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 Lions Bingo a Grand Success. Grand Prize Winner is Frederick Williams

SUCKER GARDEN - The St. Maarten Lions Club Bingo which was held at the Port St. Maarten Home Porting Terminal last Saturday was a grand success with over 700 persons playing 35 games that started at 8pm sharp.

The prizes that bingo winners won ranged from home appliances, restaurant vouchers, various electronics items, hotel stays and airline tickets.

The grand prize winner with a full bingo card of a round trip ticket to Amsterdam on Air France was Mr. Frederick Williams.

The Lions Club would like to thank the Management and employees of Port St. Maarten for accommodating the Lions Bingo at their facility and also the St. Maarten business community for supporting the bingo with their generous donation of prizes.

Proceeds for the bingo will go towards community projects that the St. Maarten Lions Club will do over 2017-2018 under its incoming President Lion Alison Busby. 


Nature Foundation Visits Schools for Shark Week to Give Information on Shark Conservation

COLE BAY - Recently, during St Maarten Nature Foundation Shark Week, Nature Foundation staff visited several Elementary schools to educate the kids about sharks, shark conservation and the Caribbean Ecosystem.

The Foundation visited six schools; the St. Maarten Montessori School, the Dr Martin Luther King School, the Sr. Borgia School, the Sr Magda School, the Sr Marie Laurence School and the Caribbean International Academy.

Through the shark outreach and education program staff presented to roughly 600 students about the importance of sharks and the conservation challenges they face. Students learned about the different shark species, the importance of sharks to reefs and tourism, depletion of sharks and why the species need to be protected.

The children were very enthusiastic about sharks and marine life and learned that people shouldn’t be afraid for sharks and that they are in no way dangerous for humans.

Humans kill about 100 million sharks every year and if this trend continues many shark species will go extinct. Oceans without sharks will have unpredictable and presumably negative impacts for marine life, fisheries and our island, as we depend on our oceans.

The school visits were part of the DCNA ‘Save our Shark’ project funded by the Dutch National Postcode Lottery.



New Consul of Guyana Beresford pays Courtesy Visit to Prime Minister Marlin

POND ISLAND - Recently the newly appointed Honorary Consul of Guyana to Sint Maarten Mr. Cleveland Beresford, paid a courtesy visit to Prime Minister the Honorable William Marlin.

Mr. Beresford is the first Honorary Consul of that country in this regard, he will be the point person for all consular issues and cooperation between Sint Maarten and Guyana.

Mr. Beresford in his capacity as Consul also held introductory meetings with the Department of Foreign Relations on his rights and privileges as well as areas of mutual interest.


SMMC teams up with SSCF on World Sickle Cell Day

CAY HILL -  On World Sickle Cell Day, June 19th, the Sint Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) held a conference in collaboration with the Sint Maarten Sickle Cell Foundation (SSCF) in an effort to create a platform where medical professionals and patients could take part in a discussion about the Sickle Cell Disease (SCD).

The theme of the meeting was “Voices of the Community”, which represents the different voices who expressed themselves through the forum.

Present at the event were members of SSCF, Dr. Cecil Cone and Dr. Golden Jackson, both long-time contributors to SSCF via the American University of the Caribbean (AUC).

Together with the staff and management of SMMC, the two organizations hope to facilitate change to the treatment of individuals with the disease both inside and outside of the hospital’s doors.

The event opened with an introductory speech by SSCF Board member Leona Marlin-Romeo and a speech by SMMC Medical Director Dr. Felix Holiday. Thereafter, Dr. Cone gave a short lecture about the disorder. He spoke about the hereditary nature of the condition and the scientific aspects of Sickle Cell Anemia. 

Following his presentation several individuals, who have been struggling with the disease, spoke about their experiences and what changes they hope to see in treatments and handling.

Staff members of the medical center also discussed their current procedures, to bring light to the experiences of medical staff who deal with treating Sickle Cell patients during crisis. Both sides were given the opportunity to openly discuss the possibilities of positive change through constructive dialogue.

The objective of the conference is a long-term collaboration. The initiative was a jump start to improving healthcare on Sint Maarten. However, the change will require feasible step-by-step efforts with multiple stakeholders getting involved.

Both organizations look forward to the future. As Dr. Holiday expressed “going forward this should be the approach, where the different stakeholders come together and take initiatives like this.”

And as Mrs. Marlin-Romeo also stated, “Sickle Cell Disease won’t ever go away, it is genetic. The more information and awareness received, the more we can save a life. This initiative today is one that the foundation feels is essential and fits into our objectives as this platform created by the SMMC where doctors, nurses and patients can take part in a discussion about the disease, is just epic.”



CayFilm Cayman Islands International Film Festival

SINT MAARTEN/CAYMAN ISLANDS – The CayFilm Cayman Islands International Film Festival, an annual multi-day event that promotes the Cayman Islands as a world-class filming destination besides a place to visit and do business, will start on June 30 and concludes on July 3.

The festival theme is Film, Food and Fashion, showcasing a broad range of local talent within each of the three areas mentioned in the theme.

This year’s festival will feature 200 films from around the world, with about half of the filmmakers in attendance.  Many will be partaking in Q&A sessions, panel discussions and seminars.

CayFilm includes daily film screenings, question-and-answer sessions with filmmakers, workshops, exclusive premiere screenings and two celebrity gala events. The vision is to open up the Cayman Islands to the film industry around the world while opening up the world to Cayman’s young and aspiring filmmakers.

The festival team is also working to develop the Cayman Media Academy under the CayFilm umbrella to educate Cayman’s youth by offering classes and qualifications relating to different career fields in the industry.

This will be run throughout the year with the eventual goal of having a full-time degree program available at a purpose-built facility. Children will have their own specially designed programs to inspire and give confidence about their own unique abilities as filmmakers.


Mandatory registration for health care professionals in St. Maarten in process

PHILIPSBURG - The Ministry VSA (Public Health, Social Development and Labour) has been diligently working on the completion of the legal framework for a registry of medical professionals in St. Maarten, the Inspectorate Ministry VSA said in a press release on Sunday.

“The so called BIG ordinance (National Ordinance on Individual Medical Professionals) was one of the many ordinances taken over from the N.A. by country St. Maarten in 2010, but never published.

“Two executional ordinances containing general measures arising from the main BIG ordinance are into their final stage. It is expected for this legal trajectory to be finalized and the ordinances published by May 2018.

“Consultation rounds with professional stakeholders and associations, the Council for Advice, the Council for Public Health and health care institutions will commence within the next two months.

“The objective of the BIG ordinance is to improve quality of care by establishing quality requirements for individual medical professionals, both in the area of educational training and competency.

“It also provides the enforcement tools to the Inspectorate VSA to address individual medical professionals in case of non-compliance. The BIG ordinance is one of the three important ordinances to improve and guarantee safety and quality of care. The other two are the National Ordinance on Health Care Institutions and the National Ordinance on the Council for Public Health.

“The law also provides for professional title protection. Having the registry and all accompanying procedures implemented, will make it mandatory for all medical professionals to be registered or enlisted in order to be able to legally work on St. Maarten. The law makes a distinction between recognized professions who must be registered and so called alternative medical professions who have an enlistment obligation.

“The law will recognize 24 medical professions, including specialties and many of the known alternative medicine disciplines such as Homeopathy, Acupuncture, Reiki, Ayurveda therapy and Hypnotherapy. Each registered medical professional, with the exception of the alternative medicine disciplines, will have to prolong registration every five years. The requirements for prolongation have also been established in the law.

“The Inspectorate VSA is tasked by law with the execution and enforcement of the ordinances. It is expected for this ordinance to enter into effect in August 2018. Registration will be divided into phases. It is strongly advised that all medical professionals start gathering all their original diplomas and other relevant documentation. Specialists must be in possession of proof of registration from the country in which they finalized their specialization.”


Mark Your Calendar for the next Breast Abnormalities Screening for June 24

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – Saturday, June 17, marked the first day of a two-year breast abnormalities screening survey where 23 women participated in the screening.

The women took the opportunity to pass by the Vineyard Office Park Building in Philipsburg at the Collective Preventive Services (CPS), a department in the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA), to take part in the survey.

“Congratulation to the women who came out and who have already registered to pass by during the Saturday screenings.  I compliment them for their participation as this is a very important screening for women’s health.

“Minister of Public Health Emil Lee and the Acting Secretary General of Ministry VSA Joy Arnell also visited the screening activity on Saturday.

“I am reminding women to mark their calendar for next Saturday and come out and contribute to the breast health screening survey.  With the information that is gathered, we will be able to develop additional intervention strategies,” Dr. Virginia Asin, CPS Department Head said on Sunday.

Breast abnormalities represent a large spectrum of disorders including benign, congenital, hormonal and malignancies such as breast cancer.

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer worldwide with over 1,384,000 cases detected in 2008. It is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, after lung cancer.

Breast cancer death rates have been declining due to earlier detection and better treatment. There is currently no data about breast abnormalities in the Caribbean and very little data for the prevalence of breast cancer in this region.

The purpose of this study is to screen for risk factors as well as estimate prevalence of breast abnormalities in the patient population of Sint Maarten.

Major risk factors for breast cancer in women are age, genetic predisposition and hormonal imbalance. Breast density is also a significant factor, especially in women 40 to 49 years of age.

Several breast cancer risk prediction tools have been developed that combine the major risk factors and their purpose is to stratify women into risk categories that can then be used to determine optimal screening strategies.

Clinical breast examinations followed by imaging studies such as mammography and ultrasound remain the mainstay of screening for breast cancer.

The purpose of the study is to gain insight into the types of breast abnormalities and risk factors in women 18 and above with no age cap in Sint Maarten.

CPS is one of three stakeholders which includes the Positive Foundation, and the American University of the Caribbean (AUC), the latter, is lead research agency.

The screenings will be carried out every Saturday or Sunday and the target audience are women 18+ years of age.  The screening is carried out between 9.00am to 3.00pm.

For additional information you can call CPS at 542-3003 or 542-2078.

PHOTO CUTLINE: Stakeholders along with a group of volunteers who attended to those women that came to the breast screening activity on Saturday.

breast screening cps


Novelists of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao not known in wider Caribbean

GREAT BAY - “A persistent ignorance about the Dutch Antilles literature exist among the English, Spanish, and French-speaking Caribbean.” That is how Emilio Jorge Rodríguez introduced a main idea of his paper, “Dutch Antilles Novelists and the Caribbean Literary Canon,” at the Caribbean Studies Association (CSA) conference in The Bahamas, June 7, 2017.

The “persistent” challenge that the Cuban literary scholar pointed out is one that literary historians and reviewers such as Wim Rutgers, Fabian Badejo, and Hans Vaders have previously touched on. It explains in part why noted authors like Cola Debrot and Pierre A. Lauffer are not better known in St. Martin, in the wider Caribbean, and beyond, said Lasana M. Sekou, projects director at House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP).

Rodríguez, whose books have been translated and published here by HNP, has stepped up the discussion in his conference paper. “There is a confluence of Dutch, Papiamento, Spanish, and English languages in the literary production of Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao,” said Rodríguez.

However, “the barely dissemination, translation, and publishing” of the literature “requires a meditation about themes, styles, movements, and to establish links with the rest of the region,” said Rodríguez, one of three Caribbeanists on the CSA panel entitled “The Caribbean and the World.”

According to Rodríguez, his paper is part of the endeavor to “create conscience in the academic field about this balkanized situation, and give attention to authors like Cola Debrot, Tip Marugg, Boeli van Leeuwen, Gilberto E. Rosario, Pierre A. Lauffer, Frank Martinus Arion, Diana Lebacs, and Quito Nicolaas, among others.”

“Rodríguez has been studying the literatures of the Netherlands colonies in the region for over 30 years. He is considered an expert on St. Martin literature; and is also well published by leading Cuban publishers,” said Sekou.


MPs attend Committee, Board of Directors meetings and General Assembly of Parlatino

SINT MAARTEN/PANAMA - On June 9th and 10th a delegation comprising of Members of Parliament (MPs) of Sint Maarten headed by President of Parliament Mrs. Sarah A. Wescot-Williams, attended the 33th General Assembly of the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino) in Panama City, Republic of Panama.

The Assembly started with the raising of the Parlatino flag and singing of the Parlatino anthem. This ceremonial part was followed by several panel discussions on the topic of migration in Latin America and the Caribbean from different angles, titled:

Panel 1 - The Human rights of migrants: "The inclusion and social cohesion, elimination of all forms of discrimination (racism, xenophobia and intolerance)".

Panel 2 - The Effects of irregular and regular migration: "Decent work, labor mobility, recognition of skills and qualifications".

Panel 3 - International cooperation and the governance of migration in all its dimensions: "Borders, transit, entry, return, re-admission, integration and reintegration".

Panel 4 - Illicit trafficking in migrants, trafficking in women, children and youth: "The contemporary forms of slavery, identification, protection and appropriate assistance to migrants and victims of trafficking".

Panel 5 - The contributions of migrants and diaspora to sustainable development: "Remittances and the transferability of benefits won".

Panel 6 - Migrations caused by the effects of climate change or crisis: "Successful strategies for protection and assistance, public policies for sustainable development and conflict resolution”.

The keynote speaker at the General Assembly of Parlatino was Mr. Kailash Satyarthi, Nobel Prize winner for his contribution to the development of international conventions on the rights of children. 

He has waged a peaceful struggle to stop children from being exploited for labor instead of attending school. The main message of his address was to make parliamentarians aware of the fact that they do not only make laws and govern countries, but that they are the custodians of inspirations and dreams.

Members of Parliament have to fulfill the dreams for all children and of all men with the laws that they make.

On the 2nd day of the General Assembly several resolutions and declarations were approved including a resolution on the current situation in Venezuela.  In this resolution Parlatino calls on the parties in the conflict in Venezuela to engage in dialogue in order to stop violence with the intention to restore the internal development, sustainability and democracy of the battered country.

Members of Parliament who also attended the General Assembly are: MP Claret M.M. Connor, MP Sidharth M. Bijlani and MP George C. Pantophlet. These Members also attended Committee meetings of which they are a member on June 8, 2017.

parlatino inside


Additional classes show great results at traffic exam

PHILIPSBURG - For the last three years additional classes in the traffic rules were given, upon request from a school to students preparing for the yearly School Traffic Exams, by Sargent Rexcarlos Courtar of the Police Traffic Department.

This year the Leonard Connor School took advantage of the opportunity to get additional free classes for its students. 17 of the 21 students from the Ruby Labega School passed this exam and 33 of the 41 students from the Leonard Connor School passed this exam successfully.

The additional traffic classes definitely had a positive impact on the outcome of the 2017 School Traffic Exams. It is definitely the intention of the Police Department to continue to assist all schools upon request by giving extra classes in preparation for the exams. (Sint Maarten Police Force) 

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