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Lucky youngsters win all-day passes for TelCell Family Fun Day event Saturday

POND ISLAND, Sint Maarten – A group of lucky youngsters have won free passes to enjoy all the rides and activities that will be taking place at TelCell’s 3rd annual Family Fun Day event at the TelEm Group main building Saturday. 

The winners were chosen from the hundreds of TelCell mobile customers who sent SMS messages to TelCell during the past three weeks stating their child’s name. 

The event will be taking place in the company’s two parking lots, one of which will be transformed into an ice skating rink for kids. 

In order to set up all equipment and to start preparing the ice rink, TelEm Group is asking personnel and members of the public visiting the TelEm Group building today, to park in the Government parking lot nearby. 

“We have a lot of setting up to do, so, as of last night no vehicles are being allowed into the TelEm Group compound unless they are making deliveries for our Family Fun Day,” said event organizer, Angel Richardson. 

Saturday’s event has a “Wet and Wild” theme, with organizers promising to make a big splash with families who turn out for the many water rides and water features included in the host of activities this year. 

Parents are urged to bring a change of clothes and towels for their children, who can expect to get soaking wet.




Police driving instructors follow advanced course

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten - Police Majors and driving instructors Estario Petty and Vernon Ranis received their certificates after following a level two (advanced) driving course in the Netherlands.

This course which was financed by USONA started on June 20th through June 29th 2014 and was given by driving instructors of PROCENTRUM. Majors Petty and Ranis are already certified level one driving instructors since 2012.

This advanced course was given using different types of vehicles in use by the police in the Netherlands. “Maneuvering in traffic with unmarked cars at high speed” and “Focusing while driving at high speed in a safe manner,” were among the many subjects that were given.  

These advanced driving instructors will form an important asset to the police force as they will give classes to all driving instructions to all officers working within the department. (Contributed by the Police Force of Sint Maarten)



School bus inspections kick off July 7

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – School Bussing and Taxi Dispatching Inspection Department of Economic Affairs would like to inform school bus owners and drivers that school bus inspections are scheduled to start Monday, July 7 through July 9th. 

School bus owners and drivers are hereby advised to take note of the aforementioned dates.

School bus owners/drivers are requested to call the department to make an appointment.

Martha Thewet from the School Bussing and Taxi Dispatching Inspection Department of Economic Affairs, would like to thank all parents/guardians for their cooperation during the past school year 2013/14 and wishes them and their children happy summer holidays as the school break officially kicked off on June 30th.

Thewet would also like to thank the school bus drivers for their cooperation and looks forward towards their continued support when the new school year starts.

The key objective is to continue to provide safe, reliable and comfortable transportation services for school children.

For further information about services rendered by the Inspection Section, call telephone number 542-4511 or 542-4509.


40 pupils graduate from ACE school

CUL DE SAC, Sint Maarten - Forty pupils graduated from All Children’s Education (ACE) Foundation school during a celebratory reception held at the St. Maarten Tzu Chi Foundation office last Sunday.

Twenty nine of the young graduates were from the school’s primary section and 11 were from the pilot humanitarian kindergarten section. The primary school graduates included pupils who sat the Foundation Based Education (FBE) Exit Exams and some who sat the placement tests to enter high school at various levels.   

The reception, held in collaboration with the St. Maarten Tzu Chi Foundation, opened with pupils paying gratitude to their parents by presenting them with flowers, while parents and some volunteers put on the graduation caps on their child’s head.

Sixth grader Anelia Vincent, whose family lost all their possessions when their home was gutted by fire in Cole Bay last year, was named valedictorian for achieving the highest marks amongst the graduating batch. Her accomplishment despite her challenges was lauded.   

Vincent encouraged her peers to remain on the right track and reach for the stars.

ACE Director Claire Elshot said she was proud of the accomplishments made by graduating batch, though she noted that some pupils could have performed better. She told parents that irrespective of whether their child had been admitted to St. Maarten Academy’s academic or Preparatory Secondary Vocational Education (PSVE) section, they should be proud of them. Students in the PSVE stream, she said, can move over to the academic stream if they work hard. She encouraged pupils to continue to focus on their school work during their future educational pursuits.   

Guest speakers Key to Freedom founder Elvison Adamus and Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) representative Inspector Leonard both urged pupils to remain focussed on their educational goals and not to get distracted by drugs and/or alcohol. Leonard also told pupils that law enforcement needed them and they should consider a career in this area.    

Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams said this was the first graduation ceremony that she had attended in which gratitude had been shown to parents. She spoke about the importance of ensuring that all children receive a fair education and the key role this play in the development of St. Maarten as a country.

“As a Government and a people, we collectively believe that children should never ever suffer because of the circumstances their parents face. We should be grateful as a community to offer children the education that they deserve and it is important that we all work together to make St. Maarten a better place for all of us and a better place starts with an educated population,” the prime minister said in her inspiring speech.

“We need to ensure that in today’s world, our children understand what it means to be a member of a multicultural society. We need to have children understand that in today’s world it is peace which will see us through in the coming decades... Ever so often, we should look back and see from where we have come and where we should strive to move forward as a country, developing St. Maarten and its children into the country and citizens it deserves.”

St. Maarten Tzu Chi Foundation Commissioner Sandra Cheung reminded pupils how hard their teachers and parents worked to ensure that their best interests are catered to.

She told pupils there is a long path that they still had to travel in their educational journey and encouraged them to always do their best. She said not everyone can become the Prime Minister or Director of an education, alluding to two of the guests in attendance, and noted that these officials will need persons to work with and around them.

The graduating sixth grade class was presented with their certificates and graduation photos, while a number of pupils were recognised for their outstanding performance in the various subject areas. Youngsters from the kindergarten section were also presented with graduating certificates and special awards for various purposes.

The ceremony also featured entertainment from the graduating classes as well as from Tzu Chi Foundation volunteers, who turned out in numbers to assist in all areas of the ceremony in the spirit of love, kindness and giving.

Tzu Chi also presented tokens of appreciation to the school’s teachers.


Temporary postponement of Meet, Greet and Eat small business entrepreneurship initiative in Festival Village

POND ISLAND, Sint Maarten - Stichting Overheidsgebouwen (SOG) and Strictly Business Educational Foundation (SBEF) regrets to inform the general public of Sint Maarten that the much anticipated small business entrepreneurship weekend program will not kick off as planned on July 4th 2014.

The reason for this temporary postponement is due to e.g. many vendors not being ready with their vending permits, police records and food handler’s permits. In addition securing the necessary finances in a timely manner has also proven to be a challenge for some of the vendors.

As a consequence management of SOG and SBEF are left with no other choice than to postpone the start-up date of this weekend program and after careful consideration have decided to kick off this small business initiative on November 1st with a pre St. Maarten Day celebration and will continue every weekend thereafter.

This temporary postponement until November 1st 2014 will allow all vendors ample time to secure all necessary permits and finances.

The aim of the program is to create vending opportunities for small entrepreneurs and to promote, organize activities in the Festival Village by stimulating the selling of drinks, foods, arts & craft. The vendors will be allowed to have booths, tents or tables for vending.

Additional information can be obtained by calling SOG office at 5430506 or SBEF at 5537580.


Seven Seas Waters donates to Art Saves Lives Foundation

POINT BLANCHE, Sint Maarten – Art Saves Lives Foundation has joined a growing list of St. Maarten entities receiving a donation made by Seven Seas Waters St. Maarten.  The donation was made by Seven Seas Waters managing director Franklyn Richards, in the form of a cheque presented to representatives of the youth group, over the weekend.

The donation is to assist in the foundation in fulfilling its overall objectives, geared towards youth empowerment.

Seven Seas Waters St. Maarten is delighted with the opportunity to contribute towards the group and has made the donation in an effort to facilitate the foundation’s “cross-cultural exchange between youth in need and experienced practicing artists who seek to use their talents for positive change”.

Seven Seas Waters St. Maarten remains committed to supporting community programs that offer the youth opportunity for growth, seen against the background of a national development of the country.


SDA next DigiKidz School for start of the new school year

COLE BAY, Sint Maarten - When the new school year begins in August, the Seventh Day Adventist School (SDA) in Cole Bay will be the next DigiKidz school after the first pilot at Hillside Christian School Asha Stevens Campus.

DigiKidz envisions bringing ICT in Sint Maarten primary schools on the island through joint efforts of the public and private entities. This project focuses on a modern physical ICT infrastructure and includes 21st century learning and teaching. The project aims to increase and improve the use of technology among students and staff at the primary school level, acknowledging the fact that education does not stop after school closes.

The Digikidz project rolls out a comprehensive ICT project for elementary schools, including hardware with laptops/tablets, wired and wireless network, and professional development for staff for those schools that are motivated to teach students innovative 21st century learning skills.

Through an initial commitment of The Windsong International Foundation in the US/Anguilla, Sint Maarten might be able to receive funding. Nearly US $200.000 already has been invested in the first pilot school and Philipsburg Jubilee Library's future DigiKidz Media Lab.

Currently, preparations are underway at SDA to install the basic network infrastructure. CaribTech recently finished all the cabling for six datalines per classroom, cabled connections for the offices and public spaces.

CaribWork as the local sub-contractor for Skool N.V. will install the wireless infrastructure, the network structure and install SkoolControl a Learning Management System that controls the use of all ICT in the school.

“This is a very helpful tools for management, teachers and student as it helps them to easily navigate and get access to educational programs and website and allows the schools to be in control of their IT infrastructure,” President of the Foresee Foundation Jose Sommers Verscheuren said. Foresee is the initiator of the DigiKidz project.

She said SDA has been very cooperative by building a server room with air-conditioning in a safe place at the school. With the network and SkoolControl in place, Foresee Foundation in collaboration with SDA will order the additional hardware: laptops for teachers, digital boards, educational tablets for students and other technology equipment.

The plan is to have everything ready for the start of the school year. Teachers will be trained in the week before school starts and will get the opportunity to learn about the new technology implementations. The IT team of SDA will be the innovation team and in collaboration with Foresee Foundation - DigiKidz will guide staff with the implementation.


Monday's Central Committee ends due to lack of quorum

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – The Central Committee of the House of Parliament met very briefly on Monday, June 30th.  The session was closed by President of Parliament Hon. Gracita Arrindell less than five minutes after it was established that there was no quorum.

The first agenda points for the session were an invitation to attend a solemn ceremony of the Curacao House of Parliament on July 2 in connection with ‘Dia di Bandera.’

The second agenda point was the draft National Ordinance related to a budgetary amendment of the 2014 National Budget with respect to the financing of several policy initiatives.

Minister of Finance Hon. Martin Hassink was present with his support staff.

Members of Parliament (MP) who signed in for the session were the Chair Hon. MP Gracita Arrindell (United People’s party), MP Hon. Patrick Illidge (Independent), MP Hon. Roy Marlin (Democratic Party), and MP Hon. Leroy De Weever (Democratic Party).

The audio file download for the very short meeting is:


Special Summer Opening hours at the Library starting today

PHILPSBURG, Sint Maarten - Philipsburg Jubilee Library will begin their special summer opening hours in order to complete their annual inventory, starting today, Wednesday, July 2, 2014.

The Library’s summer openings hours will be as follows: The library will be closed on Mondays; Tuesday and Wednesday, the library will be open from 9:00am to 12:30pm and 2:00pm to 6:00pm; Thursday, 2:00pm to 8:00pm; Friday, 9:00am to 12:30pm and 2:00pm to 5:00pm; and Saturday, 10:00am am to 1:00pm.  

Regular opening hours will resume on August 12, 2014. 


UP Party Releases first episode of The UPDate

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten - The United People's (UP) Party on Monday, June 30th launched its premiere episode of "The UPDate," the parties communication tool using social media and the traditional broadcast media to reach its supporters and the Sint Maarten community. 

The first episode of The UPDate features interviews with the Leader of the UP Party Hon. Member of Parliament Theodore Heyliger, Deputy Leader Frankie Meyers and UP Party President and UP Faction Leader Hon. Member of Parliament Sylvia Meyers.
The first episode of UPDate can be found on the following link:
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