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NIA offers Circus Arts Summer Camp 2017. Registration starts on Thursday

PHILIPSBURG - National Institute of Arts (NIA) is proud to announce Summer camp to 2017. This year our summer camp will be introducing the circus arts, NIA said in a press statement on Wednesday. As the main activity for children as young as 5 to 15.

NIA circus arts will feature aerial training, juggling, balancing acts, acrobatics, basic tumbling skills and many more fun activities for children and teens.

The classes will be conducted by Circus performing artists Olga Subbota and husband Alex Shilai world travelers who have chosen to make St. Maarten their home.

Already Alex and Olga have been impacting the St. Maarten entertainment industry with their new brand of artistry by coaching St. Maarten youth in the Carnival queen show arena and performing on the road during the grand parade.

Registration for NIA circus camp begins Friday Thursday June 29 at NIA located at the John Larmonie Center from 10 am until 5pm.  Circus camp begins Wednesday July 5 and continue to August 4 and will take place at the Asha Stevens Campus Christian Hillside School on Cay Hill for more information please contact NIA 1-721-543-0600 or Olga 1-721-587-1476.you can also email NIA This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The classes are available to children as young 5 to teens of 15 years of age. Circus Arts is a relatively new addition to the performance arts industry offering much learning and physical training in fun and safe environment.

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Thousands Enjoy Unique Bird Experiences on St. Martin and Throughout the Caribbean

GRAND CASE, St. Martin - Thousands of people throughout the region had fun experiences with birds and nature over the past month during the Caribbean Endemic Bird Festival.

Dozens of festival events took place on different islands to celebrate the birds that live only here. St. Martin’s events included the Endemic Animal Festival, hosted by Les Fruits de Mer and Earth Day festivities hosted by Environmental Protection in the Caribbean.

Activities were held for pre-school and primary students to adults and families. Bird talks were held on many islands to help people understand the unique birds that live only on specific islands or only in the region. Guided bird walks brought people of all ages out into nature to see these amazing birds firsthand. For many, it was their first chance to get an up-close view of birds through binoculars or a scope.

Other activities were as diverse as the region itself. In the Dominican Republic, Ridgway’s Hawk Day celebrated the endangered Ridgway’s Hawk, that lives only on Hispaniola.

In Trinidad, bird education was brought to the streets with bird education stand at a local market. In Puerto Rico, a special training workshop gave teachers learning tools about birds to use in classes year-round. On St. Martin, festival attendees planted coconut trees and painted bird feeders.

The Caribbean Endemic Bird Festival is one of the Caribbean’s only regional events about birds and nature. It is organized by BirdsCaribbean each spring, and dozens of non-profits, schools, parks and other organizations develop events in their communities.

Endemic birds—those that live only on one island or within a small range—are at special risk of extinction. The Caribbean is home to many endemic species, and many are already in danger.

For more information about the Caribbean Endemic Bird Festival, visit birdscaribbean.org or find BirdsCaribbean on Facebook.

PHOTO CUTLINE: Games make it fun to learn about birds in Puerto Rico. (Photo by Eliezer Nieves)Games Puerto Rico inside one

PHOTO CUTLINE: A birding trip to Jobos Bay Reserve in Puerto Rico.

Birding inside two

PHOTO CUTLINE: Students go birding in Dominica. (Photo by Stephen Durand)

Birding Dominica inside three

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IP IMPACT was a huge success! More than 20 entrepreneurs complete intellectual property business clinic

GREAT BAY - On June 22 & 23, more than twenty entrepreneurs completed the two (2) day intellectual property business clinic, IP IMPACT held on June 22 & 23 at Holland House Beach Hotel, the facility partner.

Within three (3) days of announcing IP IMPACT, the business clinic reached its capacity and a waiting list was created. Attendees included both start-ups and established businesses as well as teachers and creative entrepreneurs. The number of responses shows a high interest in the related topic.

The facilitator, Ms. Kayanne Anderson, the premier specialist on intellectual property in the region, is also a lawyer, and founder of IP Exchange Caribbean. Ms. Anderson emphasized the various intellectual property assets that exist and how to leverage these assets to grow and scale businesses.

The focus of the IP IMPACT was not only on how to register intellectual property but also on understanding the economic benefits of adequately incorporating intellectual property into one’s business.

The discussion included valuation of intellectual property as an (financial) asset, as well as having an IP strategy. The interactive sessions included conducting trademark and patent searches, as well as group exercises. Office World supplied INFOBIZZ with prizes such as phones for these sessions.

IP IMPACT could not have been possible without COSME. This organization is focused on strengthening small, medium enterprises in the overseas countries and territories in the Caribbean. The EU Commission has made funding available to further this aim. Foundation INFOBIZZ hosted IP IMPACT through this program.

Other key partners include the Bureau for Intellectual Property of Sint Maarten (BIP) and the Department of Economic Affairs, Transportation, and Telecommunications (ETT). As the legal body incorporated, for the administration of trademarks, and providing information on all procedural aspects related to the registration of trademarks and other intellectual property rights, the Bureau for Intellectual Property of Sint Maarten partnered with INFOBIZZ for the IP IMPACT.

ETT is focused on improving the economic landscape by better supporting the small medium enterprises through capacity building workshops and providing critical information.

Foundation INFOBIZZ has successfully hosted the IP IMPACT and is now diligently working towards the annual international business development experience, DOMINATE 360 which will be held on November 2-4, 2017 in Sint Maarten. 

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Ambulance Department acquires a new Zumro 600 rapid mobile emergency shelter

CAY HILL - The Ambulance Department of Ministry Public Health, Social Development & Labor received a new Zumro 600 rapid mobile emergency shelter just in time for HUREX 2017 drill.

The ZUMRO shelters are used by numerous Disaster Management Teams across the USA including Europe for Urban Search & Rescue Task Force.

This multi-purpose usage system is an ideal rapid mobile shelter that provides rapid deployment that would create an environment in times of disasters that is conducive to advance medical treatment in the field of Emergency Medical Services. Minister Emil Lee was present to get a first-hand demonstration of the capabilities of this shelter and how quickly this shelter can be deployed from Hazmed representative who present.

The ZUMRO frame design can be deployed from one inflation point by one person, if necessary and the shelter deployment is rapid, virtually automatic and hands-free. It can be deployed at a rate of 100 square feet per minute or faster, depending upon which inflation method is used.

“It’s amazing to see how quickly this shelter can be erected within a timeframe of approximately 4 minutes. It is truly an added asset to the Ambulance Department in the area of Disaster Management given the department’s key role in the initiation of emergency medical response in disaster situations”, said Minister Lee.

Ambulance Department Head Mr. Cylred Richardson says that this project has been long in the making and that he is pleased that we were able to reach this goal.

Furthermore, besides proper preparedness to provide adequate emergency response and management at a disaster scene and post natural disaster e.g. following hurricanes this mobile shelter system can also be used at various small and large-scale events on the island as a medical command post. This is yet another positive achievement in the further professionalizing of the Ambulance Department on St. Maarten.

HAZMED representative Hay Geurts says that this emergency shelter can resist strong force winds. The material is made of special heat reflecting fiber. Most importantly, is that the tent can be erected in 4 to 5 minutes by one person. It is easily inflated by an air blower unit or air bottle from the Fire Department.

Zumro 600 Shelter sideview inside

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WYCCF AND SZV FORMALIZE AVBZ CARE CONTRACT

ST. JOHN’S ESTATE - On Friday June 16th, 2017 the White and Yellow Cross Care Foundation (WYCCF) and Social & Health Insurances SZV signed a two-year AVBZ care contract for the years of 2017 and 2018. The contract will sustain the offering of several care products of the WYCCF to the residents of Sint Maarten.

SZV manages the AVBZ fund, which is a solidarity fund that started in 1996 and is funded by a premium paid by both employers and employees. The fund covers care for those that are chronically ill or disabled, both physically and intellectually.

SZV negotiates care contracts with care providers that cater to clients in need of chronic care. Examples of AVBZ covered care are; admission into the nursing home, use of the WYCCF psychogeriatric daycare, all three departments of the Sister Basilia Center and Home Nursing care for those that continue to reside in their own home.

The new 2-year contract is unique as for the first time it includes an education and training budget. This will enable the WYCCF to continuously educate and upgrade their teams to deliver the highest quality care possible. With its slogan of Trusted CARE, the WYCCF aims to deliver care that is Client centered, Attentive, Respectful and given with Empathy.

In 2018 the nursing home of the WYCCF will expand from 44 to 55 beds, the Basilia Center Daycare will grow from 45 to 65 clients and the first Hospice on the island will open in the Sint Martin’s Home. The expansions in the capacity of several AVBZ care products are included in the newly signed care agreement and this enables the WYCCF to address their ever growing waiting lists.

Both organizations expressed gratitude to each other for securing an agreement that will cater to the many needs of their clients. Commitment to quality care that is safe and accessible is a shared goal and the newly signed AVBZ care agreement is an important step towards that goal.

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Sint Maarten paving the way to address abuse

GREAT BAY (DCOMM) – Monday, June 26 marks International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. It is also an international recognized day in support of Victims of Torture.

According to the UN (United Nations), nearly 200 million people are using illicit drugs such as cocaine, cannabis, hallucinogens, opiates and sedative hypnotics worldwide.

In December 1987 the UN General Assembly decided to observe June 26 as the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. The UN was determined to help create an international society free of drug abuse. 

This day is supported by individuals, communities and various organizations all over the world. While the UN General Assembly adopted a political declaration to address and fight against this global drug problem, Sint Maarten is paving its way also to address this problem, as part of the SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) 16, on Peace, Justice and strong Institutions, from a local perspective.

Research against Violence and Abuse, was conducted by UNICEF in 2012 entitled, “The Situation of Children and Adolescents in Sint Maarten.”

The report stated that a contributing factor of students dropping out of school not only relates to students with behavioral problems, but also those who use drugs and are physically violent with other students.

A child protection system has been set up which includes a six step protocol on detection and intervention in cases that a child has been abused, neglected, mistreated or if there has been some kind of violence.

Relational violence, also referred to as “domestic violence” has to do with physical and/or sexual violence. This violence does not only affect adolescents, but also children, and is generally invisible and not reported.

Besides, women and children, it also affects men, parents and the elderly. In 2010, directives were put in place which identified children as victims when they were witness to relational violence.

As of January 2014, a change came in the Civil Code, BWI article 243 where the Court of Guardianship was appointed as the Central Reporting Center on Child Abuse. 

The tasks of the Court of Guardianship entails the following: Registering the abuse; investigating the safety of the child; advise the individuals and or entities by reporting or intervening in the child abuse cases:

1.       Execute the intervention measures. These are either:

(a)      Warning

(b)     Removing from parental custody. This is done after permission from the Public Prosecutor or Judge.

2.       Press charges against the perpetrator. This is done in the event the legal guardian does not do it.

The following figures are related to child abuse over a three-year period.

Types of Abuse       2014  2015  2016

Neglect abuse         14      61     67

Physical abuse        14      13     22

Psychological/

emotional abuse     2       1        5

Sexual abuse          19      8       6

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Nature Foundation Manager Returns from Ocean Conservation Leadership Exchange

COLE BAY - Managing Director of the Sint Maarten Nature Foundation Tadzio Bervoets Recently Returned from the prestigious IVLP Program, a three-week International Visitor Leadership Exchange Program cantered on Ocean Conservation and Sustainable Use and Management of Marine Resources.

The IVLP program is the United States State Department’s Premier Leadership Program designed to expose international Leaders in their field to the work done by their American Counterparts. Participants cannot apply to the program and Bervoets was nominated by the Consul General of the United States to the Dutch Caribbean the Honourable Margaret Hawthorne based on his work in the region.

The theme of the exchange was centred on the sustainable use and management of Ocean Resources and numerous meetings and information exchanges were held with various Governmental, Non-Governmental, and Industry partners all cantered on Marine Conservation and the Blue Economy.

Information Exchanges were held with the United States State Department, the Ocean Conservancy, the Department of the Interior, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, the Woods Hole Oceanography Institute, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Atmospheric and Oceanographic Administration, the Hart Research Institute, the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and various other organizations and institutions in the United States.

“It was truly an honour to have been nominated by the Consul General and to have been accepted by the State Department to exchange and discuss cooperation on Marine Conservation opportunities for Sint Maarten and the wider Caribbean Region,” commented Bervoets.

“In traveling and meeting with various organizations and institutions in Washington D.C; San Diego, California; Corpus Christi, Texas; and Plymouth and Boston, Massachusetts we are now planning close collaboration and support for various conservation initiatives through the Nature Foundation and by extension the island and the region,” concluded Bervoets.

The various meetings also gave the opportunity to highlight some of the work the Nature Foundation and the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance have been doing with regards to marine conservation on the island and in the Dutch Caribbean, including the management of the Marine Park, the solid waste issues of the Philipsburg Landfill, the conservation of sharks, coral restoration initiatives and seagrass and wetland monitoring.

Bervoets was the only Caribbean Representative amongst conservation leaders from Japan, Spain, Nigeria, Vietnam, Thailand, Sierra Leone, China, Peru, Argentina, Mexico, Jordan, Tunisia, Egypt and the Philippines.

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Governor’s Symposium Address: Cornerstones for our 21st Century ICT Agenda – GOS 21.0 An Urgent Imperative

PHILIPSBURG – His Excellency Governor of Sint Maarten drs. Eugene B. Holiday delivered the following address at the 6th Annual Governor’s Symposium 2017, “ICT GOVERNANCE SHAPING OUR FUTURE.”

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good Morning,

It is with great pleasure that I bid you welcome to the sixth annual Governor’s Symposium. I hereby, also on behalf of Marie-Louise, extend a special welcome to my Colleagues the Governor of Aruba, Mr. Alfonso Boekhoudt and the Governor of Curacao Mrs. Lucille George-Wout as well as to Her Husband Mr. Herman George. It is good to have you here participating in this Governor’s Symposium.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am very pleased to see so many persons from a broad cross section of our community in attendance.

The goal of this sixth annual Governor’s Symposium is to increase awareness of the importance, and of the risks involved in, ICT. My intention is to contribute to the further development of an ICT-governance agenda towards the shaping of our nation’s future. At this symposium regional and national speakers and panelist will speak and interact with you on developments in ICT with a focus on infrastructure, innovations, threats, security and governance each from their own perspective. It is my hope that you will have an enjoyable and fruitful symposium.

I believe that this topic is important because of the potential of ICT actions today to affect and/or spur national growth tomorrow. The potential of ICT is embedded in the fact that increasingly ICT is everywhere, influencing everyone and everything and at the same time highly vulnerable. To put this into perspective it should be noted that it is not that long ago that ICT’s role in our life was hardly noticeable. I say this based on the following highlights in my personal experiences with ICT:

a) In 1982, during my first year in university, I used a computer for the first time, it was a cumbersome main frame computer; 

b) In 1987 I started working and used my first desktop computer. A quick glance shows us how different these devices were compared to today’s computer devices;

c) In 1994 I used my first mobile phone, which is a world removed from today’s mobile phone;  and

d) In 1997 I opened my first email account on my desktop computer.

e) Fast forward to today, I have multiple online accounts – an amazon account, a Netflix account, a Facebook account, to name a few, all connected to my mobile devices.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Over a span of 35 years, and primarily during the last 20 years, ICT has in effect transformed and continues to transform our lives. As I said, ICT is increasingly everywhere and influencing everyone and everything:

a) there are people who practically live online1;

b) our mobile phones have evolved into computers on the go.

c) our vehicles are increasingly computers on wheels;

d) our medical devices are software driven computers; and

e) these and other devices are becoming increasingly interconnected via the internet.

It is estimated that by 2020, 4 billion people will be connected, using more than 25 million applications, transmitting in excess of 50 trillion gigabytes of data, representing 4 trillion US dollars’ worth of business. In short the transition to the “Internet of Things” where everyone and everything will be interconnected, is upon us and we cannot afford to fall behind.

Our 21st century digital reality, has changed the way we interact and behave and, with that, our expectations. There is as a result a need for a National ICT Governance Agenda: GOS 21.0; which stands for 21st century Governance Operating System. GOS 21.0 is necessary to navigate the digital world we live in, to ensure a more effective management of our socio-economic development.

Considering the bandwidth allotted to me to communicate my message I shall, touch briefly on what I view as four cornerstones of the GOS 21.0 agenda.

First, the success of our GOS 21.0 agenda will depend on the establishment of a national governance structure, as an integral part of the agenda, anchored in legislation. Core elements of which should include a Chief Information Officer in government and a coordination mechanism with broad-based public – private participation to develop and oversee the implementation of the agenda. 

Second, to leverage the opportunities of ICT, it is imperative that mandatory ICT education is established as a focal point of the GOS 21.0 agenda. This to ensure that we, in addition to being consumers, become producers of ICT services. The need for this is to ensure that Sint Maarten become a “smart society” catering to the needs of our population and the visitors that drive our economy.  

Third, the digital society has changed the way we interact and behave and, with that, our expectations. As a tourist economy our ICT infrastructure must meet the same standards as our main tourist markets. This to ensure that we meet travelers’ expectations, anytime, anywhere and in real time. Access and the speed of transmission of data and information over the internet are key to this new, interconnected world. The growth of our tourism economy and thus our livelihood depends on it. GOS 21.0 therefore calls for a sound ICT Infrastructure Plan. Such a plan should facilitate continued upgrades and expansion, of for example our fiber optic network, to meet residents and tourists demand for high-speed broadband and wireless access.

And fourth, the numerous media reports, ranging from the hacking of bank accounts, to the disruption of elections or ransomware attacks on our government systems, underscore the need to protect our systems and data. As a result cybersecurity – in terms of awareness, preparedness, and response programs – must be one of the cornerstones of our GOS 21.0 agenda. 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Former president Barack Obama in speaking about the importance of ICT stated and I quote: “The Internet is not a luxury, it is a necessity”. Unquote. It is therefore, in my opinion, an ongoing and urgent imperative to invest in an affordable, reliable and safe ICT infrastructure to power our community in the digital age.

Ladies and gentlemen,

By heeding this urgent imperative in a concerted public-private effort to develop and implement our GOS 21.0 Agenda we stand to participate and benefit in the vast educational, health care and socio-economic opportunities of the digital era.

On the flip side, we run the risk of being hacked and becoming disconnected from the rest of the world only to be plunged into cyber darkness.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I hereby, emphasizing the imperative of an ICT Governance agenda GOS 21.0 to shape our future, declare this symposium OPEN.

I experienced the evolution of our society into a more digital society. A society where we chat-on online, make friends online, bank online, shop online, study online, source our information online and store our data online in the cloud.

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Students take part in sports day activities organized by Police Cadets

CAY HILL - Police cadets presently undergoing the police training are doing exams in the subject “Organizing of events and Traffic Controls.” This module consists of a theoretical and a practical part and is scored by the instructors from the academy.

As part of the theoretical training the cadets chose to organize a sports day for primary school students. The sports day was organized involving approximately 40 students from the Sint Joseph Primary School.  

On Thursday June 22nd, the students were taken by bus to the Raoul Illidge Sports Complex to take part in the sports day.  At the sports, complex teams were formed among the students who competed against each other in several sports events.

All students actively competed in the events and had a fun filled day.  Refreshments and pizza from Domino’s were served after the events. Even the police cadets joined in and took part in the events.

The event was a complete success. (Police Force of Sint Maarten)

st. joseph 14 inside one

st. joseph 12 inside two

st. jospeh 10 inside three

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Local reps attending 42nd Annual Caribbean Studies Association Conference

SINT MAARTEN/THE BAHAMAS - The 42nd Annual Caribbean Studies Association (CSA) Annual Conference themed “Culture and Knowledge Economies: The Future of Caribbean Development?” was held at the Meliã Nassau Beach Resort in Nassau, Bahamas on June 5-10, 2017.

Department of Culture Policy Officer Sharine Allamby was amongst the 300 attendees and other St. Maarten representatives including Mrs. Okama Brook, Program Chair of the CSA’s Executive Council and academics Dr. Francio Guadeloupe and Dean Geneve Philips of the University of St. Martin (USM).

The main aim of this annual conference was for key players to examine opportunities and challenges facing the Caribbean, regionally and globally. Multi-disciplinary work was shared through plenary sessions and panel discussions, presentations, published journals, books, thesis papers and dissertations.

Informative sessions included “Building a Nation: Institutional Practices in the Dutch Caribbean” and a presentation was given on ‘Restricted Media Landscapes of Curaçao and St. Maarten’, by Ph.D. Candidate Sanne Rotmeijer of Leiden University. Geneve Philips-Durham presented on ‘Approaches to Governance in St. Maarten, Curaçao and Trinidad and Tobago.’

Other sessions highlighted ‘Creative and Cultural Industries: Challenges and Opportunities’, ‘Culture and Development Policy: Regional Perspectives’, ‘Constitutional Reform in the Contemporary Caribbean’, ‘Caribbean in/securities and the creative imagination and ‘The Politics of Development and Challenges in Participatory Public Policy Making’.

During the opening ceremony, the Bahamas Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Honorable Michael Pintard gave a superb keynote address and a local ‘Junkanoo’ performance took place. In addition, participants were treated to a myriad of cultural activities including a tribute to the late Caribbean Poet and Nobel laureate Derek Walcott and a stage play ‘Honorable Member’ by Bahamian Playwright Ian Strachan.

Bahamian heritage and culture tours were arranged throughout the week and the closing banquet and award ceremony recognized executives and members’ achievements and contributions. “CSA enables the most esteemed cultural/creative professionals and scholars throughout the Caribbean and within the diaspora to interact, exchange and acquire ideas, information and research.

Overall, this was a knowledge enhancing experience and more policymakers from across the Caribbean Region should take advantage of this conference and provide public policy paradigms and perspectives from our respective countries” Allamby stated. 

CSA’s President Dr. Woolward cited “the continuing absence of both national and regional policy frameworks where culture, heritage and creative industries are acknowledged as critical enablers and drivers of sustainable development.” The Department of Culture recognizes this trend and is actively seeking ways to increase capacity-building, perform more in- depth policy research and analysis and develop viable models that target the cultural sector and creative economy of St. Maarten.

As the Honorable Minister of ECYS Silveria Jacobs continues to support the Department of Culture , we will launch a cultural portal website, pursue the Cultural Mapping of St. Maarten Project, produce a National ICH Inventory and participate in the upcoming International Conference on Small Island States (SIS) and Sub-National Island Jurisdictions (SNIJ’s) hosted by the USM and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). For further information on the CSA Conference kindly contact us via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  

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