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COCI celebrates the Christmas Season with 5th edition “Christmas Street Fair 2017” on December 16

PHILIPSBURG - The St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce & Industry (COCI) is once again holding its annual Christmas Street Fair. This is the prime time to visit the Philipsburg area right before the Christmas shopping rush to get some shopping done.

With musical entertainment and various desserts on sale, this fair is an ideal shopping opportunity for the entire family. Residents and visitors are all invited to come out and enjoy the real Caribbean spirit of Christmas.

The Cannegieter Street, starting from the Windward Island Bank to the intersection by the St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce will become a Christmas haven for this upcoming festive season. The 5th edition of the COCI Christmas Street Fair is from 9:00am to 8:00pm on December 16th, 2017.

The St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce & Industry is giving various vendors the chance to sell their goods during this event. Vendors interested in obtaining a booth are urged to pick up an application form at COCI on the C.A. Cannegieter Street #11, Philipsburg.

Deadline for booth registrations is December 11th, 2017 


Christmas is coming to Walter Plantz Square on Friday. You’re invited to the Annual Lighting of the Tree

PORT ST. MAARTEN – Christmas is coming to Walter Plantz Square (WPS) at Down Street on Friday afternoon, December 8 at Happy Hour.  Come out and join the Lighting of the Annual Christmas tree at WPS at 7.00pm. End your week by kicking-off the holiday season celebration at WPS.

This is the third year that WPS will be lighting the Christmas tree as well as the square with festive holiday lights for the season. It’s a time to reflect and give gratitude in the post-Irma era.

While visiting WPS, don’t forget to patronize one of several restaurants at the square: Irie Garden (vegetarian), Layback Bar & Restaurant (creole), and the Oranje Café.

Make WPS a place to visit this holiday season and beyond.  It is a great location for visitors, family and friends to hang out through the week or weekends.

Since its establishment a few years ago, the Walter Plantz Square at Down Street has generated a new spirit of life into the area for locals and visitors alike.

The square is strategically located next to the Walter Plantz Tender Jetty which connects to the boardwalk/beach promenade, Down Street and Front Street, and allows for a broader distribution flow of passengers.  


UPDATED: Winair’s flight 807 rescheduled for Thursday. (Winair’s flight caught in the middle of dispute)

UPDATE/SIMPSON BAY - Following the unfortunate situation where Winair flight 807, originating from Curacao to Haiti and St. Maarten, got caught up in on Tuesday December 05, 2017, the airline informs the public and their passengers that the flight is rescheduled for Thursday December 7, 2017.

“It is scheduled to depart Haiti to St. Maarten 12:00pm that day and the flight from St. Maarten to Curacao is scheduled to depart 3:40pm. Winair mediated vigorously between the Haitian Airport Authority and our Lessor and the issue was resolved.

“This flight has been rescheduled to operate Thursday December 7th. Passengers were provided suitable accommodation and all affected passengers will reach their final destination tomorrow. Winair sincerely apologizes to her customers for the inconvenience caused,” the local airline said in an update on Wednesday.

ARCHIVE, SIMPSON BAY - On Tuesday December 05, 2017 Winair’s flight 807 originating from Curacao to Haiti and St. Maarten got caught in an unfortunate situation due to an issue between Haiti Airport authority and the lessor of Winair’s MD-80.

Winair utilizes an MD-80 through an ACMI lease agreement for its flight to between Curacao, Haiti and St. Maarten and has scheduled flights Curacao-Haiti-St. Maarten-Curacao on Tuesday and Curacao-St. Maarten-Haiti-Curacao on Saturday.

Winair’s flight 807 was grounded by the Haitian Airport Authority due to outstanding payments by Winair’s lessor. Being caught in the middle of this situation Winair has been mediating vigorously to resolve the issue, but unfortunately had to cancel the flights for Tuesday, the local airline announced on Wednesday in a press statement.

Winair sincerely apologizes to her customers for this inconvenience, and will do their utmost to accommodate their passengers the best they can and have them continue their journey as soon as possible.


COCI Election for Small Business Sector Seats is December 15

PHILIPSBURG - The St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce and Industry (COCI) would like to inform the members on the results of the postulation of candidates for the Election for the Board of Directors of COCI, concluded on Monday December 4th, 2017 at 12 noon.

Through the completed postulation process the following persons were postulated in accordance with the laws and procedures.

Small Business sector for three years:

Four (4) candidates were postulated for two (2) seats, the names are: Annuska Friday-Illis, Bertaux Simon Fleming, Curtis Thomas and Deepak M. Budhrani.

Small Business sector for two years:

Two (2) candidates were postulated for one (1) seat, the names are: Annuska Friday-Illis and Nikhil Kukreja

The Election for the Small Business sector seat shall be held on December 15th, 2017.

Voters are advised to request and pick up their voting cards at the Chamber of Commerce & Industry office from Thursday, December 7th, 2017.


Central Committee meeting of Parliament about challenges with USM

PHILIPSBURG – The House of Parliament will sit in a Central Committee meeting on Wednesday, December 6.

The Central Committee meeting is scheduled for 11.00 hrs in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelminastraat #1 in Philipsburg. Students of the University of St. Martin will be present for this meeting.

The agenda point is:

Discussion on challenges with the University of St. Martin and experiences and concerns as it relates to tertiary education in St. Maarten

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.


Central bank warns health insurers: top-up policies are at risk

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Dutch health insurance companies must continue to modernize their operations and risk management to ensure their long-term solidity, the central bank said on Tuesday.

In particular, the future of top-up policies, which cover treatment not included in the government-determined basic policy – is in doubt, the central bank said in a report on the future of the Dutch health insurance market.

The top up policies, which cover dental care, more physiotherapy and alternative medicine, are commercial products and insurance companies are free to set their own prices and conditions.

When the new health insurance system was introduced in 2006, 93% of policy holders took out additional insurance but that figure has now fallen to 84%. ‘We notice a trend that clients are becoming more cautious.

In other words, they will only choose a supplemental insurance when they know they will use specific healthcare, such as physiotherapy or dental treatments,’ said Koen Kuijper, spokesman for health insurance comparison website

‘As a result, supplemental insurances are becoming far less profitable for insurance companies than ever before.’ Insurance companies are now keeping the prices artificially low and some are already making a loss on their supplementary policies, the central bank said.


The central bank recommends insurers agree multi-year contracts with providers, do more in terms of prevention and advice, and use data more cleverly. At the same time, the government should make it possible for insurers to offer multiple year policies so that investment in prevention pays off.

The bank says that increased solvency requirements, falling income and the use of reserves – €5.5 bn in the past few years – to soften premium hikes have taken their toll on insurers capital surpluses. With healthcare costs set to mount in the coming years, it is increasingly important for insurance companies to ensure their operations are sustainable, the bank says. (DutchNews)


SXM Airport Returns to Regular Operational Hours in time to welcome back Air France

SIMPSON BAY – The Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM)  has announced that the Juliana Aerodrome and Air Traffic Control have returned to the regular operational hours of 7:00 a.m to 9:00 p.m. with effect from Saturday December 2, 2017. The required Notice to Air Men (NOTAM) was also published on Friday.

Until today, the operational hours at the Princess Juliana International Airport were from 6:30am through sunset. The adjustment came following the catastrophic hurricane Irma, which struck the island on September 6, 2017.  The super Category 5 storm wreaked havoc on the terminal and destroyed some of the runway lights as well. The airport has been working tirelessly on the restoration of its night operations.

SXM Airport COO and Acting CEO, Michel Hyman said he is elated at the fact that the airport is back to its regular operating hours, in time to accommodate the return of Air France today, Saturday, December 2, 2017.

“This is another step forward in the normalization of our operations. The fact that we are welcoming back Air France which interrupted its services to SXM due to Hurricane Irma is a clear indication that we are moving in the right direction,” Hyman said.


No parking in front of Court House as of Monday

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – The Inspectorate of TEATT (Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport & Telecommunications) by way of executing the minister’s vision of eliminating the often chaotic situations of taxis parked in front of the Court House at Captain Hodge Wharf, hereby informs the general public that all vehicles including taxis will be prohibited from parking in front of the Court House at Captain Hodge Wharf as of Monday, December 4th, 2017.

With the assistance of Ministry VROMI the square will be closed off to vehicular traffic.

All taxis will make use of the normal lineup area between the public paid parking lot and RBC Bank.  The parking lot in the rear of the former Government Administration Building will be used as a staging area for overflow taxis.

A taxi dispatch booth will be stationed at the entrance to the parking lot to control the flow and dispatching of taxis from this area. A second taxi dispatching station will be placed at the entrance to the Captain Hodge Wharf at Cyrus Wathey Square to facilitate tourists debarking the Captain Hodge Wharf and those tourists on Front Street.

Government Taxi Dispatchers will man both these stations and all dispatching will be done via Taxi dispatchers on site. All taxis are to abide by the line-up system and await their turn to be dispatched.

Taxi drivers are to remain with their vehicles and soliciting of tourists is prohibited as stipulated by LBHAM Personenvervoer.

Officers from Control Unit and Casino Control will also be supporting the dispatching process to ensure that law and order is maintained and dispatching is done quickly.


State Secretary Knops and Statia hold frank and open talks

ST. EUSTATIUS - On Thursday November 29th during his inaugural visit to St. Eustatius State, Secretary of the Ministry of Interior of Kingdom Relations, Raymond Knops, held talks with act. Island Governor  Julian Woodley, Commissioner Derrick Simmons and members of the Island Council. 

Following what were termed open and frank discussions with both the Executive and Island Council the State Secretary presented Commissioner Simmons with a letter in which the Central Government has granted 2 million euro to the Public Entity of St. Eustatius for repairs in the context of insular tasks following two major hurricanes in September.

This one time contribution of 2 million euro is in addition to what the Central Government has already contributed through emergency funding and what will follow as part of the rehabilitation and reconstruction funds the Ministry will make available to help St. Eustatius. These funds are earmarked for restoration projects which fall under island responsibilities and are subject to, among others, the following conditions.

The funds must be spent by December 31st 2019 at the latest; it is not allowed to spend the resources to restore entities governed by private law, the so-called government entities; annually an interim progress report must be submitted no later than June 30th; project proposals need to be submitted by the Island Governor to the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations and in the framework of the applicable preliminary supervision, in consultation with the Commission Financial Supervision it will be considered how the project applications will be reviewed and checked.

State Secretary Knops has explained that the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations and the Ministry of Infrastructure &Water Management will hold discussions with the Executive Council for their input and the setting of priorities.

In a joint press briefing State Secretary Knops and Commissioner Simmons stated that efforts will be made to work on strengthening the relationship between Central and Local Government in the interest of the people of St. Eustatius. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)



COLE BAY - Motorworld, Caribbean Auto and Audi brings in the holiday season with the Annual Christmas Car Show on this Saturday, December 2 from 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM. This major event brings fun festivities, good times and cheer for the holidays along with some remarkable deals on all the reliable quality brands, which includes Audi, Ford, Hyundai, Volkswagen, Mazda, Jeep, RAM, Honda, and Chrysler.

Some of the amazing deals include markdowns on the Ford Ecosport with a starting price at $16,995, as well as $2,000 of the Ford Edge, plus 5 years warranty, plus 3 years free extended service protection, which is valid on all Ford vehicles. In addition the newly launched Honda City, fully-loaded, starts at $18,990. Not to mention the discounts on various vehicles, such as $1,500 off the Volkwagen Polo, $1,200 off the Audi Q2, $1,500 off the Mazda CX5, $1,500 off the Honda CRV, $1,000 off the newly-redesigned Grand i10, and $1,200 off the ever-popular, Hyundai Creta and Tucson, which also includes 5 years warranty.

In addition, all the latest vehicles from all the brands will also be on display, with various added-value deals and discounts. The Annual Christmas Car Show provides an opportunity for individuals who may have lost or damaged their vehicle as a result of Irma to get great deals on the 2017, as well as 2018 models.

Not only are all vehicles discounted on this day, the banks will also be available to provide affordable finance packages, with low interest rates on car loans. The first three monthly payments will be FREE from participating banks, with two monthly payments guaranteed. This allows customers to take advantage of the car promotions, with the peace of mind that the first 2-3 months of payments are already covered, courtesy of Motorworld and the participating banks. Zero down payment, 100% financing, is also available. Participating banks include: Windward Islands Bank, RBC Bank, Scotiabank, PSB Bank and CIBC First Caribbean International Bank. Several banks will be offering their best rates on this day only! Customers can take advantage of finance packages that the banks will be making available at the Car Show, and are asked to bring along the necessary paperwork. For all the financing details please log onto

In the spirit of giving, with every purchase, customers also get a free gift of their choice such as a 40" Samsung Smart TV, Apple iPad, Samsung Galaxy C7 Pro, or a 15" Laptop!

Festive entertainment will be provided by King Rumer, Young Dow aka Grand Prime who will also be bringing some great vibes with the steel pan, along with special appearances by Versatile and Yapi. The kiddies corner features a bounce house, cotton candy and popcorn complimentary for children to allow parents the peace of mind to shop at ease, as the entire family enjoys the festivities.

In addition, live broadcasts from Laser 101, SOS Radio and X104 will be taking place onsite to keep the entire community informed and engaged.

The Christmas season is looking bright at Motorworld and the entire community is invited to attend and enjoy this festive day. There is a full-day program organized to be an enjoyable experience for everyone. There will be free food and drinks all day.

The Annual Christmas Car Show is a day not to be missed in St. Maarten/ St. Martin. Motorworld, Caribbean Auto and Audi's wide range of vehicles, products and services are listed among the top class dealerships in the Caribbean, and the world. It will all be available, accessible and ready to serve each customer's unique needs.

For further information, please visit or call (721) 544-5294.

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