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Digi Summer Time Camp 2017: Now Open for Registration

PHILIPSBURG - Foresee Foundation’s program “DigiWorkz” in collaboration with the Philipsburg Jubilee Library, For the Win and DWorkshopsxm is proud to announce their second annual summer technical program “DigiSummer Time Summer Camp 2017.”

Children attending the various primary schools and high schools on the island ages 11- 18 will have the opportunity in experiencing skills in computing, designing and gaming from July 3rd – 15th, 2017.

The Summer Camp will be held in the Media Lab at the Philipsburg Jubilee Library from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm. The cost is US$75 per person for one week. This includes lunch and materials. 24 Students will attend the camp each week.

In addition to the spaces given to each school there are 5 open slots for general admission, any interested student within the age range can apply directly to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. stating why they should be selected to participate in this camp. Word limit is 100 words.

In this camp, students will have the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of 3D modeling, lighting and animation. Create game levels using 3D real time, Photoshop, Arduino, little bits and more.

This summer camp will also include an excursion to one of our local Telecom providers to give the students an exciting in depth look to how this technology works in practice on a day to day basis.

Space is limited, Registration commence today, and deadline is June 16th, 2017.

For further information please feel free to contact Digi Summer Time camp coordinator Janushka Mukhi at 523-4161, e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Customs confiscates 336 kilos marijuana and one kilo of cocaine

POINT BLANCHE - During the past week Customs Officers confiscated approximately 336 kilos of marijuana and one kilo of cocaine.

On May 17th Custom Officers at the Princess Juliana International airport confiscated one kilo of cocaine from a male passenger with initials J.E.M. who arrived on the Insel Air flight from Curacao.

The suspect had swallowed 83 "bolitas" which was proven from X-ray pictures taken at the St. Maarten Medical Center. The suspect was brought to the station to discharge the "bolitas." Investigations in this matter are ongoing.

On May 13th Customs Officers at the Point Blanche Harbor facilities along with the Coast Guard and the Justice K9 confiscated 101 packages of marijuana hidden in banana slips from a vessel originating from St. Vincent. This shipment of marijuana with a total weight of approximately 36 kilos was destined for Tortola.

On May 22nd during a routine controlCustoms Officers at the Point Blanche Harbor Facilities confiscated 15 boxes of marijuana from a container vessel originating from Jamaica, in transit to Antigua.

The assistance of the Justice K-9 was called in to confirm that no more contraband was hidden in other areas of the container. The total amount of this seizure was approximately 300 kilos.

Customs will continue to intensify controls at the Princess Juliana International Airport and the Point Blanche Harbor facilities.

customs inside one

customs inside two

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M.A.C. AND ALINE HANSON SCHOOL TO REENACT THE FRIENDLY RACE ON MAY 31

PHILIPSBURG - To observe the anniversary of the partition of the island of St. Maarten /St. Martin, the students of the M.A.C. Browlia Maillard Campus, and the Aline Hanson School in Sandy Ground will participate for the second year in a friendly running race to reenact aspects of the legend or myth of how the island was divided.

The activity will be held on Wednesday, May 31, 2017, from 8:30 am – 12:00 pm. More than 150 students from both the northern and southern side of the island will be participating in the relay race.

The primary goals of the race is to promote cooperation between education institutions on both sides of the island; to develop cooperation based on our common history, to create student ambassadors of peace and friendship to promote UNESCO’s international values; to strengthen students’ sense of belonging to a “Friendly Island”; to inspire social cohesion by uniting citizens from various backgrounds; and to promote a healthy living style through engaging in sport activities.

The idea of the friendly race originated with Ms. Aline Dermaux, a teacher at the Aline Hanson school.  Ms. Dermaux made contact with Marcellia Henry, Secretary General of the National Commission for UNESCO to share the idea in order to make it a reality.  Ms. Henry, thereafter contacted Principal Davis of the M.A.C. Browlia Maillard Campus, who welcomed this wonderful initiative.

The Aline Hanson School, which is known as ‘The Friendly School’ is a UNESCO Associate School, and is part of the network of schools throughout the world committed to the ideals of UNESCO, by conducting pilot projects in favour of better preparing children and strengthening the role of education of education in promoting a culture of peace and tolerance.  The intention is to also establish at least two UNESCO Associate School on the southern side of the island.

The route of the friendly race for the students of the M.A.C. Browlia Maillard Campus is from the frontier in Lowlands on the Dutch side: Mullet bay -->Maho -->Airport road -->Welfare road --> Union Road --> Cole Bay Border Frontier.

The route for the students of the Aline Hanson School is from the frontier in Lowlands on the French side: Terres Basses --> Baie Nettlé--> Sandy Ground --> Marigot -->  Low Town --> Bellevue.

There will be 16 legs or handing off areas where the baton, which will be the flag of St. Maarten and St. Martin, will be passed from one captain to another. The children will run in groups of 5 or more.  

After the race, both teams from the southern and northern side of the island will meet at the Culture Center in Sandy Ground where they will exchange tokens / gifts made by the students from both schools.  Congratulatory speeches will also be given by dignitaries and government officials. 

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SMCP LEADER SMITH: IS PARLIAMENT SERIOUS ABOUT INDEPENDENCE?

PHILIPSBURG - Last week Wednesday, the Central Committee of Parliament, once again, invited the Independence for St. Martin Foundation (ISMF) to give a presentation regarding holding a referendum to determine whether the people of Sint Maarten desire to become independent or not.

“This is the fourth time that the ISMF was in parliament presenting its case. The first presentation was held in March 2016. Hereafter, the Central Committee reconvened, in September 2016, to give the ISMF the opportunity to answer questions that the MPs had posed in the first round in March,” Leader of the Sint Maarten Christian Party (SMCP) said on Tuesday.

“The Chairlady of the Central Committee then advised ISMF to submit a petition, requesting Parliament to convene a consultative referendum at the earliest possible date. In January 2017, the ISMF submitted said petition which was debated in March 2017 during a meeting of the Parliamentary Committee of Petitions. After deliberating whether the petition met the necessary criteria, the Committee of Petitions eventually decided to send the petition to the Central Committee of Parliament for further handling.

“In her role as Chairperson of the Central Committee and as a member of the Committee of Petitions, MP Sarah Wescot-Williams, made it very clear that to be able to convene a referendum, Parliament must approve a national ordinance regulating referenda. She mentioned that, there are only two ways by which such a national ordinance can be presented to Parliament. Either, it is initiated by one or more Members of Parliament, or it is proposed by government to Parliament.

“Prior to last week’s meeting with the ISMF, Members of Parliament had three occasions to deliberate the matter of holding a referendum. Hence, one would have expected that, when the Central Committee met last Wednesday, Members of Parliament would have been able to discuss and deliberate strategically on the way forward as far as holding a referendum is concerned. After all, the Central Committee should be the body that gathers pertinent information and then submits its recommendations to Parliament, so that the necessary preparations can be made for a public meeting of parliament where binding decisions are taken.

“The ISMF’s petition was simply requesting parliament to hold a consultative referendum within this term of office, thus, no later than 2020. However, instead of dealing with the topic at hand, our honorable MPs, once again, felt the need to deviate from the subject and to grandstand and give lip service to the topic of independence.

“They should have known by now, that, for a referendum to be convened, the first thing that must happen is the drafting of a national ordinance. The draft then will need to be reviewed by the Council of Advice, before it can be presented to parliament for approval. The only way for the draft national ordinance to get to parliament is if the government prepares such a draft or if one or more parliamentarians take the responsibility to have the ordinance drafted.

“In the Central Committee, members of parliament are expected not only to grandstand and to give lip service but also to ask pertinent and critical questions. Questions such as: will parliament initiate the draft ordinance or will parliament pass a motion charging the government with the drafting of the national ordinance? What about an awareness-campaign to enlighten the people about the pros and cons and what independence would mean for Sint Maarten, so that they can make an informed and intelligent choice?

“How much will such a campaign cost? How much will the referendum cost? Is their money on the 2017 budget to cover the cost of the awareness campaign? Will Parliament allocate money on the upcoming budgets for the campaign and for the referendum? Do we need a referendum steering committee? What role will the ISMF play in the preparations leading up to the referendum? What is the target date for the referendum? What is the anticipated trajectory leading up to the referendum?

“These are the issues, questions and concerns that I expected our parliamentarians to discuss during this meeting with the ISMF. Instead, Members of Parliament strayed from the topic of the referendum and repeated what they had already said about independence. Only MP drs. Rodolphe Samuel came close to raising the critical questions.

“Are our Members of Parliament serious about holding a referendum or about Sint Maarten becoming an independent country? I do not think so for the following reasons: The first meeting between the Central Committee of Parliament and the ISMF was held in March 2016 yet the parties of the MPs, who now boast about being long time ardent advocates and supporters of independence, did not include the topics of referendum or independence in their 2016 manifestos.

“The very comprehensive 2016-2020 governing program “Stability for Prosperity” of the current Red, White and Blue coalition is also totally silent on the issues of referendum and independence. During the 2017 budget debate, not one Member of Parliament requested that funds be allocated towards a referendum awareness-campaign or a nation-building campaign or for the planning and organizing of a referendum.

“Furthermore, during the meetings in the Central Committee with the ISMF not one MP volunteered to accept the responsibility to initiate the required draft national ordinance that would lead to parliament eventually approving the convening of a referendum. Consequently, SMCP concludes that Parliament is not really serious about Sint Maarten convening a referendum or becoming an independent country in the near future,” Wycliffe Smith,

Leader of the Sint Maarten Christian Party said on Tuesday.

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TelEm Group offices closed Thursday and Friday

POND ISLAND - TelEm Group would like to inform the general public of its office closing hours for the Ascension Day holiday.

In keeping with observance of the day, all TelEm Group offices, with the exception of TelCell’s Harbor location, will be closed on Thursday, May 25th and also on Friday, May 26th, 2017.

The company’s Grand Marche location will re-open for business on Saturday, May 27th from 8:00 am until 4:00 pm with all other locations opening at regular business hours on Monday, May 29th, 2017.

TelEm Group meantime takes this opportunity to wish the general public and customers a safe and enjoyable and reflective Ascension Day holiday.

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Chamber of Commerce & Industry welcomes newest board member Benjamin Ortega

PHILIPSBURG - The St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce (COCI) on Monday welcomed its newest board member Benjamin Ortega.  On Monday was pinned with the COCI pin by Vice President A. Baker.

COCI is a non-profit organization which represents a wide cross-section of private sector businesses on St. Maarten.

According to the COCI website, the organization has a membership base of more than 17000 registered companies from various industries including tourism, which as St. Maarten’ only industry accounts for 95% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

COCI also represents banking and finance, retail, construction and light manufacturing.

“As the primary advocacy group for the private sector, we work in tandem with our valuable members in the business community, the Government of St. Maarten along with various Non-Government Organizations (NGO’s) on ways to further improve private enterprise, in order to ensure a vibrant and stable economy for more than 100,000 Residents, thousands of local business owners and international investors as well as the 2 million plus visitors who annually travel to our warm tropical paradise.

“As we approach the modern and futuristic Chamber of Commerce, we are aggressively working to support our members and the business community at large. We are at the forefront of various issues, which affect our members and hold business and educational seminars and expos in conjunction with our partners in the community.

“In addition, we serve as a lobbying group and address the varied concerns of our members through various dialogue and exchanges with government officials and various organizations,” the COCI website states.

PHOTO CUTLINE: Mr. B. Ortega (Board Member) is being pinned by Vice-President Mr. A. Baker.

chamber pin Ortega

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NV GEBE addresses Sunday power outages. Generator shuts down due to high temperature

PHILIPSBURG - In a press release from NV GEBE on Sunday, it was stated that on May 21, at around 12:23pm, parts of the island experienced an interruption in power.

The Engineers at the Power Plant in Cay Bay responded immediately and upon investigation established that one of the engines tripped because of a high temperature which also caused one of the larger engines to lose its load at the time causing the outage, the company press release stated.

Restoration started taking place immediately and power was periodically restored to the affected areas.  By 1:41pm the last cable was reenergized to customers.

NV GEBE apologizes for the interruption and any inconvenience this may have caused.  Work is being carried out on the unit that tripped to have it back in operation as soon as possible.  In the interim the units that are on standby are in operation to ensure power remains supplied to customers.  

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Indications continue to rise that 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season will be more active

SINT MAARTEN/CARIBBEAN - Latest indications continue to point to the potential that the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season may be more active across the central and eastern Atlantic than what we previously thought back in early April, Crown Weather reported.

“The big reason for this forecast of a more active season is due to the fact that a El Nino may never really form this summer or autumn and if it does, it may end up being quite weak. In addition, the ocean water temperatures across the Tropical Atlantic have warmed quite a bit over the past month.

“The combination of these two factors plus other indications point to the potential for an average number of named storms with the Lesser Antilles, the eastern Caribbean, the Bahamas and the US East Coast at risk from at least 1 tropical storm or hurricane.

“In addition, I continue to believe that we will see the formation of at least a tropical storm in the western Atlantic during the month of June. The area I think has the highest probability of formation is around the Bahamas, the western Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico.

“The Numbers: 12 named storms, 7 of those storms becoming hurricanes and 3 of those hurricanes becoming major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson scale).

“Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) Index Forecast: I am forecasting an ACE index this year of 100. This number basically says that I expect that overall activity in the Atlantic may be around average.

“ENSO Forecast: All of the ENSO model guidance, including the European, CFS and JAMSTEC models, have trended away from an El Nino developing this year and instead are forecasting either a neutral ENSO or weak El Nino conditions. The latest analysis indicates that the earlier El Nino conditions that seemed to be forming over the Pacific has stopped. Instead the ocean water temperatures over both the eastern and central Pacific have cooled this month which indicates that any El Nino that may form is now on hold.

“As I mentioned back in early April, it would be unusual for a El Nino to develop this year because we just came off of a relatively strong El Nino back in 2015 and it's quite unusual to see a new El Nino develop just 2 years later. So, the fact that the ENSO model guidance is backing away from forecasting an El Nino does not surprise me.

Bottom line is that I could foresee a scenario that consists of a much more delayed onset of El Nino conditions until at least the September to November time frame.

“Sea Surface Temperatures:Sea surface temperatures across the eastern and central Atlantic have warmed considerably over the last month or so and in fact is the warmest since 2010. This means that the eastern and central Atlantic between the Lesser Antilles and the coast of Africa could be more active than what was previously thought.

“Further west, the ocean water temperatures across the Caribbean and the western Atlantic continue to be above average. With that said, the ocean water temperatures over areas above 30 North Latitude is not as warm as they have been in previous years and this could be a sign that the deep tropics could be more active than it has been in previous years.

“European Model Seasonal Forecast:The latest European model is forecasting an average hurricane season in terms of numbers. In addition, the latest European model guidance is forecasting a weak to perhaps a moderate El Nino and warm ocean water temperatures across the Atlantic Basin.

“The forecast barometric pressure map from the European model is forecasting higher than average pressures across the far north Atlantic and a trend towards lowering pressures from the Caribbean through the deep tropics.

“The forecast rainfall map from the European model seems to hint at above average rainfall from the Lesser Antilles eastward to just west of the Cape Verde Islands. In addition, the European model is forecasting above average rainfall across parts of the eastern United States. This makes me think that the Lesser Antilles, the Bahamas and the US East Coast could be at risk this year from a tropical storm or hurricane.”

hurrseas insideRisk Areas:

“The Northeast and Eastern Gulf Coastis an area of significant concern for a tropical storm or hurricane landfall. The latest European model is pointing towards the possibility of tropical systems moving into the eastern Gulf of Mexico from the Bahamas or the northwestern Caribbean. This threat area includes the Alabama coast, the Florida Panhandle, the west coast of Florida and the Florida Keys.

“The Central & Eastern Atlantic from the Lesser Antilles to the coast of Africacould end up being more active than it has been in the past few years. The ocean water temperatures are now above average and it appears that wind shear could be near or below average leading to more active conditions than what was previously thought. My thinking is that the central and northern Lesser Antilles, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola & Cuba may be an area to really watch for tropical storm/hurricane threats.

“The Caribbeanis an area that could be more active this year than it has been over the last few years. The forecast trends from the European model are for more deep tropics activity which could impact the Caribbean. The Bahamas are another area that has an increased threat this year from either a very close brush or a direct impact from a tropical storm or hurricane.

“All-in-all,I think that we could see more tropical cyclone activity in the deep tropics this year with 3 areas of particular concern –1.the central and northern Lesser Antilles, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola and Cuba;2.The northeastern and eastern US Gulf Coast, including the Alabama coast, the Florida Panhandle, the west coast of Florida and the Florida Keys and3.The US East Coast from eastern Florida to at least the New Jersey coast and possibly as far north as southern New England,” Crown Weather concludes.

2017 Atlantic Tropical Cyclone Names:
Arlene
Bret
Cindy
Don
Emily
Franklin
Gert
Harvey
Irma
Jose
Katia
Lee
Maria
Nate
Ophelia
Philippe
Rina
Sean
Tammy
Vince
Whitney

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ROTARY CLUB OF SINT MAARTEN RECOGNIZED AT 43RD ANNUAL DISTRICT CONFERENCE

PHILIPSBURG – The Rotary Club of Sint Maarten was recognized at the 43rd Annual District Conference on May 18, 2017, aboard the Enchantment of the Seas, while docked in Key West, Florida, USA, with 8 Awards of Excellence by District Governor Haresh Ramchandani, including the Bronze Club of the Month Award, the Gold District Governor’s Award, 4 Club of Distinction Awards for Community Service, Intra-District Projects, Public Image, Outstanding Young Leaders, Winner of the National Project Award and the Rotary International Significant Achievement Award Nominee for the District.

According to Rotary Club of Sint Maarten President-elect, John Caputo, “The most significant and inspiring achievement was receiving the National Project Award for the Cyber-bullying Awareness Initiative held this past February.   

This project was impactful across our Sint Maarten community for our young adults, our parents and our educators with educating more than 300 students about tips and techniques to manage cyber-bullies that are so prevalent in today’s online world. 

It is my hope to develop this initiative in a project that can be repeated and shared again, not only on Sint Maarten, but also across our Rotary District”.

President of the Rotary Club of Sint Maarten, Henna Budhrani, added, “The recognition the Rotary Club of Sint Maarten received at the District Conference made me particularly proud of our members, as our club has worked diligently on many projects, like the Cyber-bully Awareness Initiative.

This initiative was a joint project with the Learning Unlimited Preparatory School Parents Advisory Committee (PAC). Our Club is most thankful to the PAC and the PAC President, Heather Caputo, for bringing this problem and initiative to our attention. 

Together, we have impacted so many lives on St. Maarten and around the world through our efforts”.  

For more information about the Rotary Club of St. Maarten or for more information about joining Rotary, please contact the Rotary Club of St. Maarten Press Officer at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit the website www.rotarysxm.org

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Pen on Paper, new book by Joseph H. Lake, Jr. in time for Anguilla and St. Martin literary festivals

GREAT BAY - Pen on Paper: St. Martin 1970 – 2017 by Joseph H. Lake, Jr. was just released here by St. Martin Republic Publishers, said Nzinga Lake, the book’s publicist.    

Pen on Paper is a collection of over 50 commentaries, news articles, and editorials penned by Lake, Jr. or attributed to him from 1970 to 2001, said the publicist.

The articles in the 152-page book are drawn from the media for which Lake, Jr. was a columnist, the associate editor or publisher and editor: Windward Islands Opinion, Shaka, Windward Islands Newsday, St. Maarten/St. Martin Newsday, St. Martin Newsday, Newsday, and St. Martin Republic.

The pictorial section of Pen on Paper is practically a photo album of a number of the media people who started out in the island’s print and broadcast field in the last 30 years of the 20th century, said Lake.

Pen on Paper is available this weekend at the Anguilla Literary Festival where Lake will speak as a guest author on Friday, May 19. “I’ll speak on the difference in writing for a newspaper and writing for a book,” said Lake, who worked for over 25 years as a St. Martin newspaper publisher. 

Lake will also read selections from the new title. And he’ll get the opportunity to speak on the link between Anguilla and his father Jose Lake, Sr. The senior Lake visited Anguilla and reported for Reuters on the British “invasion” of Anguilla in the late 1960s. The Anguilla Lit Fest is also celebrating the 50th anniversary of the territory’s unilateral separation in 1967 from the then UK colony of St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla.

Closer to home, Lake, Jr. said that his new book Pen and Paper will be launched in St. Martin at Philipsburg Jubilee, on Friday, May 26, 2017, at 8 PM. The launch is a pre-book fair activity of the St. Martin Book Fair (June 1 – 3, 2017), said the festival coordinator Shujah Reiph.

Lake is a leading St. Martin political scientist and Pen on Paper: St. Martin 1970 – 2017 is his fourth book.

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