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DP SXM to Hold Candidate Meet and Greet on Postulation Day Friday July 11th

POND FILL, Sint Maarten, DP HQ - The Democratic Party of St. Maarten will be holding a Candidate meet and greet this coming Friday, Postulation Day July 11th 2014.

During the event the electorate will get the opportunity to meet the DP candidates and will be able to ask one on one question to those running on the DP slate and their vision for moving St. Maarten forward. Information on the event will be announced through various outlets including on the DP SXM Facebook page.

“It is important that voters realize that we are electing a new vision, a vision based on integrity, transparency, openness and inclusive governance for St. Maarten, governance that ensures that all sectors and stakeholders and the whole population is involved. To ensure that we are all getting it right,” read a Democratic Party release.

The DP also held a candidate briefing on Tuesday evening where candidates and members of team DP were briefed on the upcoming elections.

The meeting, held at the DP headquarters (HQ) on the Pondfill above Soualiga Service Point, again reinforced the pledge that all DP candidates must make to ensure transparency and integrity in the electoral process and that all candidates must agree to; “The members of the Democratic Party who seek to contest the Parliamentary elections of Sint Maarten as members of the Democratic Party require a mandate from the people to govern. Membership and candidacy within the Democratic Party is a mutual relationship of trust and loyalty.” (Contributed by the DP Party)



POINT BLANCHE, Sint Maarten - Josianne Artsen, who is affectionately known by many as Mrs. Fleming and/or Josie has embarked upon a campaign to contest the upcoming parliamentary elections on August 29th as a member of the United People Party (UP). Josianne’s campaign is framed around the message “Josianne C.A.R.E.S!” This accent Josianne’s unique leadership attributes of someone who is Competent, Accountable, Resourceful, Educated and Strong, and forms the acronym “C.A.R.E.S!”

“I have served my country faithfully in various leadership roles, with a specialization in Education, Leadership, Management, Politics, Business, and Social Services,” says Josianne.  “I am at the stage of my personal and professional career where I can no longer sit by and not be a force to reckon with in affecting positive change on behalf of our people. I truly believe that it’s about time for me to step up and contribute my knowledge, skills and passion to the progressive growth and development of our beloved Country St. Maarten.”

Josianne has a wealth of experience across the spectrum of education as a Teacher, Principal, and Superintendent of Schools, Chairperson of School Boards, and also as Immediate Past President of the University of St. Martin. Additionally, Josianne is also experienced in multi-disciplinary fields of Business as a Professional Development Trainer, Policy Writer, and Business Consultant. Furthermore, her political expertise spans decades as former First Lady of French St. Martin, where Josianne served for many years alongside Mayor Albert Fleming, as well as, former Vice President of the United People Party Board. Josianne currently serves Dutch St. Maarten as Deputy Minister Plenipotentiary in the Hague.

As a consummate professional, Josianne further goes on to share the following about her dedication to the people: “Over the years my involvement in various organizations has showcased my passion for service to the community through organizations such as the Rotary Club, Helping Hands Foundation, and co-host of the “Woman 2 Woman, Phenomenal Women” radio program. This is all driven by my genuine commitment to St. Maarten and our people. Through these and other organizations, I have proven my capabilities as someone who walks the talk, and truly C.A.R.ES! This is further evidenced by the selfless manner whereby, I invest my time, talents, and resources towards the improvement of our existing levels of leadership, and also to affect positive changes of various situations and systems affecting the people of St. Maarten.”

Through her campaign, Josianne strives to share her vision for St. Maarten’s Education, Culture, Youth, Sports, Healthcare, Social Services particularly for the Elderly, Labor Market, Job Creation and Economic Development. She strives towards building a nation focused on providing quality service and C.A.R.E. to its residents, and stakeholders.

Josianne is presented by the “Leaders for a Brighter Future Foundation.” The Foundation’s vision is the establishment of a St. Maarten-based leadership institute that provides programs for the professional growth and development of our future leaders. Additionally, the Leaders for a Brighter Future Foundation will facilitate the development of our youth through an initiative themed “Grow Our Own.” The “Grow our Own” initiative strives to develop our youth and other professionals towards entrepreneurship, and to gain positions of management and leadership in our communities, government, political office, and businesses, particularly in the hospitality industry. 

This commitment requires strong leadership with integrity, which Josianne brings to the table, with responsible, creative, and quality representation to capitalize on partnerships and programs offered in the Netherlands, Europe, United States of America, and the world. Josianne’s greatest joy is working as a change agent and educational leader where she can innovate and motivate others in the change process and take institutions to higher heights, from vision to execution.

Josianne has lived most of her life on St. Maarten, where she has studied and served as a decorated teacher and community leader. She has also pursued higher education in the Netherlands, and the Americas, and is therefore well-rounded in both educational systems. She holds a Teacher’s Diploma from the Teacher Education College in Amersfoort, a B.A. in the English Language, and is a graduate of Columbia University where she earned a Master degree in Curriculum Development, and a second Masters in Educational Leadership. As a life-long learner, Josianne will complete her Doctorate degree very soon.

Josianne received distinguished awards such as the Ghandi-King-Ikeda PEACE Award from Morehouse College in the USA, and was decorated by the Queen of the Netherlands for her outstanding achievements.

Josianne speaks French, Spanish, Dutch, and English fluently, and can therefore representing St. Maarten professionally throughout various parts of the world.


Public Invited to UP Party Unveiling Full Slate of 23 Candidates on Tuesday evening

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – The United People’s (UP) Party board are inviting its members, supporters and well-wishers to the unveiling of the full party slate of 23 UP candidates for the August 29 parliamentary polls. 

The unveiling will take place on Tuesday, July 8 at 7.00pm, at Ground Dove Road, Point Blanche, across from the new Tropical Building.

Each candidate will introduce themselves for the first time to the UP family and give a brief presentation about themselves.

“This will be the second elections that the UP Party will be participating in.  We are presenting a full slate.  It is a slate of quality, across the board representing all facets and professions in society.

“I am very proud of all my candidates.  Some of them are novices while others have experience in public office serving the people of this country in some capacity at the political level.  We have persons from the public and private sectors who are capable of representing the people of this country.

“I invite the public, members, supporters and well-wishers of the UP Party to come out on Tuesday evening to meet the UP Party candidates,” Leader of the UP Party and Member of Parliament Hon. Theo Heyliger said on Monday. 

Additional information will be exchanged with those present at the unveiling with respect to postulation day UP activities which is Friday, July 11.

The first public district meeting of the UP Party is scheduled for Thursday, July 31 in Sucker Garden at 7.00pm, and it will be one of six that are planned during the political campaign season. 


NV GEBE Now Processing 62+ Senior Relief Program Applications. Over 300 Seniors Apply

PONDFILL, Sint Maarten - On Monday June 30th, President of the St Maarten Seniors & Pensioners Association, Patricia Flanders handed over the application forms for the pilot project by NV GEBE offering relief to Senior Citizens.

The application forms were handed over to Managing Director of NV GEBE Romelio Maduro at the office of GEBE. Project Leader Clifford Sasso was also on hand to receive the application forms. 

With this step, the application process for pilot project of the Senior Relief Program, an initiative that was made public by the utility company earlier this year has finally come to a close.  The applications will now be reviewed and relief offered to those who qualify based on the criteria set for the program.  This pilot project will run for a period of six months, after which reassessment and reapplication is necessary based on the financial sustainability of the company.

To ensure applicants fully understand the guidelines, objectives and criteria of this program, seniors’ citizens were advised to collect application forms, information brochures and other relevant documents for this program at the NV GEBE branches.

Seniors were then given the opportunity to read the information and ensure they fully comprehend the process.  All the necessary information about eligible target groups, eligible expenses, rules and procedures for applications and more were duly outlined in the documents. The documents were prepared in order to assist the seniors to succeed with this project application process.

As the application process is now closed all application forms will be reviewed and the seniors will see the relief in their July bill. Based on the 313 applications received, the Managing Board has divided applicants of the 62+Senior Relief Program in the following categories, based on electricity expense of the seniors.

GEBE bills (ANG)



Relief Provided in ANG


0- 200

Invoice amount











> 701


The larger portion of applicants fall in categories 1 and 2, which is clear that this would be the main groups to focus on.

In order to further assist seniors with relief, NV GEBE has also decided to start a LED Awareness Program for the seniors. GEBE will invest in purchasing the LED lighting for the seniors as part of the 62+ Senior Relief program to further reduce their bills. This undertaking is the second of such program and GEBE remains committed to provide more of such programs to the community of St. Maarten.

The Managing Board and the Supervisory Board of Directors will annnounce shortly the General Relief to the community. (Contributed by NV GEBE)


Minister Lake says contingency plan needed to fight hillside fires. Meeting to be called with key stakeholders this week

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – Minister of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure (Ministry VROMI) Hon. Maurice Lake said on Sunday that a contingency plan is needed in order to fight hillside bush fires.

The Minister’s observation came after experiencing first-hand the hillside bush fire between the districts of Middle Region and Sucker Garden last Friday that left home owners worried about their properties.

Minister Lake added that the personnel from Ministry VROMI, Fire Department, Police and Excavator operators, did a great job under tough conditions for a period of seven hours, and commends them for their professional response to protect life and property from the blaze.

“The hillside bush fire was a learning experience for all emergency services who dealt with the situation last Friday.  A structural plan is needed to properly deal with bush fires as well as the possibility of a fire in an area of close building density such as the hillside in Cay Hill.

“We don’t need to wait on another fire to start putting things in place.  Some of the issues that came to light were accessibility, fire hydrants, and water reservoirs.

“First we need to identify the areas in the country that could be prone to a bush fire and carry out an assessment of the threat level to homes and other properties.  We have to be pro-active rather than re-active.  We have to have a play-book in place that each emergency service knows exactly what actions and steps will be taken and by whom.

“I will be calling a meeting this week to start the discussion with respect to a contingency plan so our emergency response teams are ahead when an event like this occurs again in the future.  Everybody performed well, but if we have certain infrastructure in place it makes everybody’s job easier.  Residents safety is our number one priority,” Minister Hon. Maurice Lake said on Sunday.

Minister Lake added that the input of land owners will also be necessary in drafting the contingency plan.



Ministry VROMI busy cleaning main trenches in preparation for peak period of hurricane season

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – Ministry of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure (Ministry VROMI) Department of Infrastructure Management (DIM) under the leadership of Claudius Buncamper, says his ministry has been busy making preparations for the upcoming peak period of the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season.

DIM is busy clearing all main trenches which would allow the free flow of water into the natural catchment basins such as the Fresh Water and Salt Pond.

The cleaning of district trenches is also underway country-wide and will continue during the month of July in collaboration with the four waste disposal companies. 

A district clean-up is also underway as well.  Schedules of the district clean-up are posted weekly in the print media.

Tree pruning has also commenced.  Tree branches in the vicinity of NV GEBE power lines are being removed and the former has taken the lead with respect to this.

The three storm water pumping facilities are all operational and ready to handle any excess rain water that may be associated with any weather system that impacts the country.

From July to September, the floodgates at Cottage Round-a-bout will be replaced and expanded.

Ministry VROMI which is Emergency Support Function (ESF-3) under the country Disaster Management Plan, is currently in the process reviewing all emergency routing maps with the Police (ESF-5) and the Office of Disaster Management.

All hurricane emergency shelters are being assessed with respect to structure, flooding potential and standby generators.

Ministry VROMI is part of the country’s disaster management system.  As ESF-3, the ministry is responsible for accessibility and clean-up and environmental.

Accessibility and clean-up entails providing direction to the resources and activities related to the public works such as road maintenance, debris and garbage removal; meeting with private businesses regarding the use of private resources for work related to public works activities; responsibility for water management and control; and meeting with utility companies regarding the interruption and restoration of vital services.

From an environmental perspective, the ministry is responsible for the quality and preservation of the environment during and after an incident/emergency.

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