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Acting Minister of Health Bourne-Gumbs provided SCDF with ear plugs to protect hearing of children in parades

PHILIPSBURG – Acting Minister of Public Health, Social Affairs and Labour Hon. Rita Bourne-Gumbs recently presented St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) representative Alston Lourens ear plugs that were given out to children and others in connection with the Carnival parades on Thursday and Friday.

Representatives of the Department of Collective Prevention Services (CPS) from the Ministry of Public Health were also present for the presentation to the SCDF. 

“The ear is an advanced and very sensitive organ of the human body.  The more you listen to loud sounds, the more likely you are to damage your hearing.  A continuous noise level of 85 DB will result in hearing damage. 

“We want especially children to protect their hearing from the loud music that is common practice during the parades.  This was the objective of the presentation of the ear plugs, a preventative measure which CPS has carried out before,” Minister Hon. Rita Bourne-Gumbs said on Friday. 

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J&B adds a little honey to the already sweet Fully Loaded 2. Now You Can Participate in an Online Social Media Competition to Win a Ticket to the Saturday Show

POND ISLAND - The much anticipated Carnival season is finally here, undoubtedly the island's largest cultural event for over 42 years. St. Maarten's locals flock to the carnival village, the central hub for all the carnival activities, for the ethnic cuisine, energetic bands, spectacular pageants and highly anticipated international concerts. 

The Fully Loaded 2 Ultimate Reggae Experience will be hosted by Majah Hype on Saturday May 2nd, 2015 and is expected to be the biggest concert of the season with an amazing line-up featuring Percy Rankin, Dj-speed Jenson Gumbs, Mixmaster Pauly, Christopher Martin, Gyptian, Tanya Stephens and Sizzla Kalonji.

WhereTheFlex.com in collaboration with Chippie promises carnival revellers that the second edition of Fully Loaded will be an all-star unforgettable show; tickets can be purchased in advance for $30 at Chippie, Van Dorp and Happy shop or for $40 at the carnival village on the night of the concert. 

J&B whiskey, the island’s best-selling scotch, is one of the sponsors for the Fully Loaded 2 event and has organized an online social media competition to win a ticket to the show; contestants are asked to upload a creative photo to the J&B Honey Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/jbhoneysxm) incorporating a bottle of J&B Urban Honey, the latest addition to the J&B family. The winner will be chosen based on the most creative J&B Urban Honey picture; cut off for participation is April 30th, 2015 

J&B whiskey is very popular amongst the island's locals for its smooth, refreshing taste and versatility; it can be blended with virtually any mixer, enjoyed neat or on the rocks. The new J&B Urban Honey blends particularly well with the Sprite, soda or ginger ale mixers; being a spirit aperitif it can also be served neat or chilled as a shot. Village goers are encouraged to try this new product at booth #36 “Where The Flex” which will have drink specials on J&B and J&B Urban Honey throughout Carnival. Come out and start a party with J&B and have a truly unforgettable Ultimate Reggae Experience!

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Chippie supports Rio Float in Children’s Parade

PHILIPSBURG - Chippie has increased its support to the amount of $5,000 towards the MOMs group, which is organizing participation in the Children’s carnival parade with its Rio-themed Children’s Float.

The float and children’s revellers group id the initiative of a group of mothers that recall the presence of floats in the carnival parades while growing up. For St. Maarten Carnival 2015 this group of parents has decided to bring back the decorated floats to the Children’s parade, with their float themed after the Disney animated movie ‘Rio’.

Last year the group also had a beautifully decorated float around the theme Nemo and Friends. “We are very pleased to be able to support these ladies in their endeavour to bring back a staple which has disappeared over the years in St. Maarten Carnival and we commend them for choosing the 45th anniversary celebration to bring the traditional float back to carnival,” says UTS Marketing & Communication Officer, Ivy Lambert.

“Floats are a much-loved part of carnival parades for children and adults alike and we are proud to be able to do our part in bringing a wholesome and beautiful attraction to the children’s parade. On behalf of Chippie, UTS and CaribServe we wish everyone a safe and enjoyable carnival parade and carnival season,” Lambert continues. Just as last year, the Children’s Parade will be held on Wednesday, April 30, 2015, simultaneously with the Grand carnival parade for adults.

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Preparations underway for National Remembrance Day 2015

GREAT BAY (DCOMM) – Preparations are underway to observe National Remembrance Day 2015 on Monday morning 4th May. 

Government will again remember the victims who fought during the Second World War and the public are invited to attend the ceremony.

The commemoration and wreath-laying ceremony will take place on Monday, May 4 at 9.00am at the Captain Hodge Wharf in Philipsburg.

His Excellency Governor Eugene Holiday, President of Parliament Hon. Dr. Lloyd Richardson, Prime Minister Hon. Marcel Gumbs, representatives of government and uniformed officials will be in attendance.

Governor Holiday will inspect the honor guard followed by his line-up next to the President of Parliament and the Prime Minister.

The Second World War was a global war that started in 1939 and ended in 1945.  It has been described as the most widespread war in history, where more than 100 million people served their countries in military groups. 

Approximately 50 to 70 million people lost their lives making it the deadliest conflict in human history.   

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Governor presents seven Royal Decorations at King’s Day Celebration

DAWN BEACH – On 24 April at the Westin Dawn Beach Hotel & Spa, His Excellency Governor Eugene Holiday presented seven Royal Decorations on the occasion of King’s Day which is celebrated on 27 April.

The theme for the evening was “Serving Our Country, How Do We Stand?”  The Governor’s speech in its entirety can be found below:

Esteemed Guests, Good evening

I am pleased to welcome you to this King’s Day celebration in honor of the birthday of His Majesty King Willem Alexander. The theme I chose for this evening is: Service and Country. As a result I have prepared my message around the question: How do we stand in relation to serving our country? It is a question that has been asked in different ways over the ages; it is a question that remains relevant today and in our Sint Maarten context.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in addressing this question, drawing from the Bible in his powerful 1968 mountaintop sermon, stated:

[“The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me? But the good Samaritan reversed the question: If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”].

President John F. Kennedy in his 1961 inaugural address placed that question in a national perspective with his famous words:

[“Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”.]

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As I said earlier the question: How are we serving our country?, remains relevant today. To answer that question I believe that the preamble to our constitution gives some guidance where it states:

WE THE PEOPLE OF SINT MAARTEN, …….. Being determined to work with each other …….., …. believes in the principles of democracy, the rule of law, … the dignity and value of the individual ……… Declare that we wish to create a constitutional order …… .

These introductory words of our constitution, is our joint and individual declaration to work with and serve each other to create a constitutional order towards a democratic, just and sustainable society for we the people of Sint Maarten.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This brings me to the question how do we stand in regards to complying with our service to country declaration? Every day I hear people answer this question in various forms and from various perspectives and it is not uncommon to hear persons express doubt about the compliance of others. In that regard I instead recommend the approach of the good Samaritan in regards to what will happen to Sint Maarten if you and I do not serve it. And at the same time I wish to draw your attention to the commendable service which so many give to our country every day. For imagine what our society would be like without the service of – amongst others:

  • our committed teachers to educate our children;
  • our caring nurses and doctors to care for our sick;
  • our dedicated police men to maintain law and order;
  • our passionate artists to protect and enrich our culture;
  • our loyal preservationist to protect our environment; or
  • our many devoted community leaders who volunteer their time and knowledge for our social enrichment 

Yes, every day the vast majority of our people rise and answer “their declaration to serve our country” by making significant positive contributions to our community.

In doing so they carry the torch handed to us by past generations as embedded in our constitution to serve for a more peaceful, just, and sustainable Sint Maarten. It is with the knowledge of and appreciation for their valued service to our country that we can look to the future with hope for the further growth of our country.

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is in that light that we shall in a few moments standstill to highlight the contributions and achievements of a few of our brothers and sisters who have been singled out to receive Royal Decorations. A total of seven (7) persons - Mr. Imran Mc Sood Amjad, Ms. Engelina Dorothea Hoogenboezem-Brinker, Mr. Urmain Alphonse Dormoy, Mrs. Connie Phyllis Gumbs, Mrs. Neville Alvinton Lake, Mr. Claudwick Charles Peterson and Mr. Rolande Silvester Tobias. They have each been decorated as member in the Order of Oranje Nassau - will be awarded a Royal Decoration for their prolonged outstanding service to the community. They will be presented to you in a short while by underlining the mark they have made in Sint Maarten in a variety of areas ranging from: the promotion and development of sports and culture, the advancement of social justice, working with and counseling of our underprivileged youth, the stimulation and development of art and music, the empowerment of youth and faith based work, social activism, defending the cause of the elderly, monument preservation, and educational and community development. This overview is but a summary of the variety of fields in which these individuals have rendered committed service to our country over a prolonged number of years. Committed involvement in service to our country and in particular in the care for and development of our youth is essential for the further building of St. Maarten. As I move to issue Royal Decorations to the seven (7) selected persons – two (2) of whom are not present this evening – I call on you to let their work be an inspiration for all of us to strive to comply with our declaration to render service for our Country. Service aimed at securing a more peaceful, just, and sustainable Sint Maarten.

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is an honor and special distinction to be awarded a Royal Decoration and I thus hereby, in closing, take this opportunity to first, extend my appreciation to each of the 2015 recipients of Royal Decorations for their exemplary service to our community and second, to convey my congratulations to each of the honorees individually and to their family and friends. 

Thus as we continue the tradition of celebrating King’s Day with an emphasis on service to country, I wish you an enjoyable evening.

Thank you,

God Bless you, and

God Bless Sint Maarten

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‘Girls in ICT Day,’ increased opportunity in information and communications technology urged. Sint Maarten's educational system needs to be adapted

SINT MAARTEN – Aiming to attract women to fields “where strong demand is creating global skills shortfall,” the tech community celebrated ‘Girls in ICT Day’ around the world on 23 April.  Sint Maarten girls need to be pointed in this direction in order for country Sint Maarten to also play a role in this area and to continue to raise the quality of life of Sint Maarteners. 

“ICTs [information and communication technologies] are an exciting and rapidly-growing field, offering interesting, important and well-paid job opportunities,” said the Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Houlin Zhao, in astatement.

“A career in ICT allows girls to use their creativity, work in international environments, and participate in shaping our future,” he added, noting that with 95 per cent of all jobs now having a digital component, digital skills are no longer just an advantage, they are essential.

Organized by ITU, the United Nations body responsible for issues that concern information and communication technologies, the Day aimed to promote Girls in ICT by organizing events, partnering with other UN agencies, supporting organizers in their respective regions and hosting competitions. Marked every year on the fourth Thursday in April, ITU and the global technology aim to promote careers in the field to a new generation of young women.

Launched by ITU in 2010, the Day is part of an international drive to encourage more females to study STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and mathematics. It aims to counter the decline in the number of female ICT students, which is in turn contributing to a predicted global shortfall of at least two million ICT jobs which will not be able to be filled.

National governments have been invited to consider integrating basic coding skills into their national education curricula, alongside basics like reading, writing and arithmetic.  The call was made by the Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau, Brahima Sanou.  The Government of Sint Maarten should consider moving in this direction as well.

“Girls and young women who learn coding, apps development and computer science will have powerful tools at their disposal to drive economic prosperity for themselves, and overall socio-economic development for their communities,” Sanou added.

In Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, female students now account for fewer than 20 per cent of tertiary ICT enrolments; down from nearly 40 per cent in the 1980s, when computer science courses first appeared on university curricula. Only around 3 per cent of total female graduates study ICT fields, compared with around 10 per cent of male graduates. This academic gender gap is reflected in the number of female ICT professionals, now estimated at just 20 per cent across the OECD.

With strong backing from the IT sector and national governments, ‘Girls in ICT Day’ has rapidly grown into a global movement, with an estimated 3,500 events organized in over 140 countries, reaching 111,000 girls, since the event became a fixture on the UN calendar five years ago.

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Minister of Culture: “Protecting the Richness of our Cultural Tradition”

POND ISLAND – On Friday 24 April, Minister of Culture Hon. Rita Bourne-Gumbs released the following statement in connection with the largest national cultural event that is currently taking place in the country. 

“Carnival should be a time when the entire community and visitors alike enjoy the richness of our cultural traditions through the creative and performing arts.  It should be a time when our performing artists, entertainers and cultural icons display their commitment as ambassadors in promoting this country as a carnival destination upholding high moral standards and values.

“It should also be a time when each citizen and resident can enjoy healthy fun and not be irritated and demoralized by the constant flaunting of rude and crude sexual behavior.

“As Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports and also as a citizen of this country, I believe it is my responsibility to sound the alarm that we should not encourage lewdness in public life involving adults and certainly not children & youth.

“I wish to address the parents as the primary guardian that their children should not be left unattended, but should be supervised at all times during the festivities.  Failure to ensure adequate supervision is a form of neglect and can result in destructive behavior.   

“As Minister with the responsibility for Education, Culture, Youth and Sports and interim Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor, I will be collaborating with the Minister of Justice to address the concerns regarding the ever growing amount of unsupervised minors during the jump ups.

“I am therefore calling on the parents to exercise their responsibility and to protect their children from the abuse and use of alcohol and explicit behavior during the jump ups and parades.  If we are to pass on the baton to them then it our duty as adults and government is to protect them so that they will become healthy and productive citizens of this society.

“I am also calling on all vendors and booth holders to refrain from selling alcoholic beverages to minors as this is against the law. Our message must be clear. No to alcohol consumption amongst children and teenagers. No to the invasion of immoral behavior at the expense of our cultural tradition.

We must as responsible citizens endeavor at all times to protect our children who are our greatest heritage. Continue to be safe as you enjoy the festivities.  And if you do decide to drink, remember to drink responsibly,” Minister of Culture Hon. Rita Bourne-Gumbs said on Friday.

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MP Lake Commends USM Management and Board on MOU to Promote further Educational Opportunities

PHILIPSBURG – University of St. Martin (USM) and the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will allow students from St. Maarten/St. Martin and from other parts of the Caribbean region to obtain accredited degrees at USM on Pond Island.

United People’s (UP) party Member of Parliament (MP) Hon. Maurice Lake on Thursday commended USM management and board for this major development as it promotes further educational opportunities for the country’s youth.

“This is a definite step in the right direction and taking our own home-grown institution of higher learning to the next level.  Working with UVI educational institution, and involving the SHTA with respective to USMs hospitality program are very good developments that will benefit the students and the community overall.

“I am a strong supporter of our University and it’s about time we recognize our own. Government needs to revisit the subsidy agreement that it has with USM in order to help USM grow for the long-term.  As MP I will do whatever I can to assist Government in this manner from a legislative perspective,” MP Hon. Maurice Lake said on Thursday.

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9th Believers Convention starts tonight

PHILIPSBURG/MARIGOT- Out of the Ordinary Comes the Spectacular! is the theme of the 9th Annual St. Martin Believers Connection Convention (SMBCC) that will be held from Thursday April 23 to Monday April 27, 2015 at the Great Bay Sports Auditorium from 7:30 pm.

Juxtaposed in the heart of the Carnival Season, the Convention offers an ideal alternative to feting for Christian believers on both sides of the island. It is the highlight of the Christian community’s calendar of activities, spearheaded by the St. Martin United Ministerial Foundation (SMUMF).

An invitation is therefore extended to the general public to attend the week of Convention that is free of cost. The main auditorium will come alive with engaging worship, testimonies and messages.

Each year the SMUMF chooses leading thinkers and ministers from across the globe to talk about topics relevant to church leaders and their membership as well as to make divine impartations in the body of Christ. This year’s Convention has attracted a prolific teacher and preacher in the person of Bishop Robin Dinnanauth from Robin Healing Ministries in New York City.

Additionally, a marriage and singles seminar will be held on April 29-30th respectively at the New Testament Baptist Church in Philipsburg and Christian Assembly in La Savanne, Grand Case. These sessions will be facilitated by Dr. Annette Lazarus-Rose of Bethesda Healing Centre in New York.

With sessions designed for everyone-children, teens, seniors, women and more-the entire family will enjoy SMBCC 2015.

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Cable TV sponsors 4M HD for carnival 2015

MADAME ESTATE - St. Maarten Cable TV will be sponsoring 4M HD for Carnival 2015. "I am elated to receive this contribution for our band," remarked Band Manager Stuart Johnson.

"We have been diligently working on our music in preparation for this carnival season and testimony to that is our latest hit songs like, Wet up and roll it," Johnson added. 

St. Maarten Cable TV has been a regular contributor to the band and its efforts to promote quality music on our beloved island. 

Managing Director of St. Maarten Cable TV Beulah Jonis said, "we've stepped up and contributed to carnival yet again. We have been contributing to carnival for a number of years and we look forward to 4M HD performance for the upcoming road events."

Jonis took the opportunity also to wish the entire community a Happy St. Maarten Carnival 2015 on behalf of management and staff.

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