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Soualiga News II (1302)

St. Maarten Toastmasters continues to soar within Caribbean

SINT MAARTEN/BARBADOS - St. Maarten Toastmasters continue to soar as they maintain strong presence in the leadership of District 81.  Toastmasters International is a world leader in communication and leadership development

District 81, which encompasses all Caribbean islands, hosted its May 2017 conference on the island of Barbados, during which the international speech contest and elections for district leaders took place.

The prominence of territory St. Maarten did not go unnoticed as its Toastmasters were elected and/or nominated in key leadership positions in the District.  Thus, congratulations are certainly in order and extended to the following persons (in alphabetical order of first name):


Mrs. Alicia Etienne-Seaton, dual member of the Disciples and Evolution Toastmasters clubs, and dubbed “the energizer bunny” by her peers because of her unfailing consistency and commitment to serve, was elected as Area Director. She will endeavor to help her fellow Toastmasters understand the core values of the Organization and promises to do her outmost to create awareness of the Toastmasters educational program because she believes that learning active listening techniques through Toastmasters assists greatly in conflict resolution.  Less conflict equates into a better community.


Ms. Brenda Maynard, member of the civil servants’ Soualiga Corporate Toastmasters Club and 2015 recipient of the coveted Triple Crown award, was elected as Division E Director.  She will be guiding Area Directors for clubs on the islands of Anguilla, Antigua, USVI, BVI, St. Martin French and Dutch, St. Eustatius, St. Kitts & Nevis.

TM Maynard expresses a huge thank you to the outgoing Division E Director, Kathia Magdeleine, for her dedicated work, accomplishments and assistance.  She aims to motivate and assist her Area Directors in achieving their greatest potential through club and membership development, as she “will have big shoes to fill!”



Ms. Daisiray ‘Tracy’ Lake was appointed Administration Manager for District 81, succeeding Ms. Delice Connor from Anguilla.

Having a sensational desire for self-improvement she intends to complete her administrative tasks accurately and timely while gaining a comprehensive understanding of the responsibilities of her fellow district leaders.


Mrs. Patricia Peters, dual member of the Disciples and Cupecoy Toastmasters clubs, faced her fear of public speaking by representing the territory in front of hundreds of people in the international speech contest.  The “experience was phenomenal and made her a better person”.


Ms. Tamara Groeneveldt, President of the Soualiga Corporate Toastmasters Club, was elected as Area Director and aims to actively do her best to firmly strengthen the clubs by assessing their current functioning and obtaining all the help, ideas, and advice from the wealth of resources within her reach, all while building rapport with members.  Ms. Groeneveldt also plans to accompany her efforts “with lots of prayers”.

All district leaders will officially begin their tenure on July 1st 2017.  Outgoing leaders from Territory St. Maarten are: Area Director Vernicia Brooks, Area Director Elroy Hughes and Area Director Priscilla Bell.

For more information about toastmasters and means of joining a club kindly visit or contact TM Brenda Maynard, Division E Director Elect at +1721-527-2884 for more information on joining or visiting a club, or to enquire on establishing a company corporate club. 


Anguilla Red Cross Water Safety Instructors Course

SINT MAARTEN/ANGUILLA - The Anguilla Red Cross held a Water Safety Instructor course from Thursday, June 8th, 2017 until Tuesday, June 13th, 2017. Red Cross St. Maarten joined this training and Mr. Travin Joseph was the representative of St. Maarten.

He participated in this course which consists of a total of 54 hours. The American Red Cross recently certified Travin Joseph including several others from Anguilla in the Water Safety Instructors course as of Tuesday, June 13, 2017.

Mr. Joseph represented his country to the best of his ability, and this is evident in him completing the Water Safety Instructors course final exams. The Water Safety Instructors candidates were trained in a swimming pool and this training extended out into the ocean.

Mr. Joseph has new plans on implementing swimming lessons on St. Maarten from the age of 6 months (infants). The following levels of training and certifications are Parent and Child Aquatics level 1-2, Preschoolers Aquatics level 1-2-3, learn to swim level 1-2-3-4-5-6, and Adult Swim.

The course was very interactive and demonstrative, candidates were taught to assist in a water emergency situation and to prevent water injuries. Mr. Joseph returned to St. Maarten and he is enthusiastic about starting the new water program for Red Cross St. Maarten. 


Dutch Muslim leaders call for ‘cool heads’ after attack on mosque in London

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – A leading Dutch Muslim organisation has appealed for calm in the wake of the attack on a mosque in London that left 10 people injured.

A white van ploughed into a crowd of people gathered outside the Finsbury Park mosque just after midnight on Monday. An elderly man who was being given first aid treatment outside the mosque died, but it is not clear if his death was a direct result of the attack.

A statement by the Council of Moroccan Mosques in the Netherlands, issued on Monday, said: ‘We ask the Dutch Muslim community to keep their heads and not let themselves be provoked by this.

‘That is exactly what terrorists want. They will only stop when our society has been torn apart. We will not let that happen.’ The council advised mosque administrators to consider whether they need extra security measures in the wake of the attack.

The organisation has also been in touch with the national co-ordinator for counter-terrorism and security. The driver of the white van in the London incident, a 48-year-old man, was arrested at the scene on suspicion of attempted murder after being overpowered by bystanders.

Eight people were taken to hospital while two others were treated at the scene for minor injuries. Police confirmed all the victims were Muslims. UK Prime Minister Theresa May branded it a terrorist attack and said the driver had ‘targeted the ordinary and the innocent going about their daily lives’. (DutchNews)


Island-wide release of Genetically Modified Mosquito’s

SINT MAARTEN/CAYMAN – Genetically modified mosquito’s will be released island-wide after the National Conservation Council approved without the need for a new independent risk assessment.

The Cayman Islands Mosquito Research and Control Unit, reportedly said the technique used is to fight disease-spreading Aedes aegypti mosquito that spreads dengue, chikungunya, and zika.

The program is expected to be rolled out island-wide early in 2018.  The company that the Cayman Islands Government is dealing with is Oxitec from the United Kingdom.

The Cayman Islands Department of Environment said that international risk assessments conducted in trials by U.S., Malaysia and Brazil, provided sufficient confidence to approve the application without further inquiries.

The Cayman Islands Mosquito Research and Control Unit will use this method to fight the mosquito challenge that the island has in addition to other techniques.



UPDATED: Invest 93-L could become Second Storm of the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season 

UPDATED: SINT MAARTEN/CARIBBEAN - Invest 93-L which is located in the northwestern Caribbean is becoming better organized this morning (Sunday) as satellite imagery indicates there is deep convection occurring across the northwestern Caribbean, Crown Weather reported on Sunday.

“The low pressure system associated with Invest 93-L is located just east of the Yucatan Peninsula. Barometric pressures just east of Cozumel are falling and the environmental conditions have become more favorable for development as compared to yesterday.

“The amount of wind shear around Invest 93-L are 20 knots or less and there is a upper level high pressure system very close by to the center of circulation. In fact, a closer look at the upper air conditions around this system indicates that some upper level outflow could be developing, but it seems to be displaced just southeast of the low pressure center. In fact, that upper level high pressure system is forecast to move in tandem with Invest 93-L for at least the couple of days leading to a favorable environment for additional development and intensification.

“Bottom line is thatI think Invest 93-L will become a tropical depression as soon as Monday and likely will strengthen into a tropical storm by about Tuesday as this system moves towards either the northern or western Gulf of Mexico.

Even though the model guidance has trended towards better agreement with each other, the individual models continue to have some very different outcomes on where Invest 93-L may head once it moves into the Gulf of Mexico. What is kind of “interesting” is that the latest forecast from the European model has trended a little towards the GFS model, but yet the Canadian model guidance has trended towards the European model.

“An analysis of water vapor satellite loops and the upper level winds across the Gulf of Mexico and the western Caribbean lends some credence to a northerly course towards the northern Gulf Coast, but probably not as far east as the GFS model which is forecasting a landfall in southern Alabama and the Florida Panhandle late Tuesday night.

“On the other hand, the European model guidance's forecast of a track into the western Gulf of Mexico may be too far west as water vapor satellite loops indicate a trough of low pressure is digging southward towards the western Gulf of Mexico which should steer any tropical system northward instead of westward.

“At this point, the Canadian model guidance may be a good “compromise” with a possible track north and northwestward across the Gulf of Mexico during Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday with a landfall somewhere along the upper Texas or Louisiana coast late Wednesday night or Thursday morning.

“The tropical cyclone track guidance is of little help as they are spread out with some of the guidance forecasting a track towards the Big Bend and Florida's west coast and other guidance forecasting a track towards the Texas coast.

“In addition, a majority of the European ensemble model member's track forecast for Invest 93-L are showing either a Louisiana or Texas impact from this system.

“Bottom line is that there continues to be a large amount of range in the model guidance and quite a bit of uncertainty regarding the eventual track of this system. My thinking right now is for a track towards either the middle and upper Texas coast or the southwestern or central coast of Louisiana for a landfall on Wednesday night or Thursday morning. With that said, I still cannot rule out a track northward towards the Florida Panhandle or the Alabama coastline.

It is extremely likely that Invest 93-L will become a tropical depression sometime on Monday as it moves into the southern Gulf of Mexico. From there, I think that it is also very likely that it will become a tropical storm probably on Tuesday as it moves northwestward reaching the central Gulf of Mexico.

“Beyond this, I'm leaning towards a scenario that consists of a tropical storm with 45 to 60 mph winds to come ashore somewhere along either the middle or upper Texas coast or southwestern or southern Louisiana (between Matagorda Bay, Texas and Vermilion Bay, Lousiana) late Wednesday night or Thursday morning. The main reason why for the shift north in the forecast track is because the trough of low pressure digging southwestward towards the western Gulf of Mexico should be able to impart enough of a pull northward to steer this system towards Louisiana or the middle/upper Texas coast.

“As I have already mentioned, I'm still not ruling out a further eastward track towards the Florida Panhandle or southern Alabama and it is something that will be watched for closely.

“Forecast Impacts:Heavy rainfall with the threat for flooding is expected to continue for the next couple of days across Central America, the Yucatan Peninsula, the Cayman Islands, western Cuba and Jamaica.

“From there, the combination of a eastward moving frontal boundary and the abundant moisture from this tropical system is likely to lead to heavy rainfall and flooding on the eastern side of this system. This means that the highest threat for heavy rainfall and flooding will be across southern and southeastern Louisiana, much of Mississippi, much of Alabama, central and southern Georgia, the Florida Panhandle and the northern and central Florida Peninsula starting on Monday night and Tuesday morning and continuing through Wednesday and Thursday. In addition, squally weather with wind gusts of up to 60 mph are possible along the entire Texas and Louisiana coasts from Wednesday into Thursday,” Crown Weather reports.

(SATURDAY, JUNE 17, 2017) SINT MAARTEN/CARIBBEAN - Satellite imagery is showing a large area of disturbed weather that is located over the western and northwestern Caribbean. Weather analysis indicates there is a broad area of low pressure that is associated with this area of disturbed weather, Crown Weather reported on Saturday.

 “Widespread shower and thunderstorm activity is occurring with the area of disturbed weather across much of the western Caribbean with heavy rainfall impacting parts of Central America, the Yucatan Peninsula, the Cayman Islands, western Cuba and Jamaica. Additional analysis reveals that the barometric pressures are falling across the northwestern Caribbean and the southern parts of the Gulf of Mexico. All of this tells me that this system is becoming better organized and I do think it will eventually become a tropical depression and then a tropical storm over the next few days or so as it moves from the northwestern Caribbean into the southern Gulf of Mexico. Finally, I fully expect to see this disturbed weather be designated Invest 93-L at some point this weekend.

“A review of the environmental conditions over the western Caribbean indicates that the shear has decreased from up to 40 knots at this time yesterday to current values of 20 to 30 knots. In addition, a small upper level ridge of high pressure is crossing Central America and this could lead to a further decrease in wind shear values and a more favorable environment for tropical development over the western Caribbean this weekend. At this point, I think we are at least 24 hours away from seeing this system try to really organize into a tropical depression. This means that I do not anticipate tropical development today with the development chances going way up by late Sunday and especially on Monday as this system moves into the southern Gulf of Mexico.

“Here are my thoughts: I think that there is a 85 percent chance that we will see a tropical depression form in the area from the western Caribbean into the southern Gulf of Mexico on either Sunday or Monday.

“The track forecast of the area of disturbed weather once it moves into the Gulf of Mexico is highly uncertain. There are two viable possibilities that I see –

“The first is for a large, weak and messy system that tracks west-northwestward towards northeast Mexico and the lower and middle Texas coast sometime on Wednesday or Thursday as it is influenced by a ridge of high pressure over the northern Gulf of Mexico.

“The second possible scenario is for enough of a trough of low pressure to sink southward into the southeastern United States leading to the area of disturbed weather being picked up and steered towards the Alabama or Florida Panhandle coastline.

“Even though there is a high amount of uncertainty in the forecast track – I am still leaning towards a large sloppy tropical storm with 40 to 60 mph winds track west-northwestward towards the western Gulf of Mexico on Monday and Tuesday. From there, this tropical storm is forecast to make landfall with 40-60 mph winds in northeastern Mexico or along the lower and middle Texas coast on either Wednesday or Thursday.

“Forecast Impacts: Heavy rainfall with the threat for flooding is expected this weekend into early next week across Central America, the Yucatan Peninsula, the Cayman Islands, western Cuba and Jamaica.

“From there, since this could be a large and wet system, heavy rainfall with the threat for flooding is forecast to impact a large area of the Gulf of Mexico, including southern Louisiana, south, central and southeast Texas and much of eastern Mexico starting around Tuesday and continuing through Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. In addition, squally weather with wind gusts of up to 60 mph are possible across northeast Mexico and along the lower and middle Texas coast during Wednesday and Thursday of next week,” Crown Weather concludes.


Road closure of A.J.C. Brouwers Road Monday Evening

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – Ministry of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Development and Infrastructure (Ministry VROMI), announces that there will be a temporary interruption in the traffic flow on part of the A.J.C. Brouwers Monday evening.  This closure was initially scheduled for June 14, but due to rainfall that evening, the works had to be postponed and rescheduled.

The road closure will be Monday evening, June 19 from 9.00pm to 5.00am.

Motorists are advised to be observant of detour and directional signs during the aforementioned hours.  Motorists heading to Cole Bay/Simpson Bay from Philipsburg/Cul de Sac, will have to use the Arlett Peters road (old Cake House road) or the Alexis Arnell Boulevard (Link 1 Phase 2). 

All motorised traffic coming from the Cole Bay area to Philipsburg/Cul de Sac must use the Alexis Arnell Boulevard.

The aforementioned closure is related to the painting of road markings on the A.J.C. Brouwers road from the Round-a-bout Cay Hill intersection to the Arlette Peters Road.

The aforementioned works will be carried out by Soualiga Infrastructure.

Ministry VROMI apologizes for any inconveniences this may cause.


More Movement for the Elderly this Saturday at St. Martin’s Home

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – More Movement for the Elderly, will take place on Saturday, June 17. 

Senior citizens are invited to the St. Martin’s Home which is located at St. John’s Estate road #6 for More Movement for the Elderly Fitness.

To stay healthy or to improve health, older adults need to do two types of physical activity each week: aerobic and muscle-strengthening activity.

Older adults aged 60 or older, who are generally fit and have no health conditions that limit their mobility, should try to be active daily.

The activity has been organized and coordinated over a one-year period by Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department from the Sint Maarten Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, the White and Yellow Cross Care Foundation (WYCCF), Windward Islands Physical Therapist Association (WIPTA) and I&I Fitness.

The Saturday activity is being coordinated by WIPTA from 10.30AM to 12.00PM at the aforementioned address.

It's recommended that adults aged 60 or older do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity such as cycling or fast walking every week, and muscle-strengthening activities that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms).

Some activity, however light, is better for your health than none at all.


Solution PCN Pension coverage being worked on

SABA/ST. EUSTATIUS - On Thursday June 15th, consultation took place between the Board of PCN (Pension Fund Caribbean Netherlands) and the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations and the Director of Rijksdienst Caribisch Nederland (RCN), the latter in their capacity as coordinating employer.

Central in this meeting was the urgent problem which the Board of PCN is facing with regard to the coverage level of the Pension Fund.

The parties are striving to, as soon as possible, find a solution to this problem. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)


19-Year old Suspect involved in home break-ins caught in the act

SAUNDERS - During the past few days several reports were made to the police department regarding home break-ins in the Saunders area.

On Thursday, June 15th at approximately 10.45 a.m. another such a call came from a resident of Queen of Flowers road to the Community Police Officer (CPO) of that area, who stated that an unknown person was busy breaking into her home. This information she had received from her daughter that is ill and alone at home.

The Central Dispatch immediately sent several police patrols to investigate what was taken place. On the scene a male suspect with initials K.S. (19) was arrested after he gained access to the home by forcing the locks of a glass sliding door.

Tools and other items used during this break-in was also found and confiscated for further investigation. The suspect was taken to the Philipsburg Police Station where he remains in custody.

The Police Department is encouraging residents of all neighbourhoods to join the “Look out Alert” group chats of their respective community and to remain in contact with their CPO.

In addition the police department wants to also improve the cooperation and communication by continuing to call in and share information with the police regarding any crime or criminal activity.

It is due to the great communication between the resident of this home and the CPO and the quick response of the police patrols that the suspect in this case was caught in the act and immediately arrested. (Sint Maarten Police Force)


16-Year old teen dies after attempting online ‘choking challenge’

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – A 16-year-old Dutch boy has died after carrying out an online challenge to auto asphyxiate, the Volkskrant reported on Thursday. The death is the first in the Netherlands to be attributed to the craze known as the ‘choking challenge’, in which the person cuts off the flow of oxygen to their brain to produce a feeling of euphoria, the paper said.

The craze is also known abroad as the ‘fainting game’. At first police thought Tim Reynders had committed suicide but were able to disprove the theory because the boy had filmed himself with the belt of a toweling dressing gown round his neck.

He then tripped on the stairs, became unconscious and subsequently died. The accident happened in May but the boy’s parents have now gone public, telling the Volkskrant in an interview that youngsters should be warned about the dangers attached to internet challenges.

The paper said two Belgian boys died in 2012 after choking themselves and a 13-year-old boy from Hilversum was in a coma for five days after attempting a challenge to eat a spoonful of powdered cinnamon.

Erasmus University professor Peter Nikken told the paper that structural policy is needed to teach teenagers how to deal with social media. ‘Teenagers try out things, it is in their nature,’ he said.

‘The story they are getting focuses on the positive effects, such as the fantastic high but if you talk about the risks – brain damage or a coma – you can temper that.’ Education about social media should also include digital bullying, he said. (DutchNews)

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