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Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association's Featured Marketing Partners Lead the Way in 2014. Port St. Maarten is one of them

PEMBROKE PINES, FL/SINT MAARTEN - The Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association's (FCCA) 2014 Featured Marketing Partners showed the significance of directly targeting FCCA's 19 Member Lines.

Refusing to rest on their laurels, these cruise destination powerhouses-Aruba; Colombia; Cozumel, Mexico; Dominican Republic; Mexico; Puerto Rico; St. Maarten (Port St. Maarten); and the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI)-embarked on custom-tailored FCCA marketing packages to further spotlight their destination to those who decide where ships call and how to invest in infrastructure.

"The FCCA is proud to offer numerous ways for destinations' private and public sectors to maximize cruise tourism's impact," said Michele Paige, president, FCCA. "Marketing with the FCCA catches the attention of the cruise lines' most influential decision makers."

"Working with the FCCA over many years has been an excellent opportunity to showcase the U.S. Virgin Islands as an accessible, cruise-friendly destination," said Beverly Nicholson-Doty, Commissioner of Tourism, U.S. Virgin Islands. "Our partnership has been mutually beneficial and effective in reaching the cruise industry's key players."

The proof of FCCA Marketing Partners' success is seen in the numbers and investments. Dominican Republic's Amber Cove will open in 2015, featuring eight Carnival ships and over 100,000 passengers between October 2015 and April 2016. Plus the other Dominican Republic ports experienced a 25 percent increase in passenger arrivals between 2012 and 2014, according to data provided by FCCA Member Lines.

The same data shows similar results for the rest of FCCA's Featured Marketing Partners. Aruba saw a 12 percent rise in passenger arrivals between 2011 and 2014; Colombia received nine percent more passengers in 2014 than in 2012; Cozumel hosted nearly 600,000 more passengers in 2014 than in 2013-a 23 percent gain; Mexican ports, excluding Cozumel, catered to more than 440,000 additional passengers in 2014 than in 2013-a 28 percent increase; more than 220,000 extra passengers experienced Puerto Rico in 2014, compared to 2012-an 18 percent difference; more than 275,000 additional passengers-an 18 percent rise-disembarked in Port St. Maarten in 2014, compared to 2013; and the USVI received 37 more vessels in 2014 than in 2013, a six percent increase, along with numerous cruise executives and Platinum Members as St. Croix hosted the FCCA PAMAC Summit and displayed its offerings-a crucial part of St. Croix's projected 37 percent passenger arrival increase for 2015, compared to 2013.

These increases of passenger and vessel calls extend far beyond the cruise pier; they impact destinations' entire economies. According to the Business Research & Economic Advisors (BREA) 2012 study, Economic Contribution of Cruise Tourism to the Destination Economies, the overall average expenditure per passenger was $95.92, which benefitted numerous industries through purchases of goods and services. Plus more ships bring more crew, with an average expenditure of $96.98, more cruise line spending and more employment revenue. 

By these numbers, a single additional call from an average ship-130,000 GRT, 1,040 feet long, carrying 3,000 passengers and 500 crewmembers-generates $287,760 in passenger spending, $48,490 in crew spending and roughly $15,000 in port fees. This ship would account for $351,250 in direct economic contribution, not including wage labor and indirect contributions.

Considering these proven returns, it becomes easy to understand why destinations market with the FCCA to invest in their cruise tourism and overall economy.

To learn how the FCCA can tailor a marketing strategy for you, please contact Adam Ceserano via e-mail (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or phone (954-441-8881).

About the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association

The FCCA is a not-for-profit trade organization composed of 19 Member Lines that operate more than 100 vessels in Caribbean and Latin American waters. Created in 1972, the FCCA provides a forum for discussion on tourism development, ports, safety, security, and other cruise industry issue and builds bilateral relationships with destinations' private and public sectors. By fostering an understanding of the cruise industry and its operating practices, the FCCA works with governments, ports and private sector representatives to maximize cruise passenger, crew and cruise line spending, as well as enhance the destination experience and increase the amount of cruise passengers returning as stay-over visitors. For more information, visit F-CCA.com, the FCCA on Facebook, and@FCCAupdates on Twitter.

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Rotary Club of Sint Maarten Hosts Seniors at Belair Community Center

BELAIR – Rotarians have been quite busy of late attending to several projects throughout the island.  A favorite of most was hosting about 150 of St. Maarten’s youth of yesteryear to an afternoon of fun, dancing, food, and of course lots of Ponche Cuba. 

The event; held at the Belair Community Center was originally to be held towards the end of last year, but was postponed due to those days of flooding that brought the island to a halt.  It was determined that in the interest of safety and to ensure that as many seniors could attend as possible, the event was held on Saturday, January 17th  and was a great day of fun and fellowship for all involved.  And what a party it was! 

Rotarians and members of the Interact Clubs hosted the event and engaged their guests with great conversation, became dance partners, and made sure that the Ponche Cuba was flowing and that all had plenty to eat. 

Seniors came alive and danced for hours to songs of their era with music being provided by Zamar Musical Productions.  “To see the joy and eagerness to get out on the dance floor to show they still have moves was amazing”, said Deepak Ramchandani, the club’s President.  “I remember one gentleman in particular in his late 80’s that had not lost a step.  He could still dance like he was in his teens” he continued to say. 

When taking a rest from the dance floor, Rotarians served their special guests to an amazing lunch.  Delicious food was prepared by Sheika’s Catering taking many special dietary guidelines into consideration.  Many comments were received in particular as to how great the food was and there was a lot of it! 

“Events like this is why I joined Rotary”, said John Caputo.  “By taking time out of your busy schedule really makes a difference to others.  It is such an amazing feeling to see how happy and vibrant people become; just by spending time and engaging them in conversation, sharing a meal with them, or even being a dance partner.”

The Rotary Clubs on Sint Maarten have always been an active supporter of the senior citizens.  From engaging them with lagoon cruises, providing much needed therapy equipment such as a recently donated Leg Press, to hosting lunches and parties like this one.  None are more rewarding than spending time with them; to hear of days gone by on St. Maarten.  Knowing how much our time means to them is really special. (Rotary Club of Sint Maarten)

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27-Year Old Female Injured during Armed Robbery at Apartment

PHILIPSBURG - On Wednesday January 21st at approximately 07.20 a.m. police was sent to the former “Royal Inn Motel” on the A. Th. Illidge road to investigate an armed robbery.

On the scene the investigating officers spoke to the 27 year old female victim who was bleeding heavily from a large wound to the left side of her head. She stated that while she was in the bathroom she heard a strange noise coming from the living room area.

When she went to see what was going on, she encountered two unknown men dressed in dark clothing and who had just forced themselves into her apartment standing in the living room.

One of the men was in the possession of a fire-arm and threatened to use it if she did not handover the cash she had in the apartment. There was a struggle in the apartment at which time the victim denied having any money and she was struck in her head with the butt of the gun.

The robbers searched the apartment and took a small amount of cash. The victim was treated on the scene. The Special Robbery Unit is investigating this case. (Police Force Sint Maarten)

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WINAIR Fuel Surcharge down February 1 and Tickets to Costs Less

SIMPSON BAY – WINAIR will be decreasing its fuel surcharges by 30% for travel after February 1, 2015.

This is due to ongoing developments on the international level, where crude oil has been experiencing price adjustments.

With the decrease in the prices of fuel WINAIR has taken this decision.

Customers will enjoy a decrease in fuel surcharges on tickets booked for travel effective February 1, 2015. (WINAIR)

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Draft 2015 National Budget to be Available Online. Budget debate to be Live Streamed from Parliament Website on Thursday

PHILIPSBURG – Members of the public, the business sector, and those residing abroad will be able to download from the Parliament website the draft 2015 national budget on Thursday. The site is currently down for reconstruction.

The Parliament website – www.sxmparliament.org – will be back online on Thursday in time for the start of the budget debate.  Residents and those residing overseas will also be able to follow the budget debate via live stream.

TheCentral Committee of Parliament will meet in public session on January 22 at 9.00am in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelmina Straat #1 in Philipsburg.

The agenda for the meeting is the draft 2015 National Budget.

Members of the public are invited to the House of Parliament to attend parliamentary deliberation.  Copies of the draft budget were distributed to the Members of Parliament on Friday, January 16.

The draft 2015 National Budget is set at Naf.445.000.000 with investments and capital goods set at Naf.111.031.451.

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 www.pearlfmradio.com

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St. Maarten Zoo says Thank YOU for Continuous Support. Walk-a-thon Planned for February 21

PHILIPSBURG- The St. Maarten Zoological & Botanical Garden Foundation has been receiving continuous support and love and would like to take this opportunity to show gratitude and thank all our of sponsors and supporters for taking us through 2014 and into 2015.

The St. Maarten Zoological & Botanical Garden is kicking off 2015 on a healthy note with a walk-a-thon on February 21st, 2015 at 5:00am sharp. The Walk-A-Thon will start in the Zoo’s parking lot, continue around the Great Salt Pond and back to the St. Maarten Zoo in Madame Estate.

Following the walk, there will be a second element to the event with a training session with Cross Fit SXM who will give basic aerobics work out to keep everyone’s blood pumping!

As the St. Maarten Zoo has always been an advocate for sustainability, we will not be printing t-shirts for the event, but rather all participants will receive a special lanyard as a token of appreciation. We are therefore kindly requesting the community to wear white T-shirts on the morning of the walk.

Tickets may be purchased for $10 at the Fun Miles office in Cay Hill, at the St. Maarten Zoo in Madame Estate, and/or from Board members whom you can contact via our Facebook page: facebook.com/StMaartenZoo. All proceeds will be going towards the upgrading and continuing renovations of the Zoo. This is a great way to start the year off in the right direction, for you and for our Zoo. (St. Maarten Zoo)

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Curacao Council of Ministers Denies Entry to Possible US Ebola Patient Currently being Monitored for Symptoms

WILLEMSTAD, Curacao – The Curacao Ministry of General Affairs announced on Monday, January 19 according to reports has denied entry to a man with Dutch nationality who may be carrying the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).

The man has been living in the United States of America.  The man is being monitored by US authorities for symptoms of EVD.

The Curacao Council of Ministers (COM) met with Epidemiologist Izzy Gerstenbluth and the Director of Risk and Disaster Management Lesley Fer regarding the situation.

The COM decision was made based on legal, technical and medical information received regarding this particular case in the interests of public health on Curacao.  

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PM Gumbs submits declarations to Council of Advice in accordance with integrity law

PHILIPSBURG - Prime Minister Marcel Gumbs has submitted to the Council of Advice the written declarations and notifications (assets/holdings, secondary positions/interests) of the new Ministers as well as those of the Ministers of the former cabinet in accordance with the National Ordinance Promotion of the Integrity of Ministers (Landsverordening Integriteitbevordering Ministers).

The declarations were submitted on Friday, January 16, three days before the legally stipulated deadline of 30 from when the Ministers were sworn in and accepted the appointment as a minister and within 30 days of the date on which the former Ministers ceases to be a Minister. The new Ministers and former Ministers, in accordance to the law, submitted their written declarations to the Prime Minister. This includes the current and former Minister Plenipotentiary.

On the heels of signing the declaration pursuant to article 53 of the National Ordinance Registration and Finances of Political Parties, the Gumbs cabinet continues to demonstrate that it is serious about complying with the law, ensuring the integrity of the administration and addressing integrity lapses identified in the Wit-Sampson integrity report.

The law on Promotion of the Integrity of Ministers aims to promote the integrity of holders of political authority by preventing undesirable secondary positions and commercial interests of Ministers and laying down additional rules to prevent unjustified enrichment.

It outlines that ministers and their partners should report all secondary positions and certain commercial interests of their own and of their partners and children to the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister will then, after receiving advice from the Council of Advice and the General Audit Chamber, assess whether certain positions are undesirable.

By signing and submitting the declaration, the Minister guarantees the reliability of the information in the declaration concerning his/her spouse or partner. The written declaration must in any event include, among other things, a detailed description of the commercial interests that they hold or manage and a detailed description of their other asset elements.

“We have stated on previous occasions that the integrity of the administration and integrity in general is a top priority for this cabinet. Government must lead by example if we want our people and our institutions (even private ones) to act accordingly and in compliance with the law. These steps demonstrate our commitment to this principle,” Prime Minister Gumbs said.

As for the National Ordinance Registration and Finances of Political Parties (Landsverordening Registratie en Financiën Politieke Partijen), this law has two objectives. The first is to promote a transparent and democratic structure of political parties. Through the proposed introduction of the association form, political parties are assigned the constitutional function in the legislation that they have long held in practice.

As a result it is possible to impose legal rules regarding political parties that can ensure that the design and functioning of these organizations, which are so important for parliamentary democracy, have a proper legal structure that is transparent for the public and is democratic. The second is the promotion of the integrity of political parties, the prevention of (the appearance of) conflicts of interest and the promotion of a balanced and clean political process. (Press Secretariat, Sint Maarten Government Council of Ministers)

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NAGICO gives workshop to police and ambulance personnel on customer service

PHILIPSBURG - On Saturday January 17th representatives from NAGICO insurances, namely Lisa Brown and Terence Dublin gave a presentation on “Customer Service” to members of the police department and ambulance departments.

NAGICO, the police department and ambulance department have been working very closely in partnership on many community projects. The workshop was quite extensive and informative covering different topics such as “Who is our customer?”, What is service?, Difference between Public and Private Sector and Why is Customer Service important.

The workshop was well attended by members of both emergency services who were quite impressed with the information that was shared with them. At the end of the workshop the participants asked many questions which were answered by the presenters.

The Acting Chief of Police Commissioner Carl John thanked the presenters for a well prepared presentation and asked them to return in the near future to give the presentation to those colleagues that could not make it to the presentation. (Police Force Sint Maarten)

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Carnival booth holder meeting on Tuesday

FESTIVAL VILLAGE, Pond Island - The St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) will host several meetings for Carnival stakeholders starting this week and continuing until the end of January.

The first of the meeting will be held this Wednesday for all booth holders for Carnival 2015. It will be held at the Philipsburg Cultural Center at6:00pm. The foundation has completed the assignment of booths for the Carnival season and will now brief the booth holders about rules, regulations, their contracts, inspections and more as it relates to the operation of their booths.

Booth holders, as is customary, will also be presented with several safety and hygiene inspection information from the Fire Department and the Health Department. Adhering to these guidelines are crucial for the operation of the booth in any given Carnival year and failure to do so affects their status with SCDF in following years.

“So it’s important that all booth holders make a serious effort to attend. We have planned two meetings for the booth holders, this first one and a second that will be held in March. We want to ensure that we are on the same page with the booth holders and that they understand their obligations and responsibilities when it comes to operating a booth,” the foundation said.

The foundation has allotted about 10 booths to new booth holders for Carnival 2015. More than 60 new booth requests were submitted for Carnival 2015. Lourens thanked everyone for their interest in being part of Carnival 2015. (SCDF)

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