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Tourist Bureau represents St. Maarten at ITB Berlin

SINT MAARTEN/GERMANY - St. Maarten was recently represented by the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau (STB) at ITB Berlin (Internationale Tourismus-Börse Berlin) the world's largest tourism trade fair. The companies represented at the fair include hotels, tourist boards, tour operators, system providers, airlines and car rental companies.

STB was represented by Marketing Officer Gianira Arrindell, who besides taking part in discussions with European airlines to gauge interest in servicing St. Maarten, but met with St. Maarten’s new marketing and promotional firm for the Benelux market, Aviareps. She was able to witness firsthand how vast the company’s network is and how the destination can utilize this network to generate new business.

Arrindell also engaged in discussions with Condor Airlines and others who will hold follow-up sessions with STB in the department’s efforts to secure new airlift form Europe. 

From 8 to 12 March 2017, over the five days of the show, more than 10,000 exhibiting companies from 184 countries and regions displayed their products and services on 1,092 stands to visitors. The global tourism industry exhibited its latest products and trends on an area covering 160,000 square metres.

About 7,000 journalists attended the ITB Berlin, of whom about 1,500 came from abroad. In addition to the industry's leading trade magazines, business and travel journalists from 94 countries report on the latest travel trends and products. The ITB Berlin takes place annually in March.

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St. Maarten Lions donate again to Little League

POND ISLAND - The St. Maarten Lions Club presented its yearly donation to sponsor a Little League Team for the 2017 competition.

The team is called Lions Club. Members of the St. Maarten Lions Club have started to actively attend games of the team in order to support young players this season and the club is happy that it can support youth sports on St. Maarten.   

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Rotary Sunrise Sponsors Youth Delegation in the Bahamas RYLA

SINT MAARTEN/THE BAHAMAS - There is no better way to empower young people than to strengthen their leadership skills. The Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunrise, in collaboration with its youth wings sponsored three youth representatives to participate in the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) conference in the Bahamas from February 24-26, 2017.

The representatives included the president of the Interact Club of Sundial Shanda Browne, the president and the treasurer of the Early Act Club of Hillside Christian School, Geanah Gumbs and Zanzi Brook and their advisors Ms. Satya Mahadeo and Ms. Stephanie Deerveld.

Every year, Rotary Clubs in the region and internationally organize RYLA conferences aimed at providing an effective training experience for selected youth and potential leaders; recognise young people who render their services to their communities and; encourage leadership of youth by coaching, mentoring and linking them with role models. 

The RYLA conference held in Nassau, Bahamas at the Windsor School and Melia hotel featured workshops and talks on the importance of effective communication skills in leadership, team building activities, the fundamentals of leadership, and problem solving and conflict management to name a few. 

The various talks and workshops were directed at improving the leadership skills and strategic alignment – how Rotary enables its youth clubs (Interact and EarlyAct) to bring together leaders for humanitarian and community services.

The participants learned the “why, what, how, who, and when” of a broad array of service tasks, from how to help one’s community to helping on a global scale. The importance of effective communication skills, a boot camp session to get to know each other, get some exercise, conduct a beach clean-up were just a few of the first day’s activities. 

During the second day, the delegation experienced two riveting real life stories entitled ‘From Prison to Harvard’ which featured two former gang members, with one who spoke about how he now works at Harvard University after a young life spent in prison.

Counsellors from the Ministry of Education were also present to discuss how leaders defuse conflict and problem solve. The delegation also learned the 12-step process to effective communication and conflict resolution including (1. Watch for warning signs, 2. Don’t assume you know what’s going on, 3. Start a friendly conversation, 4. Listen to what the other person is saying, 5. Remain calm, 6. Try to see the other person’s point of view, 7. Echo what you’ve heard, 8. When you are wrong, admit it, 9. Characterise your point of view, 10. Ask the other person’s advice, 11. Express your own ideas for resolving problems, and 12.

Come to agreement on the next steps) for defusing conflict before it gets out of hand. Some of these leadership lessons will be shared a workshop that the Early Actors will be organizing for their peers in St. Maarten on March 25th at the school.

President of Rotary Sunrise, Drs. Okama Ekpe Brook is grateful to Ms. Mahadeo and Mrs. Deerveld for accompanying the youth on this life changing experience, the Hillside Christian School and Sundial School boards and for all the ongoing support provided to coach and mentor the Early Actors and Interactors.

The Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunrise meets every Tuesday at the Ginger Bread Café Restaurant, Belair Beach Hotel from 7:00AM to 8:00AM.

For more information on the club, visit our website at sxmsunrise.org or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We are also on Facebook: Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunrise.

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Parkinson’s Foundation teams up with the National Institute of Arts to dance starting April 5

PHILIPSBURG - Anja Bronius (Parkinson’s Café) and Clara Reyes (National Institute of Arts) have teamed up and developed a bi-weekly session at the National Institute of Arts (NIA) at the John Larmonie Center on the Longwall Road.

Persons with Parkinson’s disease (PD) and other neuro-degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, M.S. or A.L.S. and their caretakers are invited to participate every 1st (11h to 12h) and 3rd (12.30 to 13h) Wednesday of the month to come out and dance! First session will be held on Wednesday April 5th 2017!

The idea to organize the recurring dancing event stems from the Parkinson’s Café, a monthly gathering in which a certain topic related to the disease is discussed and is based on similar initiatives already in place in the Netherlands and the U.S.A.

Dance for Health has, apart from being a social event, an important additional physical advantage as exercise and movement are crucial to maintaining a better quality of life, despite the impairment of mobility, and works in addition to other therapies to keep the physical and mental fitness up as much as possible.

The session combine dance movements from different types of styles and triggers the imagination and ability to express oneself while specific issues are dealt with such as maintaining balance, flexibility and motor skills. As such it is a creative process where fun in a group can lead to more self confidence in one’s own abilities.

The Parkinson’s Foundation was started to bring awareness to the community about Parkinson’s disease and to support the people with Parkinson’s disease and their caregivers.

For more information you can contact Clara Reyes (NIA) at 5430600 or Anja Bronius (5868640) or send an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

WHAT IS PD?

Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative brain disorder that progresses slowly in most people. Most people's symptoms take years to develop, and they live for years with the disease.

In short, a person's brain slowly stops producing a neurotransmitter called dopamine. With less and less dopamine, a person has less and less ability to regulate their movements, body and emotions.

Parkinson's disease itself is not fatal. However, complications from the disease are serious; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) rated complications from PD as the 14th top cause of death in the United States.

There is currently no cure for Parkinson's.

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UP Party calls for Action by Government on a Cyber Security System for Civil Service Organization

PHILIPSBURG – The United People’s (UP) Party is calling on Government to protect the civil service organization against cyber-attacks after the country’s governmental system was brought to its knees for a second time within five months.

“We are in agreement with Prosecutor Martin van Nes who calls for the formation of a Computer Emergency Response Team or a Computer Security Incident Response Team.

“The criminal code does not contain many stipulations to fight cybercrime.  In the 21st century, we need to have our laws updated to comply with what is happening in the world today.  We need to look at our existing legislation and seek advice on where we need to revise and amend.

“As a country we need to enhance the security, resilience, and reliability of our national information communication systems against outside attacks.  The system is vulnerable as can be seen from the two attacks where ‘ransomware’ was used.

“Government has to work to prevent and minimize disruptions to the country’s information communication systems in order to protect the public, government services and the economy.  This is a very serious matter that needs urgent attention,” UP Party Board said in a press statement.

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Invitation to the public to sign condolence book for the late Officer Arrindell

PHILIPSBURG – “In connection with passing of our dear colleague and friend, the Management of the Police Force (KPSM) on Monday March 20th placed a table with a picture and condolence book of the late Annick Arrindell in the lobby of the Police Headquarters in Philipsburg,” a press release from the Police Spokesperson said on Monday.

“This book is at the disposal of the general public. The public is hereby invited to come in at any time and sign this book as an expression of their condolence,” the press release concludes. (Police Force Sint Maarten)

CUTLINE: Chief Inspector Ricardo Henson is seen signing the condolence book.

HENSON TEKEND 2

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Address of Prime Minister Marlin at Chuchubi Foundation’s Aruba Day Awards Ceremony

PHILIPSBURG - Speaking at the Aruba Day Awards Ceremony held at SOIL on Sunday evening, Prime Minister William Marlin said that Aruba Day is a special celebration not only for Arubians at home and abroad, but for those we might call the “extended family” of Aruba which includes friends and well-wishers all over the world, but particularly in St. Maarten where the Chuchubi Foundation has been the standard bearer for Aruba for quite a while now.

Many St. Martiners the Prime Minister said were born on Aruba, actually the 50% of the Ministers making of the present government were born on our sister island as well as the acting Governor.

The celebration of Aruba Day this year has featured several activities which began on Friday and the Awards Ceremony can therefore be considered the icing on the cake of the Aruba Day celebrations on St. Maarten.

The ties between St. Maarten and Aruba go beyond our shared history of being part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It is even deeper, I dare say, than our cultural bonds. Blood ties make us family, and many of you here this evening are living proof of this.

Marlin said that visiting Aruba, particularly San Nicolas is like being in M’Region or Cole, the family ties have never been broken, but have rather remained strong.

It is for this reason that when St. Maarteners go to Aruba, they instantly feel at home, and I am sure the same goes for Arubians who come here. We are two nations with deep-rooted love and admiration for each other.

The Prime Minister said that he always feels at home in Aruba, like he recently did when he was there for meetings and had the privilege to meet with his friend and colleague, Prime Minister of Aruba, Mike Eman.

Prime Minister Marlin borrowed a quote from Franklin Roosevelt who once said: Friendship among nations, as among individuals, calls for constructive efforts to muster the forces of humanity in order that an atmosphere of close understanding and cooperation may be cultivated.”

I am sure it is that “atmosphere of close understanding and cooperation” that the Chuchubi Foundation seeks to cultivate with its activities, the Prime Minister stated.

Prime Minister Marlin told those present at SOIL that it is the intention of his government to continue to work diligently to further strengthen the understanding and cooperation that exists between St. Maarten and Aruba at all levels.

One area that needs urgent attention if we were to increase contact between our people is transportation. I can speak from personal experience of the difficulty passengers have been encountering in getting from St. Maarten to Aruba and vice versa. We need to first go to a foreign country outside of the Dutch Caribbean and then fly to Aruba or back to Sint Maarten. We need to work closely with the government of Aruba he said, to ensure that our people can travel straight to and from Aruba and Sint Maarten.

We will seek to address this issue in a manner that will result in better, more affordable and more efficient air connections between our two destinations.

Of course, both St. Maarten and Aruba are leading tourism destinations in the Caribbean. Cooperation in this field cannot be limited to just learning from each other from afar but should result in closer and intensified collaboration between our respective tourism authorities that would bring mutual benefits. We need to learn from each other’s mistakes and build on the best practices developed over the years.

We cannot continue to see each other as competitors for the tourism dollar, but rather as partners in providing opportunities for our people to thrive in a very competitive field.

As the curtain is drawn on the official celebration of Aruba Day, the Prime Minister quoted words by essayist, poet and philosopher, Henry David Thoreau who said:

“The language of friendship is not words but meanings.” When we speak locally we simply say: “action speaks louder than words”.  The Chuchubi Foundation, with these awards, is proving just that. The Prime Ministers ended his remarks saying: More than friends with Aruba or friends of Aruba, we are family.

Congratulations to the recipients of this year’s awards.

Once again, Happy Aruba Day!

The Prime Minister and Chairlady of Parliament, Mrs. Sarah Wescot-Williams then handed out the awards on behalf of the Chuchubi Foundation to radio personality, Miss. Lady Grace Blijden of PJD-2 and Funny Man Comedian, Fernando Clark.

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Ministry of Education joins forces with St. Maarten Leo Club for Drug and Alcohol Awareness Campaign

POND ISLAND - The Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport in collaboration with the Sint Maarten Leo Club have joined forces in a quest to tackle the drugs and alcohol abuse by the youth.

Both parties have been exposed to the dangers and this matter is an ongoing problem with a root in our community which cannot be solved if the matter is not tackled collaboratively.

Drug and alcohol use/abuse by our youth is a serious matter that must be addressed urgently. Secondary schools are no longer the only level of education that deals with these cases.

Since January 2017, the Inspectorate has been approached by management of primary schools to deal with a number of cases of drug use/abuse. Children who use either alcohol or drugs are a risk to themselves and other students around them. Under the influence of either alcohol or drugs, these students either skip classes/are truant, act out, display discipline problems resulting in getting suspended or expelled from school. In some cases drugs are being shared and or sold on school premises.

The main stakeholders identified in this project are the Sint Maarten Leo Club and the Ministry ECYS. The Inspectorate of Education, Culture, Youth & Sport, the Department of Youth Affairs, and the Student Support Services Division will be the stakeholders representing the Ministry ECYS.

Other stakeholders will be approached once subprojects have been identified. The slogan and theme identified for the campaign was created by the members of the Sint Maarten Leo Club. The slogan is “The best me is drug free, the greatest me is alcohol free.” 

The first meeting with stakeholders will be on Monday March 20th at 6:30p.m. at the Lion’s Den. The purpose of that meeting is to introduce the project to the relevant stakeholder and seek their cooperation in our quest to collaborate to tackle drugs and alcohol use/abuse among our youth.

“We need to start curbing the drug and alcohol usage/abuse among our youth, as it deters the development of their growing brains and negatively affects their development and behavior. Many youth are not aware of the dangers they pose to themselves or their peers while under the influence. We, as a community must also show a united front, and set the examples for our youth to follow,” Minister Jacobs said.

The first awareness campaign will be initiated during Carnival season  as during the season the accessibility to the drugs and alcohol will become more prominent and heightened.

The joint awareness collaboration will have a timespan of three years. Although the campaign will be initiated during the carnival season, the awareness campaign will continue year round.

Persons or organizations interested in joining/supporting this campaign are asked to contact Elmora Aventurin-Pantophlet at the Department of Youth Affairs at 542 2056.

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Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) meets on Statia next week

SINT EUSTATIUS – Next week the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) has chosen St Eustatius to hold its board meeting from March 21 – March 23 in the public library. DCNA is the umbrella organization for the six National parks organizations on Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Sint Maarten, Saba and Statia.

All islands are represented on the board, as well as other Caribbean nature organizations and independent board members.

DCNA has been a strong supporter of safeguarding nature on Statia through the years. And has assisted Sint Eustatius National Parks (STENAPA) with funding and capacity building.

Additionally DCNA is a strong partner in the upcoming Sharkweek, a huge outreach event in Statia and the other Caribbean islands to create awareness about the protection of endangered sharks and rays in the sea.

During the board meeting there will be discussions about sustainable funding of the national parks, closer cooperation with Foundation Samenwerkingsverband Nationale Parken (SNP) in the Netherlands, and the future role for DCNA for the six islands.

On Monday March 20th the board will meet local dignitaries and for March 23rd a field trip to the marine park is scheduled.

Board president Tadzio Bervoets, presently working on Sint Maarten as manager of the Sint Maarten Nature Foundation, is looking forward to coming to Statia. “I have worked on the island as Marine Park manager and this has been a tremendous experience for me. With DCNA there is a powerful platform for close cooperation within the islands. Likewise between DCNA and governments. We are of the opinion that nature and economic development go hand in hand and are looking forward to developing new plans”, he says.

The patrons of DCNA are her royal highness Princess Beatrix, Jaime Saleh and Nico Visser.  

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Sarah remains adamant about English as the first official language

PHILIPSBURG - In defending her decision to maintain English as the language of the timeshare ordinance, Member of Parliament (MP) Sarah Wescot-Williams referred back to her proposal which was unanimously adopted in a motion by parliament to establish English as the first official language.

English and Dutch are the official languages, but the constitution of St. Maarten makes no distinction between the two languages, according to a Thursday press release from the MP.

“While the instructions for regulations as adopted by the government of St. Maarten do stipulate that legislation will be drafted in the Dutch language, "this policy of government does not supersede the constitution", the MP explained during the handling of the timeshare ordinance in parliament.

"After several months of no action on the December motion, government has conceded that there are no funds to draft and implement a plan to achieve the desired status of the English language."

This lead to another motion by the MP, again adopted unanimously, to reserve an initial amount of F. 500.000,-- for the plan as outlined in the first motion. This according to the parliamentary motion must take place via the first budget amendment for 2017.

At the time of the first motion, the MP herself had contacted Dr. Rhoda Arrindell to gauge her interest to draft the plan "English as the first official and mother tongue language".

The timeshare ordinance was passed by parliament on February 22nd, now needs to be sent to the government for ratification and a 6-weeks period needs to be observed for the Ombudsman's scrutiny of the law.

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