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Soualiga Newsday Top Stories (2312)

Minister Lake finds corporate sponsor for nine-year old school girl to help with recovery

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure (Ministry of VROMI) Hon. Maurice Lake on Friday said he has found a corporate sponsor who will provide assistance for the nine-year old victim who suffered a brutal attack a week ago while on her way to school.

“I spoke with the Mother of the nine-year old on Friday to see how the little girl is doing.  I am pleased to announce that a corporate sponsor has come along who will assist with buying school materials and most importantly, covering the costs for professional psychological assistance.

“The most important thing at this point in time is the psychological recovery of the pupil so she can live a normal life without any fear.  This has been a traumatic experience for the child that can cause serious psychological damage if not dealt with properly and quickly.

“It’s all about getting the child back on the road to a happy recovery, and being in high spirits and living a normal life,” Minister Hon. Maurice Lake said on Friday.

Minister Lake added that his actions are genuine and should not be construed with the current upcoming election campaign.

“People know me if I see something I will work on getting it done.  I am a people and community oriented person, and solution driven.  Since becoming Minister I have looked at allocating government land to various organizations that serve the community of this country, and the Mental Health Foundation is one of them.

“It’s nothing political behind it; it’s about getting the job done for the people of this country.  I have sought assistance for our youth who want to spread their wings.  We have talented young people in the area of sports for example, and I am proud to say that I was able to assist them to bring them closer to their dreams,” Minister Hon. Maurice Lake said on Friday.


Prime Minister Wescot receives courtesy call from former Barbados PM

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten - The Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams received a courtesy visit from the Honorable Owen Arthur, former Prime Minister of Barbados and current Member of Parliament.

Arthur was on St. Maarten at the SER Conference in order to deliver a keynote address at the recently held SER symposium on Inclusive Development. Mr. Arthur and the PM discussed elements of the MP’s address including the capability of Small Island Developing States to ensure that inclusive development is taken into account, in particular through the National Development Plan.


St. Maarten Drum Band and pre-Book Fair reading for nation's children

GREAT BAY, St. Martin —Chester York is the island’s senior panman and steel pan maker, “Gassy” Richardson was a champion bicycle rider, and “Mr. Bibi” Gumbs designed modern and affordable houses for 25 years.

“These men should be known for their perseverance from a humble start in life, discipline in studying and practicing their fields, excelling in their pioneer work, and contributing to our island,” said Urmain Dormoy, leader of the 30-member Generation New Status St. Maarten drum band (GNSSTM).

The St. Martin Book Fair, scheduled for June 5-7, 2014, recently gave the Generation New Status band 90 booklets, profiling the life and pioneering work of George “Gassy” Gaston Richardson, Chester York, and Alexis “Bibi” Guillaume [Duzant] Gumbs. The current members of Generation New Status range from five to 16 years of age, and make up one of the island’s busiest youth music groups. Each member of GNSSTM will receive one booklet about each pioneer nation-builder, said Dormoy.

The pioneerseries booklets are entitled Gassy York – Champion Cyclist, Chester York – Making of a panman, and Mr. Bibi – Pioneer in House Drawing & Design.

“Getting these booklets in the hands and homes of children and teens is part of HNP’s reading motivation, creative writing, and literacy building activities that involve the St. Martin Book Fair,” said Jacqueline Sample of House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP), the book fair co-organizer that published the mini-biographies.

“I’m so happy to receive the booklets for Generation New Status STM members. This is a way for the boys and girls, and for some of their parents, to know more about our island, our people, and our culture, which they are all part of,” said Dormoy.

The pre-Book Fair presentation was made to Dormoy last week by HNP. “Urmain in turn presented GNSSTM’s archival copy of each title to Princess Beatrix on Tuesday during the Dutch royal’s visit to the territory this week,” said Sample.

“I wanted to get these books for the youngsters for about two years but we couldn’t get a sponsor just for that, so I’m happy that the Book Fair is making this contribution,” said Dormoy, himself a well-known musician.

Over the years, Dormoy has brought the VKS to the band’s practice to train the members in forms of marching discipline; he has led the performing group in the Boardwalk Mas, and in the US city of Orlando at Sea World. Last Sunday, Generation New Status was one of the youth groups performing at the St. Louis/Freetown fête, which was made famous island-wide by the late folklorist “Yaya” Richards.

Dormoy said that he and co-principal Jennifer Thomas are always looking out for extra cultural and educational activities to creatively help band members “to know our island better; to do their school work and homework better; to be more helpful to their parents at home; and to take pride in their neighborhoods.” Conscious Lyrics Foundation and HNP are the organizers of the upcoming book Contact Shujah Reiph 590.690.30-7366 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Jacqueline Sample This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. P.O. Box 460 Philipsburg, St. Martin Caribbean Tel (721) 554-7089 E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Offshore Editing Services festival, in collaboration with St. Maarten Tourist Bureau, University of St. Martin, LCF Foundation, and St. Martin Tourist Office. The SXM Airport and SOS Radio are also sponsors of the St. Martin Book Fair 2014.

Photo caption: Members of Generation New Status St. Maarten drum band and Jennifer Thomas (R), a principal of the foundation, holding up the pioneerseries booklets of “non-traditional” nation-builders. (GNSSTM photo)


Statia Library prepares for Software Upgrade with the assistance of PJL

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten Philipsburg Jubilee Library’s (PJL) staff members Francia Housen, Circulation Manger/Interim Systems Administrator and Irmin Hughes, Manager Information services travelled to St. Eustatius to conduct two days of introductory workshops for the staff and board members of the Gertrude Judson Bicentennial Public Library (GJBPL), on May 12 to May 13.

The GJBPL is in the process of automating its library services with the KOHA-Liblime software.  PJL will serve as the hosting partner.  Saba’s Queen Wilhelmina’s Library (QWL) recently became fully automated with the KOHA-Liblime software in March of this year. While the PJL library switched over in December of 2013.

Library Director, Monique Alberts stated that, “We are very happy that we are able to support our colleagues from Statia with this project. We have a long standing working relationship with the GJB Public Library. Once the Statia library is automated, it will be able to enhance its level of service to the citizens of the island enormously”.

Staff and board members including Gloria “Patsy” Blijden, Rosabel Blake, Janiska Woodley, President of the board, Inez Shaw-Mars, and Siem Dijkshoorn, Vice President, received and  introduction on computer cataloguing and circulation procedures. Once implemented, this digitalization of inventory will allow library users to access available resources online and place holds on books.

The digitalization upgrade of the three libraries was made possible with funding from the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.

PJL will be inviting the GJBPL’s staff to St. Maarten soon to get an intensive, hands-on training with the new automated system.

Photo Caption: Rosabel Blake and Gloria Blijden (seated from left to right) and Francia Housen, Inez Shaw-Mars, Janiska Woodley and Irmin Hughes-Richards (standing from left to right).



Minister Lake Instructs Ministry VROMI to Give Top Priority for Mental Health Foundation Building Permit Request

MADAME ESTATE, Sint Maarten – Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure (Ministry of VROMI) Hon. Maurice Lake on Wednesday hit the ground running when he visited the location for the country’s new Mental Health Guided Living Facility that will be constructed in Madame Estate near the St. Maarten Zoo.

The Mental Health Foundation (MHF) will within short submit its request for a building permit. 

A drainage trench that runs across the property that was provided for the new facility will be relocated.

“Everything is being done on my end to facilitate the construction of a national mental health guided living facility that can house those who suffer from mental illness and at the same time offer the best care possible.  As a country we have to provide the necessary facilities to take care of our people who suffer from different things.

“This is not about politics; it’s about taking care of our people and doing what’s right when it comes to continuing to improve the quality of life and care of our people.  Those who have challenges, as a society we also have a responsibility to take care of them.

“My main objective is about getting things done, and that is what my back to basics approach is all about.  When I built my house, I did it step by step.  You have to start somewhere and the Mental Health Foundation has my full support in getting things moving upward block by block.

“I once again appeal to the business community to assist the Mental Health Foundation in their efforts. This is a facility to serve all the people, because you never know when you, a love one or a friend may become mentally ill and would have to be treated.  We have to focus on the forest instead of the trees,” Minister Hon. Maurice Lake said on Wednesday.

Minister Lake added he was moved when a senior citizen came to him with tears in her eyes about her mentally ill son.  “The lady told me that she is not able to take care of him because of her age and the MHF is not able to keep him at their facility over a long-term period.  The lady said she is very stressed and requested help.

“I can understand her situation and there are probably 10 or 20 more like her who are in a similar situation.  I will do what is necessary from my end as Minister of VROMI,” Minister Hon. Maurice Lake pointed out on Wednesday.

PHOTO CUTLINE: Minister Hon. Maurice Lake (left) on site visit Wednesday where the new Mental Health Guided Living Facility will be constructed.


Leadercast 2014 Surpassed Expectations & Numbers of 2013

Leadercast 2014 Surpassed Expectations & Numbers of 2013

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten-Locally, regionally and globally, as our communities grapple with leadership challenges, scandals and threats, some 135 persons from a cross section of St. Maarten made a conscious decision to not only lament these challenges but find ways to be better leaders. These dynamic individuals hailed from the business sector, Government, NGOs, clergy, the educational system, and students from our own local high schools and University of St. Maarten; and even a young business man, Gerard MacDonna, who travelled from Anguilla to St. Maarten for Leadercast 2014.

 “I want as many people connected to my business to attend next year. It was inspirational and motivational,” said Marketing Strategist, Bernadette Davis of Marketing Solutions.  “Well done!” “The conference is inspiring!” “A must! Content is great; messages motivational,” stated other participants.

A number of leaders from Government entities were in attendance; such as Telem, which provided the Internet feed for the webcast. Noteworthy, The Secretary Generals of The Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports; and the Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Traffic and Telecommunication and many of their leaders were represented; also represented were leaders in the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labor; The Justice Academy, representing The Ministry of Justice; and The Office of Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations.

These Government entities and all participants were commended by Victorious Living Foundation, the host of Leadercast on St. Maarten for investing in their personal and team development.  Visionary of Victorious Living, Dr. N. Erna Mae Francis-Cotton applauded the attendees for recognizing that St. Maarten needs leaders worth following and that they would position themselves as such.

The business sector had a strong presence through Platinum Partner, The St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce; bronze partners Motorworld, and I Caribbean Group represented by, Bernadette Davis, providing free Wi-Fi to the participants; Nagico, Thrifty Car Rental, Caribbean Auto Sales, Oliver’s Seaside Grill of Anguilla, and other local entrepreneurs. The media was also present through, MSR Cable TV, TV Caribe’s Julia Brown and Andre Huie of WIN-FM of St. Kitts.

CEO of Motorworld, Rena Amjad led by example by having at least ten persons from her team at Motorworld present with her while she stayed and participated in the entire event. She had only praise and gratitude for being able to be a part of the event and she and her team committed to participating in Leadercast 2015.

The Clergy was well represented through the David Company headed by Apostle Alicia Liverpool, which had a large contingent of its leaders; The St. Maarten United Ministerial Foundation represented by Pastor Wycliffe Smith, Thy Kingdom Come Ministries, Heaven’s Touch International Ministry and from the Northern side of the island, the Superintendent of the Methodist Church, Rev. Tyrone Hunkins, and Pastor Jerome Thomas of Christian Assembly.

If significant changes are to happen in our communities, then it begins with each of us and especially in moulding and shaping the minds of our youth. Consequently, the Charlotte Brookson Academy and the St. Maarten Youth Parliament were also represented at Leadercast 2014 whose mission it is to create leaders worth following.

The Charlotte Brookson Academy delivered a powerful performance, led by their music teacher, Neville James. The students were awed at Leadercast and expressed their gratitude for being involved; they shared how Leadercast positively impacted and transformed their lives.               

For persons wondering if they should attend Leadercast 2015, Rochana Richardson, President of the St. Maarten Youth Parliament stated: “I would tell them it is worth the while; and it can change their lives for the better.” Another youth parliamentarian mentioned that all schools should have a representative at Leadercast in the future as it is so beneficial to their development.               

This powerful leadership conference broadcast live from Atlanta Georgia featured:

  • Andy Stanley, Leadership author and communicator
  • Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel laureate & human rights activist live from Cape Town, South Africa
  • Malcolm Gladwell, Journalist and best-selling author of The Tipping Point and Outliers
  • Randall Wallace, Screenwriter, director, producer & songwriter (Braveheart, Secretariat)
  • Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP, the world's leading provider of business software; an over $80 billion company with more than $17 billion in revenue in 2011.
  • Laura Schroff, Former ad sale executive and best-selling author of An Invisible Thread
  • Dr. Henry Cloud, Clinical psychologist and leadership consultant
  • Simon Sinek, Best-selling author of Start with Why and leadership expert
  • Laura Bush, First Lady of the United States(2001-2009) via exclusive video interview

Victorious Living (VLF) is pleased with the almost doubled number of registrants for Leadercast 2014 and the impact that it had on the attendees.

Visionary, of VLF, Erna Mae Francis-Cotton encourages as many persons and entities to be a part of the change and enroll in Leadercast 2015 which is scheduled for May 8th.  VLF thanks all of its partners, volunteers and participants for helping to make Leadercast 2014 a phenomenal success.         

VLF has relocated its offices from Back Street 158 B to The Royal Palm Plaza on Front Street. The office will be officially open to receive the public within the next two weeks.

As Victorious Living continues its mission to empower, enlighten and reconcile members of the community, as a host of Leadercast, VLF is making available Leadercast Now to local participants and the general public for 365 days out of the year.  Leadercast Now is an everyday, leadership-learning environment designed to help leaders develop into leaders worth following.  

Leadercast Now supplies subscribers with well-designed, user-friendly, affordable, short-format, high-impact, on-demand videos coupled with immediate action steps that help bridge the gap between learning and life, for a nominal subscription fee. Persons locally, regionally or internationally, interested in taking advantage of this opportunity may:

  1. Go to
  2. Click “Get Started Now”
  3. Select Your Subscription
  4. Enter Your Information and special access code: LCN1592

For more information about Leadercast Now, to partner with or to learn more about the counseling, coaching and training services that Victorious Living Foundation offers, persons may call 1-721-524-8731/1-305-407-9260; e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit VLf’s newly renovated web site: .



Latin American Members of Parliament to Arrive for Two Days of Committee Meetings

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – The President of Parliament Hon. Gracita Arrindell is looking forward to welcome to the ‘Friendly Island’ approximately 75 Members of Parliament and support staff from the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).

The Parlatino Members of Parliament and support staff will be attending three committees meetings that are being hosted by the country from May 22 to 23rd at the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino.

The committees are: Economic Affairs, Social Debt and Regional Development; Committee of Energy & Mines; and Committee of Political Affairs, Municipal and Integration.

Parlatino, is a regional, permanent and unicameral organization, comprising the National Latin American Parliaments elected democratically upon popular vote, whose countries have subscribed to the institutional treaty of November 16, 1987, in Lima, Peru.

Some of the purposes of Parlatino is to encourage the economic and social development of the Latin American community and endeavour for it to achieve the full economic, political, social and cultural integration of its nations.

To defend the full effectiveness of freedom, social justice, economic independence and the practice of representative and participative democracy, with total faithfulness to the non-intervention and free self-determination principles of nations.

To care for the faithful respect to human rights; to struggle for the suppression of every form of colonialism, neo-colonialism, racism and any other form of discrimination in Latin America. 


Community Based Dialogues Postponed Until Further Notice

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – The six scheduled Community Based Dialogues sessions for May have been postponed until further notice.

In order to continue to engage the community with respect to the formulation of the National Development Program, a review in the approach is underway based on the experience so far.

The feedback thus received from the community has been very valuable and the community members supportive of the process.

In moving forward, we the executing agency would like the dialogue sessions to continue to remain as engaging and attractive so that more people can come out and give their perspectives.

The Ministry of General Affairs, Department of Interior and Kingdom Relations (BAK) project team is currently working on revising the dialogue process and would appreciate the guidance of key community leaders on how to make the journey to the long term visioning for Sint Maarten much more engaging for the whole community.

The National Development Plan is facilitated under the auspices of the project, “Building a Nation: Sint Maarten National Development Plan & Institutional Strengthening.”

For further information please refer to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and/ or call 542-0897.


Hurricane mobility pass application process deadline is May 23

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – The application process for Mobility Passes for the 2014 Hurricane Season that started at the end of April will conclude on May 23.  Potential applicants from the business sector and vital organizations have a few days before the deadline to submit their request.

The pass allows the aforementioned groups to assess possible damage to their property after the passing of a hurricane.  

The hurricane pass application procedure is only intended for businesses and vital organizations with respect to their key personnel receiving an exemption to a curfew.

The Office of the Fire Department & Disaster Management is handling the application process for the passes on behalf of the Prime Minister.

The application form has to be completed and submitted to the secretary at the offices of the Fire Department & Disaster Management, located at Jackal Road 5, Cay Hill by May 23, 2014, with all necessary documents attached.


Investigation into ill treatment of nine-year old continues as suspect remains in custody

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten, POLICE HEADQUARTERS - The investigation into the severe ill-treatment of the nine year old female victim with initials S.B. which took place on Thursday May 15th on Cherry Nut road in South Reward, is in high gear.

This unfortunate and serious criminal act was committed by the suspect with the initials A.P. (38) who is mentally challenged and resides in that area. As a result of this severe ill-treatment the victim suffered bruises to her body and a serious injury to her face.

The victim was transported by ambulance to the Sint Maarten Medical Center where she was treated for her injuries and where she was admitted for observation and recovery.

The Public Prosecutors Office and Police Department has given this case highest priority and are working diligently to find out what may have triggered the suspect to commit this very serious act which has caused much unrest within the community of Sint Maarten. The suspect in the meantime is detained and his detention has been extended by the Public Prosecutor. 

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