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Prime Minister Marlin & Minister Jacobs attend Fish Day 2017 Festivities

FRENCH CUL DE SAC - On Sunday May 7th Prime Minister the Honorable William Marlin & Minister of Education Culture Youth & Sport the Honorable Silveria Jacobs attended the annual Fish Day Festivities in French Cul-de-sac.

President of the Collectivite of St. Martin Daniel Gibbs, during the Opening Ceremony for Fish Day thanked both Ministers representing the Government of St Maarten for their presence at the event.

In his opening remarks President Gibbs outlined the importance of the agriculture & fisheries sectors as important industries to help stimulate economic activity on French St. Martin.

As part of the Opening Ceremony for Fish Day Prime Minister Marlin & Minister Jacobs were invited to accompany President Gibbs and other invited guest aboard a traditional fishing vessel to lay a wreath at sea.

The traditional laying of the wreath at sea, is in honor of fishermen that have passed away and who contributed to the establishment of the fishing tradition and industry on French St. Martin. Resident of French Cul-de-sac Mr. Laurence was also on-board the fishing vessel and read the names of the fishermen before the wreath was laid in the waters.

The Fish Day Opening Ceremony concluded with a traditional seafood breakfast which included salt-fish & baked journey cakes with bush tea and fresh local juices.


Caribbean Banks See Rise in Cyber Attacks

SINT MAARTEN/By GERARD BEST - Imagine doing a routine check on your bank account only to discover that an entire month’s worth of credit had been swiped from your card. The nightmare became reality for one elderly Belizean couple, who fell victim to identity theft. 

For Alejandro and Leandra Chulin, the story started five years ago with a troubling phone call from their son, who was at the time studying abroad. He had been trying to use their credit card but couldn’t. A few quick checks with the bank confirmed their worst fears. Someone had already maxed out the limit, racking up enough purchases to leave the Chulins in the hole to the tune of several hundreds.

The money was recovered but the trauma remains. And now that Belize is taking much-needed steps to address identity theft and other cyber threats, the Chulins are making the most of an unprecedented opportunity to lend their voice to the national effort and to learn how to be more cyber safe.

The country’s recently concluded national cybersecurity symposium brought together bankers and customers to put a spotlight on the growing incidence of cybercrimes against banks. While the Chulins sat in a forum designed to explain cyber threats to the general public, the country’s finance sector representatives gathered at the Central Bank for a special forum focusing on practical strategies to defend against escalating cyber-attacks against financial institutions.  

The weeklong meeting highlighted major gaps in the region's readiness to respond to cyberattacks on financial institutions.

“The threats are not imminent, they are here. There are exploits that are occurring all across the Caribbean,” said Carlton Samuels, an independent IT consultant and lecturer at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus in Jamaica.

“It is commendable that Belize is developing a national framework for building awareness, regulatory responses, detection and prevention,” he added.

Samuels was among several regional and international cybersecurity experts addressing participants on technical issues such as the vulnerabilities of automated teller machines and social issues such as email fraud via phishing attacks.

The panel covered a broad range of topics, including how to detect security attacks, the pros and cons of public disclosure of cyber-attacks, and best practices for recovering from cyber-attacks. 

The symposium, held from April 24 to 28, was organised jointly by the Belize Public Utilities Commission and the Caribbean Network Operators Group, a non-profit organization which works to safeguard the region’s computer networks.

"Cybersecurity is a priority for the entire Caribbean. As our citizens, businesses, financial institutions and governments place greater reliance on Internet-based technologies, greater attention has to be paid to increasing our capacity to protect our computer networks and systems. And the crafting of any solution has to involve as many viewpoints as possible,” said Bevil Wooding, one of the organizers of the event and an Internet Strategist at US-based Packet Clearing House.

"That’s why a wholistic, national approach, as seen in Belize, is the best way to address the issues related to cybersecurity."

More than 700 stakeholders took part in the weeklong national symposium, including law enforcement officers, judges, lawyers, business executives, government officials, computer network professionals, educators and other concerned citizens.

On the back of this historic event, the nation of Belize has emerged as an unlikely leader in the region, presenting a model for how other Caribbean jurisdictions can prepare for, defend against and respond to growing cyber threats.


Removal of Bollards on Front and Back Street starts on Sunday

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – Ministry of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Development and Infrastructure (Ministry VROMI), announces that the removal of bollards on Front and Back Street will commence on Sunday, May 7 up until and including Tuesday, May 9.

The removal of the bollards will be carried out between 7.00am and 4.00pm. There will be a temporary road closure in the area where the bollard is being removed. Once the bollard has been removed, the road will be re-opened.

Motorized traffic will be allowed on Monday and Tuesday in the morning for the drop-off of school children and in the afternoon for pick-up.

The works will be carried out by personnel from Ministry VROMI.

Ministry VROMI apologizes for any inconveniences this may cause.


Memorial Day: A day to appreciate our freedom

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – On Thursday May 4, the Government of Sint Maarten observed Memorial Day, (“Dodenherdenkingsdag”) similar to the other countries within the Dutch Kingdom, at the Captain Hodge Wharf in Philipsburg. 

“During this National Commemoration Day” all Dutch victims – civilians and soldiers – who have been killed or murdered in the Kingdom of the Netherlands or anywhere else in the world in war situations or during peace-keeping operations since the outbreak of the Second World War,” were commemorated (

A short ceremony took place on Thursday afternoon that also included a number of dignitaries including President of the Collectivite of St. Martin Daniel Gibbs, who had earlier paid a courtesy call on the Prime Minister.

Those taking part in the official wreath laying ceremony were Acting Governor Reynold Groeneveldt, President of Parliament Sarah Wescot-Williams and Prime Minister William Marlin.

PHOTO CUTLINE: L to R: Prime Minister William Marlin, President of the Collectivite St. Martin Daniel Gibbs, Acting Governor of Sint Maarten Reynold Groeneveld, and President of Parliament Sarah Wescot-Williams. (DCOMM Photo)

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Change in Driver’s License Examination Law as of May 1st

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – Section Transportation that falls under the Ministry Tourism, Economic Affairs, Traffic and Telecommunications (Ministry TEATT), hereby notifies all concerned, that as of May 1st, 2017, driver’s license candidates will sit exams on two separate days instead of one.

The aforementioned has already been discussed with the Driving Schools, and they have also been provided with copies of the law.   

The theoretical part of the examination will be carried out on one day while the practical part will be carried out on another day.

The change came about after a review of the examination process.  Driver’s license candidates will have more time to focus on the theoretical part of the examination after giving them a day to fully focus on how to apply the traffic rules of the land.

Another forthcoming change, the current theoretical exam is done orally, and preparations are underway to change this where the examination will be done digitally in the English and Dutch languages.  

Section Transportation has been working with the Driving Schools and this should be implemented in the third quarter of 2017.

Section Transportation is here to ensure that the country maintains an effective program of driver testing which leads to licensed drivers having a level of competency consistent with safe driving habits and practices on Sint Maarten roads.

Section Transportation is located at Cannegieter Street #23 upstairs, next to Sister Borgia School in Philipsburg. 

Those requiring information can call 542-5641 or 542-4509 during office hours for any queries that you may have. The department may also be contacted via email at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Urgent Plenary Session of Parliament about the new hospital, SMMC and health set for Friday

PHILIPSBURG – The House of Parliament will sit in an urgent plenary public session on May 5. The Minister Public Health, Social Development and of Labor will be present. 

This meeting was requested by Members of Parliament, F.A. Meyers, T.E. Leonard, S.M. Bijlani, T.E. Heyliger and C.M.M. Connor, is a continuation of the meeting that started on Friday, March 31, 2017.

The urgent plenary public meeting will reconvene on Friday, May 5, 2017 at 10.00 hrs in the General Assembly Chamber of the House at Wilhelminastraat #1 in Philipsburg.  This session will be carried via Soualiga Newsday live video feed.

The agenda point is:

Developments of the new hospital for Sint Maarten as well as current state of S.M.M.C. and health. 

Members of the public are invited to the House of Parliament to attend parliamentary deliberations.  

The House of Parliament is located across from the Court House in Philipsburg.



SINT MAARTEN/BARBADOS - Less than a year after its launch, CIBC FirstCaribbean’s mobile banking app has been named best in the region.

The regional bank’s credit card products were also named best in the region by International Finance Magazine (IFM) in its International Finance Awards for 2017.

The International Finance Awards recognize and honor individuals and organizations in the international finance industry and celebrates the highest standards of innovation and performance. The awards highlight those who make a contribution to raising the bar in the financial industry.

This year’s winners will be honored at a gala event and presentation ceremony in Dubai. The ceremony brings together a Who’s Who of the international finance community together under one roof.

“We are delighted to have won these two prestigious awards,” said Trevor Torzsas, the bank’s Managing Director, Cards and Customer Relationship Management under whose portfolio the winning products fall.

“These awards are a fitting tribute to the hard work of our dedicated team of client-focused professionals whose daily mission is to provide our clients with excellent banking products and services that fit their lives,” he added.

“We were able to impress the judges with our highly rated mobile app, which has been receiving high praise from our clients, along with the impressive suite of credit card products that we have introduced to the market, most recently our CHIP, PIN and Contactless cards and our Cash Back card,” Torzsas added.

Since its launch last June, the bank’s mobile app for smartphones has been downloaded by thousands of clients and has been consistently rated 4.5 and higher by users.

The app which can be downloaded from the playstore, the apple store and blackberry world is accessed via Android, Apple, Blackberry and Windows devices. It affords users the convenience of checking their account balances, transferring funds between accounts or to other CIBC FirstCaribbean clients, paying bills and locating branches and Instant Tellers™, all from their mobile device.

In addition to the CHIP, PIN and Contactless technology, the bank’s credit card products were recognized for the variety of cards on offer, co-branding, loyalty programme, customer service and security.

CIBC FirstCaribbean offers a variety of credit cards including, 4 Travel Rewards Cards: Gold, Platinum, British Airways, Infinite, 1 Everyday Cash Back card, 3 Cobranded: University of the West Indies, Simpson Motors and British Airways and two business cards: Bizline rewards and a Corporate card.

Clients can apply online or at any one of our branches for the card that best suits their business or lifestyle.


Tax Administration closed on Thursday May 4th

PHILIPSBURG - The Tax Administration (Receiver's Office & Tax Office) within the Ministry of Finance hereby informs the general public that the offices will be closed on Thursday May 4th.

The closure is to allow staff members to pay their respect at the funeral services of Civil Servant, Head of the Inspectorate Department Ms. Maria Bass.

On behalf of management and the entire staff of the Tax Administration Sherry Hazel expresses her condolences to the family and friends of their former colleague. Ms Maria Bass was a hard and dedicated senior worker at the Tax Administration and her faithful service will be missed by all.

The Tax Administration apologizes to the general public or any potential inconvenience this closure may cause.


Family doctors say they risk becoming overloaded as work shifts

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The Dutch family doctors association LHV says its members are becoming overloaded with extra work as part of government efforts to shift treatment from hospitals to GPs.

Family doctors carry out many hospital services for lower rates and the government is keen to see this continue. In addition, GPs are playing a bigger role in helping the elderly remain in their own homes.

However, the LHV says in order to cope, doctors will need to see fewer patients. At the moment, the average practice has 2,200 patients but this must be cut to 1,800, the LHV says.

‘We want research carried out into what will be needed in terms of doctors, specialists and buildings in the mid-term,’ spokeswoman Ella Kalsbeek told Radio 1 news. ‘There is not a shortage of family doctors at the moment, but we might need more in the future.’  (DutchNews)


Road closures for upcoming parades and jump up

PHILIPSBURG - In connection with the upcoming Grand Parade scheduled for May 1st, the Second Day Parade scheduled for May 2nd and the closing Jump up scheduled for May 3rd the Police Department is announcing the following road closures.

Grand Parade May 1st 2017

The parade is scheduled to start at 10.00 a.m. leaving the entrance of Sint Johns Ranch on the L.B. Scot road with the following route: Sint Johns Estate road/ L.B. Scot road/Bush road/W.J.A. Nisbeth road/Percy Labega Street/Long wall road/Kerkhof Steeg/Front Street/ Emma plein/ Welvaart Brug/Buncamper road/Freedom Fighter Round About/W.J.A. Nisbeth road/ Salt Picker round about/ Soualiga Boulevard ending in front of the Festival Village.

At 06.00 a.m.: Front Street and all alleys leading into Front Street will be closed.

At 08.30 a.m.: L.B. Scot road closed at Gladiola road. No traffic in the direction of Sint Peters.                                 L.B. Scot road closed at Arbutus road. No traffic in the direction of Church hill round about.

At 10.40 a.m.: L.B. Scot road closed at Church hill round about. No traffic in the direction of Gladiola road.

At 11.20 a.m.: A.J.C. Brouwers road closed at Church hill round about. No traffic direction Bush road and Zagersgut road.

At 11.40 a.m.: Prins Bernard Brug closed at Walter Nisbeth road. No traffic direction Bush road.

At 12.20 p.m.: Long wall road and A. Th. Illidge road closed at Prins Bernard Brug. No traffic direction Walter Nisbeth road.

At 12.30 p.m.: Walter Nisbeth road closed at Percy Labega Street. No traffic direction Prins Bernard Brug. Cannegieter Street closed at Percy Labega Street. Back Street closed at Kerkhof Str. No traffic direction Kerkhof str. Long wall road closed at Percy Labega Street. No traffic direction Kerkhof Str.

At 01.30 p.m.: Little Bay road closed at Fort Willem road. No traffic direction Kerkhof Str. and Front Street.

At 03.30 p.m.: Juancho Yrausquin Boulevard closed at Welvaart brug. No traffic direction Buncamper road. Buncamper road closed at Freedom Fighters round about. No traffic direction Juancho Yrausquin Boulevard.

At 04.10 p.m.: Suckergarden road closed at Freedom Fighters round about. No traffic direction Walter Nisbeth road. Walter Nisbeth road closed at Salt Pickers round about. No traffic direction Freedom Fighters round about.

At 04.40 p.m.: Soualiga Boulevard closed at Rock Salt drive. No traffic direction Salt Pickers round about. Peterson Street closed at Salt Picker round about. No traffic direction Salt Picker round about. Walter Nisbeth road closed at Codville Webster Street. No traffic direction Salt Pickers round about.

Second Day Parade, May 2nd 2017

The parade is scheduled to start at 12.00 p.m. on the Soualiga road in front of the Festival Village with the following route: Soualiga road/ Salt Picker round about/W.J.A. Nisbeth road/Percy Labega Street/Long Wall road/ Kerkhof steeg/Front Street/Emma Plein/Welvaart Brug/Buncamper road/Freedom Fighters round about/Walter Nisbeth road/Salt Pickers Round about/Soualiga road and ending in front of the Festival Village.

During the passing of the parade all streets and alleys connected to the route will be closed for motor vehicle traffic. After the parade has passed all streets and alleys connected to the route will be reopened to traffic.

Closing Jump up, May 3rd 2017

The Jump up is scheduled to start at 08.00 p.m. on the Welgelegen road with the follow route. Welgelegen road/ A.J.C. Brouwers road/Church hill round about/Bush road/Prins Bernard brug/Walter Nisbeth road/Salt Picker round about/Soualiga Boulevard and ending in front of the Festival Village. All streets and alleys connected to this route will be closed to all motor vehicle traffic during the passing of the Jump up. After the jump up has passed all street and alleys will be reopened to motor vehicle traffic.

All drivers should take good note of these road closures. They should use alternative routes to get to and from their destination to avoid any unnecessary inconvenience. (Police Force Sint Maarten)

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