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Tourist Bureau/KLM sweepstakes attracts more than 120k participants

PHILIPSBURG - The St. Maarten Tourist Bureau (STB) iFly Sweepstakes, part of the cooperative marketing campaign between the STB and KLM Dutch Royal Airlines, has garnered a record breaking 120,000 plus participants, the highest number of any of the previous iFly sweepstakes from any destination.

The intention of the campaign was to promote St. Maarten in several key media channels of KLM. The campaign consisted of a full spread in iFly KLM Magazine, an online publication of KLM, and it included a “Little Secrets” video of St. Maarten.

The cooperative marketing campaign also contained the iFly Sweepstakes component that offered a chance to win a trip to St. Maarten from the Netherlands with KLM. “It was great the receive the news today that our sweepstakes had the biggest reach ever compared to previous destinations chosen by KLM, especially considering that some previous sweepstakes destinations were some of our biggest competitors,” Head of the STB Rolando Brison said.

“Every single one of those 120+ thousand participants made it clear 'we want to go to St. Maarten’, and the buzz about St.Maarten is still huge in the BeNeLux market as a result of this sweepstakes and promotional effort."

The sweepstakes package could be viewed on iFly Magazine Facebook page where one could have entered to participate in the sweepstakes until March 27. KLM informed STB on Tuesday that the winner of the sweepstakes is Charissa Nievaart who will be travelling to St. Maarten with her sister.

She has won:

-      2 KLM Economy Class round trip tickets to St. Maarten on April 28, 2017 (return on May 5)

-      5 nights at the Holland House Beach Hotel, including complimentary breakfast and Wi-Fi

-      A tour by Seagrape Tours

-      The 12 Metre Challenge

-      A welcome dinner

-      An island tour

-      A trip to Saba including a 2 night stay at the Juliana’s Hotel in Windwardside, air travel to and from Saba with Windward Island Airways, all meals at various restaurants, a diving or snorkeling excursion and an island excursion with a visit to local museums.

-      Pick up & Drop off to/from Princess Juliana International Airport

iFly Magazine is produced by Born05, an award-winning creative agency that delivers inspirational travel stories from around the world. KLM began direct weekly flights to St. Maarten from Amsterdam in October 2016 without the stop in Curaçao on the return flight, which saves passengers about four hours and 20 minutes in travelling time. This new service is operated with an Airbus 331-200 with room for 243 passengers. The new marketing campaign is an effort to ensure that these flights are filled.

The Benelux market remains an important source market for St. Maarten and to this end Aviareps, a full service marketing firm in the Netherlands, was appointed last year to represent St. Maarten in that market.

The cooperative marketing campaign with KLM will further enhance Aviareps efforts, which include several B2C and B2B marketing campaigns launched in the Benelux market to promote the island. With Aviareps, KLM and other key trade partners promoting St. Maarten, the island is receiving the needed exposure that is expected to result in an increase in the total number of visitors.

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Independence Foundation to Host Conference under Theme: ‘Severing Strings’ this Friday

GREAT BAY - The Independence for St. Martin Foundation will be hosting a conference on independence under the theme, “Severing Strings” this Friday, March 31st 2017, from 7:00pm to 9:00pm at SoIL (Source of Inspirational Learning).

Keynote speaker at the conference will be international consultant and United Nations Decolonization expert, Dr. Carlyle Corbin, who assisted St. Eustatius with its recent referendum.

The Caribbean has the largest concentration of non-self-governing territories in the world with over 20 such territories still maintaining one form of colonial ties or the other with their ertswhile European masters and the U.S.A. 

Six of these territories are under Dutch authority – Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Saba, St. Eustatius and St. Martin.

With the United Nations Third Decade for the Eradication of Colonies set to end in 2020, there is an urgent need to explore what the present realities are on these territories in terms of their quest for self-determination.

This conference is being organized to do just that with regards to the islands mentioned above that fall under Dutch responsibility.

The conference is open to the general public.

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USM to host 2018 International Island Conference Island States and Island Territories

POND ISLAND - The First “International Conference on Small Island States and Sub-National Island Jurisdictions”, March 11-14, 2018 will be hosted by the University of St. Martin (USM).

The theme of the conference is: “Island States and Island Territories: Sharing Stories of Island Life, Governance and Global Engagement”.

The main focus of the conference is on the differences and similarities between those islands that are fully independent “Small Island Developing States” (SIDs) and those that maintain some type of link with the former colonial power, the so-called “Sub-National Island Jurisdictions” or SNIJs.

One of the primary aims of the conference is to discuss the life, governance and global engagement on, for and with SIDS and SNIJs. One facet of the University of St. Martin’s 2017-year plan is to advance a trajectory for educational tourism.

In so doing, USM continues to position itself, not only as an institution of higher learning but also as a sought-after conference destination in the Caribbean region.

In keeping with this vision, USM has partnered with the UNESCO Chair in Island Studies and Sustainability, the University of Prince Edward Island and the University of Malta to co-organize and host the conference.

The International Steering Committee of the conference is co-chaired by Professor Godfrey Baldacchino and Dr. Jim Randall. It comprises scholars from academic institutions including the University of the West Indies, University of Amsterdam, Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies and Sheffield University.

USM’s Dean of Academics, Mrs. Genève Phillip-Durham described the opportunity to co-host the conference as monumental, “especially since the bi-national island of St. Martin is in fact home to two different sub-national island jurisdictions and is in close proximity to other SNIJs like Anguilla and the USVI, as well as SIDs such as St. Kitts and Dominica.

The conference would allow persons who live these realities, a forum to participate and contribute to conversations which have direct implications for them, so it is imperative that stakeholders in academia, government, private sector and civil society groups participate”.

Mrs. Phillip-Durham and Mr. Arjen Alberts have been appointed as co-chairs of the local organizing committee and are supported by the following committee members: Mr. Erwin Wolthuis, Ms. Jose Sommers, Ms. Khalilah Peters and Ms. Marcellia Henry.

The committee held their inaugural meeting last Thursday at USM and were keen on the opportunity to contribute to the execution of the Conference. According to Mr. Alberts, these committee members were appointed because of their respective expertise and competencies in the field of governance, culture, education and event organisation.

The call for papers is now in circulation and paper submissions which engage critically with multiple levels of island living can be submitted for consideration to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Further details can also be found on the conference website http://projects.upei.ca/unescochair/call-for-papers/ or by contacting the co-chairs of the local organizing committee at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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60 Solar Paneled Bus Shelters coming in Third Quarter of 2017

SOUTH REWARD - Minister Christopher Emmanuel of Ministry VROMI (Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Planning and Infrastructure Management) signed a MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with Adopt-A-Stop SXM to have approximately 60 solar paneled bus shelters constructed and installed which some will include USB portals for the use of the public for charging purposes for mobile devices.

The bus shelters will be placed in strategic locations throughout Sint Maarten. The project is expected to commence the latest in the third quarter of 2017.

At the moment the locations for the bus shelters are under review to ensure that they are placed in efficient locations. 

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Nature Foundation urges government to take action about the worrying situation of the Landfill

COLE BAY - After Sint Maarten once again experienced significant fires at the Philipsburg landfill, the St Maarten Nature Foundation has started a petition to urge Government to take action regarding the landfill and the frequent fires that have been plaguing the country.

“The dump in the Great Salt pond has been a problem for very long time and has been affecting the health of everyone living and visiting the island. The number of fires on the dump and their intensity are increasing.

“The fires and toxic fumes effects  the health of everyone living on St Maarten and is causing great health concerns; it is time to take action now to protect the health of St Maarteners,” read a Nature Foundation statement.

The Nature Foundation conducted a survey in early 2016 about the effects of the landfill fires on residents and the results show very worrying health concerns associated with the fires:

• All districts of Sint Maarten have been affected by the smoke caused by the landfill fires

• 35% frequently experience negative effects throughout the year from fumes coming from the landfill

• 50% of all respondents complained about trouble breathing due to the fumes coming from the landfill

• 73% of all respondents mentioned burning in their eyes, nose or throat

• 50% experienced burning, watering eyes because of the toxic fumes

• 30% experienced nausea combined with vomiting

• 50% experienced uncontrolled coughing

• And 40% have sought medical assistance because of health complications arising from the fumes caused by the landfill

A petition has been developed by the Nature Foundation urging the St Maarten Government to effectively protect the health of St Maarteners by Immediately taking action to prevent any further dump fires and to arrive at a sustainable solution for the dump and St Maarten’s waste management. Government should also take action to decrease garbage and waste input into the dump through significantly increasing recycling, ban disposable plastics and styrofoam’s, and to promote reusable products and recycling.

The Foundation asks St Maarterners to sign the petition to show and urge the Government to take immediate action. 

The petition can be found at change.org and a direct link can be found at the St Maarten Nature Foundation Facebook page.

The petition can be signed at https://www.change.org/p/st-maarten-government-take-action-about-the-worrying-situation-of-the-st-maarten-dump

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SZV ADDRESSES WAITING TIME FOR NEUROLOGY, NEUROSURGERY AND UROLOGY MEDICAL REFERRALS

PHILIPSBURG — Over the past year, Social & Health Insurances SZV has recognized an increase in the need of medical referrals abroad for Neurology, Neurosurgery and Urology.

Given the demand for continued care of SZV insured, SZV has made arrangements with Health City Cayman Islands (HCCI) to provide consultation and treatment for its insured with pending appointments for these specialties.

The first group of insured will travel on Wednesday March 29th to the Cayman Islands for consultation and treatment.

“We trust that this agreement with Health City Cayman Islands is an alternative that will not only reduce the waiting time but foremost offer quality care. It is imperative that our new general hospital becomes a reality; the medical referral abroad process continues to be a challenge that effects our insured, the funds and remains a logistical struggle.

“Thirty million guilders per year is being spent on referrals abroad. The new general hospital will not just be a facility, but it will allow us to house the medical care our people need close to home, improve recovery time and ease the financial burden of the funds managed by SZV.” – Glen A. Carty, Director SZV

Medical referrals abroad are facilitated by SZV for its insured when the required medical care is not available locally. Health City Cayman Islands is currently not in the Medical Referrals Abroad Network of destinations for SZV insured.

Patients scheduled for treatment to this hospital have been selected based on pending appointment requests dating back from October 2016 to February 2017 for Neurology, Neurosurgery and Urology only.

This arrangement with Health City Cayman will alleviate the waiting time for SZV insured and offer an alternative to the current network of international specialists contracted with SZV, addressing the current increase in demand.

SZV continues to strive for affordable quality care within its Medical Referrals Abroad network of medical providers, seeking the best available care for its insured. Persons seeking information on the medical referral process of SZV can find this on the website www.szv.sx.

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REAL AUTO HOSTS OFFICIAL GRAND OPENING RECEPTION AND UNVEILING OF NEW SUZUKI CAR MODELS

PHILIPSBURG - REAL AUTO was officially launched on Friday, March 24 with a champagne toast by the Honorable Prime Minister of St. Maarten, William Marlin, along with REAL AUTO's Management Team comprised of Karl Nassief, Managing Director, Felix Nevarez, General Manager, Eric Vlaun, Sales Manager, and various esteemed guests.

"These are merely the beginning stages of our commitment to serving the community of St. Maarten with world class operations," shared Nassief, a business leader with a group of diverse companies throughout the Caribbean.

Also included, was the unveiling of the 2017 Suzuki Baleno & Ignis with a showcase of the innovative designs, improved functions, and long-term durability of these vehicles. They are currently available to the community of St. Maarten as part of REAL AUTO's Grand Opening promotion at great value prices for a limited time only.    

"Many thanks to the Real Auto Team, as well as our customers, business partners, associates, family and friends. For us it's about forging lasting REALationships!" said Felix Nevarez, Real Auto's General Manager.

Real Auto's Official Launch was a festive event that left a positive impression, with an uplifting indication that there was much more to come in Real Auto's "world class operations."

The company cemented its commitment to continue to grow along with the community of St. Maarten/St. Martin on a quest to make a REAL DIFFERENCE in automotive sales and services. At Real Auto, the slogan "the REAL DEAL," is founded upon principles of the dealership’s quality automobile brands-Toyota, Suzuki and Chevrolet, durable vehicles, value prices, dedicated after sales services, genuine parts, state-of the art equipment in the Service and Body Shop Departments, as well as ongoing staff professional development and, REAL customer care at the core of its business operations.

The development of people and the communities that they serve is continuously at the forefront of Real Auto’s operations.  "We remain committed to providing quality vehicles, authentic products and genuine services to our customers to ensure a level of satisfaction that is essential in our quest to forge life-long relationships and long-term partnerships with the community of St. Maarten/St. Martin,” says Nevarez.

For further information on Toyota, Suzuki, Chevrolet vehicles, parts, products and services please contact Jacqueline Louis, Real Auto's Marketing Manager at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it./ This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or (721) 542-2318/ 542-0100.

PHOTO: Management Team of Real Auto's along with Prime Minister William Marlin (2nd from left) at the reception. (Photo contributed)

PMToast03.17 2

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Ticket promotion for TelCell Night of the Hit Makers sells out in 15 Minutes

POND ISLAND - It was billed as a 25-25-25 ticket promotion, however it was the number 15 that captured all the attention during tickets sales Saturday, for Carnival’s Flagship show – TelCell Night of the Hit Makers.

Bang on 25 Minutes past noon, on the 25th day and selling for $25, show promoters, Extratight Entertainment began their ticket promotion sale for those keen to purchase their tickets early.

The sale was held at TelEm Group’s Grand Marche branch and was expected to last one hour, however due to the huge number of music lovers waiting inside and outside, it was all over in just 15 minutes - with all 200 available $25 tickets completely sold out.

The first 25 persons in line also received a free $5.00 Top-up from TelCell, in effect only paying $20 for their $25 ticket.

“It was just crazy,” said Extratight Entertainment sales team, Shasca Fleming-Rey and Nalajsha Agard, who were caught off-guard by the number of persons standing in line to purchase four and five tickets at a time.

“Unfortunately we had to disappoint quite a few people when the supply of $25 tickets ran out, but after people requested $30 tickets, we were able to oblige them even though that was not the plan for the day’s promotion,” said Shasca.

She said the music fans seemed more than happy to pick up their tickets at the higher price with many of them determined not to return home empty handed.

“We are very excited and thrilled that there is so much interest in what “Mr. Rude” is planning for our 5th Anniversary Night of the Hit Makers,” said Shasca, hinting that there are sure to be other promotions and giveaways for the show from the promoters and also from the show sponsor, TelCell before the actual night.

“We had the same kind of interest shown two years ago when we also sold out at this time, so everyone, get ready to rock the Festival Village. Anyone who is not there on the night will be missing out on something really special,” stated Schasca.

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EPIC and SHTA sign Collaborative Agreement towards Sustainable Tourism

PHILIPSBURG - On Thursday March 23rd the partnership between the Sint Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA) and the local non-profit foundation Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (EPIC), was strengthened by the signing of the collaborative agreement to promote sustainable tourism through the Blue Flag and Green Key eco-label awards.

The event was held at Holland House Beach Hotel in Philipsburg, the newest Green Key awarded site for Sint Maarten, in anticipation of the official Green Key Award ceremony and sustainability expo which acknowledges the exceptional efforts of the awardees, being in the forefront of sustainable tourism for the hotel industry.

The event, to be held in May, will also award Princess Heights Luxury Boutique Condo Hotel for its third consecutive year as a Green Key Hotel.

Both parties were excited to finalize the long-awaited agreement which highlights the dedication, support and advocacy for the Green Key and Blue Flag programs amongst tourism businesses in St. Maarten.

The Collaboration agreement was signed by Mr. Rueben J. Thompson, EPIC Executive Board Treasurer and Paul J. Henriquez, SHTA Executive Board and was witnessed by Fleur Hermanides, Executive Board member of EPIC and project manager of SXM DOET and Wyb Meijer, SHTA Executive Director.

“EPIC has been working for many years to further develop sustainable tourism for Sint Maarten and SHTA has been a key partner in that effort. We appreciate the vision and concern of SHTA in committing to promoting best practices among its members and their customers. To really stand out from the crowd, St. Maarten can offer not just the standard Caribbean sun, sand, and sea, but an environmentally-responsible experience that guests can feel proud to support, further building their ties to the island," noted the President of EPIC, Natalia Collier.

The SHTA Board Member Paul Henriquez commented “This collaboration represents the effort of the SHTA to support and promote sustainability amongst its members and to work with EPIC towards making the environment of St. Maarten a better place for the community”.

Environmental Protection in the Caribbean is the National Operator for the international Green Key award for accommodations and restaurants and international Blue Flag award for marinas, boats and beaches, which is managed globally by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE).

Any business interested in learning more about applying for the award programs can visit www.epicislands.org or contact EPIC’s Eco-label Coordinator, Ms. Elisa Oldani at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or on 554-0742.

The SHTA, the largest business representative on the island, is dedicated to bringing quality to all aspects of life on St. Maarten by promoting sustainable economic development for its members in cooperation with the social partners and the creation of a fair marketplace.

For more information, please contact the SHTA office: 542-0108, e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit our website www.shta.com

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The public should avoid consuming meat product originating out of Brazil and remain vigilant

POND ISLAND - In light of the recent scandal in Brazil which emerged last Friday after Brazil's national police announced the findings of a two-year investigation, many countries have banned importation of Brazilian meat products, a press release from the Cabinet of the Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA) said on Sunday.

“Practices of two of the giant meatpackers - JBS and BRF remain under investigation as a result of allegations that they had been selling rotten, contaminated and substandard products for several years.

“Authorities have reported that the companies used chemicals to improve the appearance and smell of expired meats, and that meat processing plants allegedly paid off inspectors from the Ministry of Agriculture to turn a blind-eye to their actions.

Up to this moment, the Inspectorate on St. Maarten cannot obtain comprehensive information in this regard, and therefore for safety purposes, has recommended that wholesalers, retailers (mini- and supermarkets), and any food establishment that have imported meat and meat products from any of the companies under suspicion, and have these products for sale are instructed not to serve these products to the public and must remove these products from the shelves effective immediately.

“The public should avoid consuming meat product originating out of Brazil and remain vigilant. Read the labeling on meat packaging when making purchases in order to identify where the meat product has originated from. For example, canned meat such as corn beef that was packaged in Brazil should not be consumed.

“Furthermore, the Inspectorate has imposed a temporary ban on all imports of Brazilian meat products and poultry meat from the companies highlighted in the Brazilian ‘rotten meat’ scandal with immediate effect.

“The ban will be implemented in collaboration with the Department of Economics (TEZVT) and will be lifted depending on developments in Brazil. All future imports of meat or meat products must be accompanied by a Health Certificate (sanitary certificate) issued by the official government authority.

“Any cargo of meat or meat products originating from Brazil that are not accompanied by a Health Certificate will be confiscated and destroyed. The Inspectorate already began strengthening its surveillance, both at the point of entry as well as the retail level.

Brazil must now demonstrate that it has put an effective meat traceability system in place. The Inspectorate of VSA will continue monitoring the developments and provide update when available,” the press release from the Cabinet of the Minister VSA concludes.

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