lack of leadership of the then Prime Minister William Marlin and his National Alliance led-government," the board concluded.

“The United Democrats party is looking forward to receiving the government’s assessment, not only of the handling of the Irma disaster by the former PM, but also the state of the ministries on January 15th, when the new ministers were sworn in,” the UD party press statement on Monday concluded.


Frans asks GEBE to expedite restoration to parts of Cay Bay

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Member of Parliament and leader of the United St. Maarten (US) party Frans Richardson is calling on GEBE to at least explain to residents of Cay Bay why they are still without electricity 6 months after the passing of hurricane Irma.

Richardson said while he fully compliments the staff and management of GEBE for the work they have done in restoring St. Maarten utilities, he was surprised to learn that there are pockets in Cay Bay and other areas still without electricity.

“We all know of the exceptional job GEBE has done over the past few months, but when speaking to folks in Cay Bay recently, I was caught totally off-guard that they are still without electricity. I think it behooves GEBE to provide an explanation to these citizens about their electricity supply. They haven’t heard anything in quite some time,” MP Richardson said.

After experiencing the situation in Cay Bay, Richardson said he was told of similar situations elsewhere but could not confirm that. “Bottom line is people just appreciate updates. And at this stage, they want a solution. Six months after the storm is a very long time. I’m calling on GEBE to explain and if at all possible expedite its efforts so these good people can get electricity restored sooner rather than later.


Clean sweep for Dutch women in Olympics 3,000 metre speed skating

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Carlijn Achtereekte was the surprise winner of the gold medal in the 3,000 speed skating event at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics on Saturday, as the Dutch women swept the board.

Achtereekte, who won the race in 3.59.21, narrowly beat team mate and defending champion Ireen Wüst into second place. Antoinette de Jong completed the all-Dutch winners podium.

Elsewhere, Sjinkie Knegt picked up the silver medal in the men’s short track 1,500 metre event. Knegt finished just behind South Korea’s Lim Hyo-jun. Knegt’s medal is only the second ever won by the Dutch in the short track events.

He took bronze in the 1,000 metres in the Sochi games. Earlier there was disappointment for the Dutch women short track team when none of them qualified for the final.

The games are already over for the Netherlands’ youngest team mate. Snowboarder Niek van der Velden, who is just 17, broke his arm after falling during training. ‘The wind carried me a little further then I was pleased with and I had to take a slam,’ he said in English on Instagram.

‘I’m bummed out that I couldn’t compete because I was really excited to go, but I’ll be back in no time!’ (DutchNews)


Dutch State Secretary Blokhuis to visit health care facilities Caribbean Netherlands and Colombia

SABA/ST. EUSTATIUS - Dutch State Secretary Paul Blokhuis (Health, Welfare and Sport) (VWS), is visiting Aruba, Bonaire,Curaçao and Colombia from Tuesday,  February 13th till Tuesday, February 20th.

He is introduced to various (youth) health care facilities on the Islands and in Colombia. In this way he obtaines insight into the health care provision and quality, that  the inhabitants of the Caribbean Netherlands make use of. 

Bonaire is a ' special municipality' (public entity) of the Netherlands. Health and youth care on Bonaire are the responsibilityof the State Secretary of VWS.

That is the reason why,  in several days , Blokhuis visits the hospital, the nursing home, a day care for the elderly, the youth care and a mental health institution. He  also visits small-scale health initiatives: a living care provision for young people with behavioural problems and a shelter for teenage girls.

During his working visit Blokhuis will also meet with the government of Bonaire (commissioners and members of the Island Council). He will have talks with them about:  youth care, social care, domestic violence, sports and movement.

Saba and St. Eustatius are special municipalities (public entities) of the Netherlands as well.The State Secretary will visit these islands before the summer.

Aruba en Curaçao

Aruba and Curaçao are independent countries within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Thus, they are solely responsible for the health care and have their own health care system.

Because not all specialist care can be offered on Bonaire, patients in need of more complex care, are sent to Aruba and Curaçao and for very complex care to Colombia.

On both Aruba and Curaçao, Blokhuis will visit the hospitals that have to deal with this influx of patients. In addition, he will meet the governors of both islands.


Colombia also has a considerable influx of patients from the Caribbean Netherlands for the very complex medical specialists. Blokhuis travels from Bogotá to Medellin and will visit hospitals and a medical research center  who treat patients of Caribbean Netherlands. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)



SINT MAARTEN/CURACAO - We are happy to announce that James Hunter Six, Michelle David & The Gospel Sessions, Selwyn Birchwood, and Thornetta Davis complete the line-up for the 3rd edition of Curaçao International BlueSeas Festival. The free festival in the streets of historic Pietermaai District takes place on Friday 30 and Saturday 31 March 2018. The full program and timetable is now available on the website.

English Rhythm & Blues guitarist and soul singer James Hunter spent much of the early nineties playing small London clubs with his first band Howlin’ Wilf and the Vee-Jays. He sang backing vocals on two Van Morrison albums and opened for artists Aretha Franklin, Willie Nelson, and Tom Petty. The James Hunter Six, consists of Jonathan Lee, drums; Lee Badau, baritone saxophone; Damian Hand, tenor saxophone; Andrew Kingslow, keyboards/percussion; and Jason Wilson on bass.

American singer Michelle David, together with guitarists Onno Smit and Paul Willemsen, skilfully reinvented Gospel by going back to its origins. No Hammond organs, but simple guitar riffs and a tambourine. The result is a more refined sound that is reminiscent of Sam Cooke and Bobby Womack, with a touch of Funk, Soul and Afrobeat. In 2014, they made their first record The Gospel Sessions Volume 1.

Florida-born, electric and lap steel blues guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Selwyn Birchwood announced his arrival on the international blues stage when his 2014 Blues Music Award winning debut album Don’t Call No Ambulance. He has opened for major blues stars including Robert Cray and Buddy Guy and shared the stage with Joe Louis Walker (BlueSeas Festival 2016). His most recent album Pick Your Poison recently debuted at #6 in the Billboard Blues Chart.

American Detroit Blues and r&b singer Thornetta Davis has won over 30 Detroit Music Awards for Best R&B/Blues Vocalist and Best R&B Group and was inducted into the Detroit Music Hall of Fame in 2001. In her impressive career, Davis has opened for legendary blues and r&b greats such as Ray Charles, Gladys Knight, Smokey Robinson, and Buddy Guy. In 2017, Davis was nominated for a Blues Music Award in the Best Emerging Artist Album category for her latest album Honest Woman.

The full 2018 line-up consists of Kenny Neal, Michelle David & The Gospel Sessions, Samantha Fish, and Selwyn Birchwood on Friday 30 March 2018. And on Saturday 31 March 2018: Danielle Nicole, James Hunter Six, Thornetta Davis, and Toronzo Cannon.

Curaçao International BlueSeas Festival is an initiative of Fundashon Bon Intenshon and produced by Mojo Concerts.


UPDATED: Continuation of Central Committee meeting of Parliament about the landfill

UPDATE - PHILIPSBURG – The Cental Committee meeting that was scheduled for Friday regarding the landfill has been postponed at the request of the Prime Minister.

ARCHIVED, The House of Parliament will sit in an urgent Central Committee meeting on February 9. The minister of General Affairs as well as the minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor and the minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure will be present.

The Central Committee meeting which was adjourned on Wednesday, February 7, 2018 will resume on Friday at 15.00 hrs in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelminastraat #1 in Philipsburg.

The agenda point is:

Discussion about the current situation at the dump including possible solutions.

Members of the public are invited to the House of Parliament to attend parliamentary deliberations. 

The House of Parliament is located across from the Court House in Philipsburg.


Prime Minister Leona Romeo Marlin and Dutch State Secretary Knops visit Roof Repair Program Candidates

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - On Thursday afternoon a delegation including Prime Minister Leona Romeo Marlin, Minister of VROMI Miklos Giterson and Dutch State Secretary Raymond Knops visited two of the 480 homes that have been selected for reconstruction in the Roof Repair Program that is being executed by the Government of Sint Maarten.

"I am confident that we are heading in the right direction as the Government of Sint Maarten continues to develop programs that will assist and bring relief to persons in the community," said Prime Minister Leona Romeo Marlin following meetings with State Secretary Knops.

The objective of the tour was to have State Secretary Knops witness firsthand the severity of the damages caused by Hurricane Irma.

The delegation spoke with the home owners Margarita Sommersal and Olivia Mars who shared their experiences post Hurricane Irma.


SDM asking for immediate action on landfill

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Governments uncontrolled landfill, located in the heart of St. Maarten is severely contaminating the air but also leaching toxic materials into the ground and the Great Salt Pond, the St. Maarten Development Movement (SDM) said in a statement on Thursday.

“A major environmental liability. In addition, the landfill could be at risk of exploding and this is not your regular tourist attraction. "In light of the current situation in which some households where asked to evacuate and businesses were forced to close down or endured a loss of income due to a decline in clients, I believe the public has a right to know what governments intentions are in solving this on the short to long term", says Benjamin Ortega, leader of the St. Maarten Development Movement.

“SDM is fully aware of the attempts to out the fire. SDM also applauds the Prime Minister for taking the right decision in closing down schools and buildings in the area. But what will be done next? Will students and civil servants just return to work when the smoke is gone? Or will the buildings be tested for dioxin levels first and maybe even asbestos. The public has no idea what was burning exactly and which toxins where released. Irma caused a lot of damage to older buildings that could have contained any kind of toxic materials that were brought to our landfill.

"As aspiring parliamentarian it’s my duty to speak on behalf of all affected by this and to address the government on what seems to be a lack of action, which is the purpose of this press release".

“Landfill fires happen all over the world and could be caused by spontaneous heating and ignition of materials. This time around it was mentioned to be the result of arson. No matter what the cause it’s obvious that the failing of numerous governments (past and present) is exposed. Many solutions have been proposed in the past. In 2016 for example short to long term solutions were proposed by the SER.

“SDM would like the current government to take these solutions in consideration and make decisions. SDM sees government as the responsible actor to take the lead, but stresses the relevance of partnering up with public and private stakeholders that could play a role. Kingdom partners in the region that deal with similar issues as small island development states are also suggested.

"We simply cannot afford to look at anything as a micro issue. Sint Maarten is in dire need to get back on track as a sustainable economy and society. Strategic planning is a requirement which according to our adopted Sustainable Development Goals Agenda requires amongst other goals Good Governance as well as Establishing Partnerships. SDM has presented solutions in the past that are in line with what has been advised by the SER. Our movement will continue to actively seek and present solutions that benefit the people of St. Maarten in a sustainable way.”


SCDF release vehicles inspection schedule

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) on Thursday released the inspection schedule for all vehicles that will be included in Carnival road events.

Annually the foundation, together with the police department, structures a schedule for inspections to ensure that all vehicles are up to code. Band trucks, trailers, float vehicles, promotional vehicles are all inspected before they are allowed to be used in jump-ups and/or parades.

“Safety in Carnival is still are first priority,” SCDF president Alston Lourens said. “SCDF road events travels along very narrow road ways with thousands of people as onlookers. These onlookers are very close to the vehicles that are in the road event. We have to ensure as much as possible that they are up to code and safe,” he added.

All inspection will take place on Saturdays on the Ring Road across of Blue Point from 12:00noon to 5:00pm on the following days:

February 17 and 24

March 10, 17 and 31

April 7, 14 and 21

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