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Calling All KIDS: Library and Rotaract host Easter egg hunt on April 4th

PHILIPSBURG - On Saturday, the 4th of April, the Philipsburg Jubilee Library will be hosting its grand annual Easter egg hunt, in collaboration with the Rotaract Club of St. Maarten Sunrise. The event, which is for children aged 4-10 years old, will take place at the library from 10:00 am to 12:30 pm.

During the Easter egg hunt, there will be lots of fun activities, such as: face painting, games, and storytelling and, of course, the Easter egg hunt. All children taking part in this event will receive a special “goody bag” to take home. Registration fee will be $5 per child. Pizza, drinks and snacks will be on sale.

The Easter bunnies will be paying the library a visit again this year to make their special face painting creations. During storytelling, children will listen to some of the dedicated Story Time volunteers, while they read from their favorite children’s stories about Easter.

To participate in the Easter egg hunt, please register at the library before Thursday, April 2nd. Space is limited, so parents are urged to register their child as early as possible to secure their spot. For more information, call the library at 542-2970. (Philipsburg Jubilee Library)


Central Committee Meeting scheduled for Monday about Draft National Ordinance to Establish Integrity Chamber

PHILIPSBURG – TheCentral Committee of Parliament will meet in public session on March 30. The Minister of General Affairs Hon. Marcel Gumbs will be present for the House session.

The public Central Committee meeting is set for Monday at 2.00pm in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelmina Straat #1 in Philipsburg.

The three point agenda is: the draft National Ordinance for the establishment of a Integrity Chamber; second agenda point is approval of the travel schedule for the year 2015 in connection with Committee and Board of Directors meetings of the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino); and the third agenda point is approval of the composition of the delegation and provisions for General Assembly of Parlatino from May 15-16.

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.

The parliamentary session will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 120, via Pearl Radio FM 98.1, the audio via the Internet and via 


Wrigley Street Closed to Accommodate Funeral Attendance of the Late Mrs. Josiane Bell-Carty on Monday

COLE BAY – Ministry of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Development and Infrastructure (Ministry VROMI) in collaboration with the Police Department, has authorized the road closure of the Wrigley Street in Colebay (conjunction between Welfare road and Tropicana Casino) to accommodate the large funeral attendance expected for the late wife of Pastor Franklin Bell, Mrs. Josiane Bell-Carty Monday March 30 between the hours of 12:00PM and 4:00PM.

Motorists and residents commuting to the airport, Simpson Bay area or points beyond are advised to utilize the alternative route through Wyoming Street.

Larger vehicles heading to said areas must avoid these routes between the hours of 12:00PM and 4:00PM and use the Causeway Bridge as an alternative to arrive at their desired destination.

Motorists and residents are requested to be mindful of the accommodations made to assist the funeral arrangements.

Ministry VROMI apologizes for any inconvenience that this may cause.


Winners of TelCell Bachata Dance Off La Bamba

SIMPSON BAY - The first TelCell bachata competition was hosted at La Bamba. Six couples participated and in the end the couple both from the Dominican Republic "Leidy Lopez and Edward Lorenzo" was the crowd pleaser.

Leidy and Edward will be number one (1) when texting to "7511"on the TelCell SMS campaign which begins on Monday March 30th and will end on April 28. Only $0.50 per text.

For those still wishing to participate in the bachata dance off, the next opportunity will be Saturday March 28 at Rancho and again on Sunday March 29 at Son Latino.


Permanent Committee on Education and Youth scheduled to meet Friday about Children’s Rights

PHILIPSBURG – ThePermanent Committee of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Affairs (CECYSA) of Parliament, will meet in public session on March 27

The Permanent Committee meeting is set for Friday at 1.00pm in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelmina Straat #1 in Philipsburg.

The agenda point is a presentation by the Department of Youth Affairs and a consultant from the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) about the current children’s rights activities on the island, and a summary of the recent “Children Rights Round Table Conference,” that was held in January 2015.

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.

The parliamentary session will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 120, via Pearl Radio FM 98.1, the audio via the Internet and via 


Police recruits receive training in carrying our traffic controls

PHILIPSBURG - On Wednesday March 25th the police recruits that are presently in training got a chance to experience what it is like to conduct or be part of a traffic control.

The recruits were under the guidance of senior officers with many years of experience in police work.

The recruits were quite enthusiastic and are very eager to learn. (Police Force Sint Maarten) 


Minister of Culture Bourne-Gumbs Welcomes Permanent Memorial Honoring Victims of the Transatlantic Slave Trade

PHILIPSBURG – Minister of Culture Hon. Rita Bourne-Gumbs welcomes the unveiling by the United Nations (UN) of a permanent memorial in New York on Wednesday, March 25 honoring the victims of the transatlantic slave trade.

The permanent memorial is entitled ‘The Ark of Return,’ and is designed by Rodney Leon, an American architect of Haitian descent. It pays tribute to the courage of slaves, abolitionists and unsung heroes while promoting greater recognition of the contributions made by slaves and their descendants to societies worldwide.

The transatlantic slave trade is unique within the universal history of slavery for three main reasons: its duration of approximately four centuries; those victimized: black African men, women and children; and the intellectual legitimization attempted on its behalf, the development of an anti-black ideology and its legal organization, the notorious Code noir.

As a commercial and economic enterprise, the slave trade provides a dramatic example of the consequences resulting from particular intersections of history and geography. It involved several regions and continents: Africa, America, the Caribbean, Europe and the Indian Ocean.

The transatlantic slave trade is often regarded as the first system of globalization. According to French historian Jean-Michel Deveau the slave trade and consequently slavery, which lasted from the 16th to the 19th century, constitute one of "the greatest tragedies in the history of humanity in terms of scale and duration".

The transatlantic slave trade was the biggest deportation in history and a determining factor in the world economy of the 18th century. Millions of Africans were torn from their homes, deported to the American continent and sold as slaves.

The transatlantic slave trade, often known as the triangular trade, connected the economies of three continents. It is estimated that between 25 to 30 million people, men, women and children, were deported from their homes and sold as slaves in the different slave trading systems. In the transatlantic slave trade alone the estimate of those deported is believed to be approximately 17 million. These figures exclude those who died aboard the ships and in the course of wars and raids connected to the trade.

The trade proceeded in three steps. The ships left Western Europe for Africa loaded with goods which were to be exchanged for slaves. Upon their arrival in Africa the captains traded their merchandise for captive slaves.

Weapons and gun powder were the most important commodities but textiles, pearls and other manufactured goods, as well as rum, were also in high demand. The exchange could last from one week to several months.

The second step was the crossing of the Atlantic. Africans were transported to America to be sold throughout the continent. The third step connected America to Europe. The slave traders brought back mostly agricultural products, produced by the slaves. The main product was sugar, followed by cotton, coffee, tobacco and rice.
The circuit lasted approximately eighteen months. In order to be able to transport the maximum number of slaves, the ship’s steerage was frequently removed. Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, England and France, were the main triangular trading countries.


TB remains a burden – Find, Treat, Cure TB

GREAT BAY (DCOMM) – Collective Prevention Services (CPS) of the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA), says that tuberculosis (TB) continues to be a burden around the world as nations came together on Tuesday, March 24 to raise awareness about TB on World Tuberculosis Day.

This year’s theme is: “Find, Treat, Cure TB.”

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) End TB Strategy envisions a world free of TB with zero deaths, disease and suffering.

It sets targets and outlines actions for governments and partners to provide patient-centred care, pursue policies and systems that enable prevention and care, and drive research and innovations needed to end the epidemic and eliminate TB.

On World TB Day, the WHO calls on governments, affected communities, civil society organizations, health-care providers, and international partners to join the drive to roll out this strategy and to reach, treat and cure all those who are ill today.

37 million lives were saved through effective diagnosis and treatment between 2000-2013; and 480,000 people developed multidrug resistant TB in the world in 2013.

The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) joined the Region on Tuesday in observing the day.  TB ranks as the second leading cause of death from infectious disease, after HIV.  

TB remains a public health priority for the Caribbean region with more than 30,000 new cases occurring every year.  Persistent cough, fatigue, fever, night sweats, and weight loss are common signs and symptoms of TB, and persons experiencing these symptoms should consult their doctor.

TB remains a major global health problem, responsible for illness among nine million new people each year, and deaths of 1.5 million, according to CARPHA.


COMMENTARY: The Ebb & Flow of the Airline Industry

We have all seen the dramatic drop in the oil price in 2014 and we have noticed that some airlines have continued to maintain the same level in their airfares despite dropping the infamous fuel clause that was used to justify the rise in airfares over the years to keep pace with the ever increasing price of oil and the burdening effect this had on the operational costs in the airline industry.

Many airline press releases tell us that the present airfares are kept at the present level to cover the years of financial deficits that have been incurred while the airlines struggled to maintain their pricing competitiveness and that the airlines will continue to use the profits generated to strengthen their airline companies' balance sheets. In order words, airlines intend to profit from the present situation for as long as possible.

This brings me to look at theeb and flow in the airline industry. Because despite the opportunity to benefit from lower fuel prices, there are still many airline companies struggling to survive financially or are on the brink of bankruptcy. The burgeoning overhead costs of the legacy carriers, the burdening operational costs that in most cases cannot be deferred or offset on to the passengers and the gnawing competition from the low-cost carriers and from the cash-rich middle-eastern carriers are taking a toll on the state of the airline industry.

Despite the aforementioned detrimental situation, I am intrigued by the fact that there are still many airline companies vying to enter the airline industry. To a certain extent, this can be understood. With record profits being made in the industry presently, entrepreneurs and investors see an opportunity to enter into a market that has enormous potential for huge amounts of revenues and profits. Also, as more aircrafts are being built on the promise of efficiency in both technology and fuel consumption, it is certainly attractive for new airline companies to try to enter the market if they are certain their business model can be operated more profitably and more efficiently than their predecessors.

So, on the one hand we see the rise and fall of oil prices, air fares, profits and losses and the exit and entry of old and new players in the airline market industry. On the other hand, like the moon having a tremendous effect on the eb and flow of the ocean on our planet's surface, it tickles my imagination to know what exactly is causing the similarly eb and flow in the airline industry? Is it the just the life-cycle that every airline company must go through or is it because of the restless nature of man to be forever on the move, whether up or down, like oil prices, airline fares and company profits?

By Terrance Rey: owner and managing director of AirStMaarten, Let’s Travel etc. Terrance Rey has 15 years’ experience in the travel business as a travel agent, tour operator, charter broker and as an internet travel entrepreneur.


Results of the annual SMSEF Interscholastic Soccer Tournament for March 21

BELVEDERE - All scheduled games were played as teams managed to field enough players at the SMSEF Interscholastic Soccer Tournament on Saturday at the Johan Cruijff Court in Belvedere. This was, however, no easy feat on Saturday, March 21, due to the traffic congestion in the area.

The traffic congestion was caused by the bicycle races that passed the area throughout the morning hours. Some parents and coaches reported to be stuck in traffic for over an hour. An alert went out from the SMSEF on Friday, March 20, via e-mail and Facebook, when they were made aware of the potential transportation problems for the teams.

All teams were advised to leave on time and anticipate temporary road closures along the way. Even though teams still had to deal with the traffic congestion, they did manage to field a team to play according to schedule. Some players, however, had to join their team after the start of their game. It was a great day of soccer with a lot of close scores and comeback stories.

Game 1: Category 9+U

Combine Silly Shooters vs Sr. Regina New Stars: result 7 – 0 (at halftime 1 - 0)

Top scorer Combine Silly Shooters: Xabel Dias with 5 goals. Quincy Busby was a useful player, he scored once and assisted three times. Sr. Regina New Stars put up a lot of resistance in the first half. In the second half Combine Silly Shooters stepped it up to ensure the victory.

Game 2: Category 9+U

Learning Unlimited vs Leonald Connor: result 6 – 2 (at halftime 2 - 2)

Top scorer Learning Unlimited: Sharky Nowek with 3 goals and 1 assist.

Goal scorers Leonald Connor:  Omario Jones and Anthony Gumbs both with one goal.

The first goal for Learning Unlimited was an own goal by Leonald Connor. The teams were tied at halftime. The second half made the difference.

Game 3: Category 9+U

Sr. Regina Masters vs Sr. Magda Energetics: result 2 – 4 (at halftime 1 - 1)

Goal scorer Sr. Regina Masters:  Alexander Mulder with 2 goals.

Goal scorer Sr. Magda Energetics: Safin Basir with 4 goals. He was assisted for the first goal by Ishmael Abrams.

It was not until the second half that Sr. Magda Energetics started to dominate the game, which was partly due to the late arrival of key players.

Game 4: Category 9+U

Sr. Magda Athletics vs Charles Leopold Bell: result 6 – 4 (at halftime 3 - 1)

Top scorers Sr. Magda Athletics: Amani Vanterpool and Gianni Fer both with 3 goals and 1 assist.

Top scorer Charles Leopold Bell: Bernardo Nisbeth-Lopez with 3 goals and 1 assist.

Charles Leopold Bell started strong in the second half trying to close the gap of the first half. Charles Leopold Bell managed to come close. Sr. Magda Athletics, however, recognized the danger and regrouped. Sr. Magda Athletics scored some additional goals to secure the lead.

Game 5: Category 11+U

Leonald Connor vs Sr. Magda FC: result 3 – 4 (at halftime 1 - 1)

Top scorer Sr. Magda FC: Jamir Cuvalay with 4 goals (the last one was a penalty kick).

Goal scorers Leonald Connor: Tyrese Whyte with 2 goals and Drae Murray with 1 goal.

It was a hard and passionate game from both sides. After the first half the teams were tied and the end result could go in favor of either team throughout the second half. Just before the end of the game a penalty kick was awarded to Sr. Magda with a tied score of 3 – 3, which tipped the scales. Leonald Connor was unable to come back to tie the game after that.

Game 6: Category 11+U

Sr. Regina Goal Getters vs Learning Unlimited Goal Machines: result 3 – 4 (at halftime 1 - 2)

Goal scorers Learning Unlimited Goal Machines: Noah Ledee with 2 goals and Jan Lucas van der Plas and Oliver Hobgood both 1 goal each.

Goal scorers Sr. Regina Goal Getters: Reshawn Eustase with 2 goals and Richard Day Day with 1 goal and 1 assist.

Both teams were undefeated until today. It was a close game throughout. Learning Unlimited Goal Machines remains as the only undefeated team in the 11+Under category.

Game 7: Category 11+U

Sr. Regina United vs Dr. Martin Luther King: result 5 – 3 (at halftime 3 - 2)

Top scorer Sr. Regina United: Tomas Bouman with 3 goals.

Top scorer Dr. Martin Luther King: Malachi Serrant with 3 goals.

It was a hard fought game between two teams who gave it all looking to win a deserved game as a reward. Today it was Sr. Regina United that claimed the fruits of their perseverance by not giving up.

Game 8: Category 13+U

Leonald Connor vs SXM Schools United:  result 4 – 0 (at halftime 1 - 0)

Goal scorers Leonald Connor: Isael Medina-Bran with 2 goals; Durvane Solomon and Gamy Charles with 1 goal and 1 assist each.

Contrary to the end result, it was a tight and exciting game for the spectators to watch.

Game 9: Category 13+U

Ruby Labega vs Charles Leopold Bell: result 4 – 3 (at halftime 4 - 1)

Top scorer Ruby Labega: Ricardo Somers with 4 goals.

Goal scorers Charles Leopold Bell: Abijah Adamson with 2 goals and 1 assist and Trace Fisher with 1 goal. Paul Attyl was a useful player with 2 assists.

The game appeared to be played at halftime, however Charles Leopold Bell was inspired by Coach McKenzie to try to change things around in the second half. And to the delight of the spectators they almost succeeded!  A great game from both sides.

Game 10: Category 13+U

Genevieve de Weever vs Dr. Martin Luther King: result 7 – 5 (at halftime 5 - 1)

Top scorers Genevieve de Weever: Jamard Fleming with 3 goals and 1 assist and Ranjer Tejaolas with 2 goals and 1 assist.

Goal scorers Dr. Martin Luther King: D’Angelo Thompson with 3 goals and Kuzari Simmons with 1 goal.

A great comeback story by Dr. Martin Luther King in the second half, however Genevieve de Weever ensured to keep a minor gap in its favor.

Game 11: Category 13+U

Sr. Magda United Stars vs Oranje Combine: result 17 - 0 (at halftime 12 - 0)

Top scorers Sr. Magda United Stars: Jeremy Hooi with 7 goals and Jolian Peterson with 6 goals and 3 assists. Paul Speetjens was a useful player with 2 goals and 4 assists, as well as being the goal keeper in the second half.

Sr. Magda United Stars did not take it easy on newcomer Oranje Combine. With the eye on the price there was no place for mercy. Even though the score does not tell the tale, the Oranje Combine players made big improvements in their game especially by its goal keeper.

Games will continue on Saturday, March 28, 2015.

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