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Rigorous Economic Controls ongoing

POND ISLAND - Minister Responsible for Economic Affairs Mellissa Arrindell-Doncher has dispatched the controllers of the Economic Control Department to conduct rigorous controls of supermarkets and business that sell hurricane items.

After reports of exorbitant prices, the Minister had already warned last week that any business caught price gouging will be severely fined. The Minister also announced that the list of the max prices for hurricane items is available for download on government’s website (www.sintmaartengov.org) under the “announcements” section of the website. This will also be available via the Government of St. Maarten Facebook page.

For complaints against businesses selling listed goods higher than the established maximum price, please submit a copy of the invoice, your name and contact information to the Inspectorate of TEATT located at Tamarindesteeg #16, Yellow Building or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The Minister also used the opportunity to praise the Economic Controllers for being dedicated to their task even while some have suffered personal damage after hurricane Irma. “Despite their personal circumstances, the controllers are out there performing their duties and making sure that business abide by the law. I want to express my heartfelt thanks to them for such dedication,” the Minister said.  

control inside

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Tourism Minister shifts focus to vital economic recovery plan

POND ISLAND - Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Traffic and Telecommunications (TEATT) Mellissa Arrindell-Doncher met with the management team of TEATT on Saturday to discuss strategy and actions moving forward for the entire Ministry.

Discussions during the meeting on Saturday centered around the Ministry’s vital input in drafting a short and long term economic recovery plan, with a tourism recovery plan at its core. The formalizing of this cohesive plan will also include other departments and arms of government, however, the Minister stressed, TEATT because of its sheer nature will play an important role.

The Minister has been active with coordinating relief flights into St. Maarten from commercial airlines as well as evacuating people via these same airlines and military flights. She has now shifted focus to the economic recovery plan that will be drafted.

“Together with private sector partners we must develop a vision, goals and projects that would move St. Maarten along the road to full recovery,” the Minister said, adding that an economic summit was already in the planning pre-hurricane Irma. The destruction wrought by hurricane Irma, she said, puts that initiative in a completely different light with added urgency.

“We will have to rebuild our economy based on our strengths and diversify our economic engines. The economic impact of the storm will not be clear with any degree of accuracy for a while, but we expect Irma to be the mostly costly hurricane in the history of St. Maarten when all is said and done.

“It is obviously disruptive to an economy that already was facing challenges. Our plan moving forward must focus on realistic recovery goals, sustainable reconstruction long-term revitalization of the economy. Everyone’s input would be vital,” the Minister said.

The Minister noted positively that there is no shortage of advice being offered from many of St. Maarten’s strategic partners such as Carnival Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, various airlines and others. Moreover, she expects to get on the same page with entities such as the Chamber of Commerce and the St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association (SHTA) sooner rather than later.

The management team of the Ministry consists of all department heads of the seven departments for which the Minister is responsible. Though she was briefed in general over the past few days, the Minister used the opportunity to formally ascertain the functioning capabilities of the departments and the well-being of the staff. 

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47 Dutch police officers arrive on Sint Maarten

PHILIPSBURG - On Friday September 15th 47 police officers from the Netherlands arrived on Sint Maarten and also on Sunday September 17th eight officers from the BES-islands (Caribisch Nederland) and 13 from the V.K.C (Curacao) arrived on the island to assist the Police Force of Sint Maarten (KPSM) in collaboration with police forces from Aruba and Curacao, the Royal Marechausse, the Customs department, V.K.S and the Dutch Marines in helping country Sint Maarten get back on track after the devastation by hurricane Irma.

They will assist in various assigned tasks including combating the violation of the curfew, dealing with looters and mainly providing safety and security to the entire community. A “Zero Tolerance” policy is in place.

On Saturday, all 40 officers from the Netherlands were sworn at Divi Little Bay Hotel by the Honorable Minister of Justice Rafael Boasman in the presence of the Chief of Police Carl John.

The Minister welcomed the officers to Sint Maarten and told them that there is a lot of work to be done and he is confident that with their assistance these entire operations will be successful as the island braces itself for the passing of hurricane “Maria”. (Sint Maarten Police Force)

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SZV Clients on Curacao: Contact Info Provided for Doctors and Pharmacies

SINT MAARTEN/CURACAO - Sint Marten’s “Social & Health Insurances” (Sociale Ziektekosten Verzekering – SZV) herewith requests the attention of all our SZV-Clients who are now temporary living in Curaçao for the following important information.

For medical treatment on Curacao, our SZV-Clients can contact the following general practitioners:

  • Medical Center Aesculapius - SBN Doormanweg 47 Tel: 737 0522
  • Dr. R. Filet - Winston Churchillweg 131 Tel: 888 232
  • Medical Center Sòrsaka Caracasbaaiweg 274 Tel: 7360530
  • Medical Center Sta. Rosa   Sta. Rosaweg 329 Tel: 767 6666
  • Medical Center de Savaan De Savaan 109-A   Tel: 868 3035

In case of emergency, please call one of the above mentioned general practitioner’s offices/institutions to obtain the number of the doctor(s) on duty.

Please do not go to the Emergency Ward at the St. Elisabeth Hospital without having contacted the doctor on duty before you go to the Emergency Ward. 

Pharmacist’s services are available for our SZV-Clients at:

  • Botika Mahaai -  SBN Doormanweg 51  Tel: 738 3366
  • Botika Sòrsaka - Caracasbaaiweg 274-A Tel: 512 6633
  • Botika Mampuritu -  Sta. Rosaweg 329  Tel: 767 4750
  • Botika De Savaan   De Savaan 109-A Tel: 888 7717

For any medical information, our SZV-Clients in Curaçao can contact:

  • Dr. Marly Oosterhof – tel.: (5999) 522 4957 or
  • Ms Tessa Jansen - tel.: (5999) 516 6663
  • Mw. Joanne Schet, tel: (+5999) 516 6663
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Carnival Corp Delegation Meets with Minister of Tourism and Port St. Maarten Board & Management

PORT ST. MAARTEN – A delegation from Carnival Corporation & PLC lead by President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Arnold Donald, met with the Minister of Tourism & Economic Affairs Mellissa Arrindell-Doncher, and members of Port St. Maarten Board and Management on Friday afternoon regarding the status of the country’s port facilities and the destination.

The Carnival Corporation delegation told the Minister and Port St. Maarten representatives about the cruise lines love for the destination and that they are here to support the people and the country.

They added that they are excited about the spirit and determination of the people they have met with so far with respect to the rebuilding of the country.

Port St. Maarten Management and Board briefed the Carnival delegation about the current state of affairs at the Dr. A.C. Wathey Cruise & Cargo Facilities.

Information was also provided about the Great Bay Beach Promenade, the commercial center of Philipsburg, Front Street, beaches, shore excursions, among other tourism related services.

Port St. Maarten has already contacted tour operators for status updates pertaining to their readiness for the upcoming cruise season.

Carnival Corporation was very pleased with the positive attitude, forward thinking and outlook displayed during the meeting on Friday.

 

PHOTO CUTLINE: Group photo of Port St. Maarten Board and Management Team as well as representatives of Carnival Corp & PLC.

Port Board Mngt and Carnival Group Pix

 

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Safety and Security under Control

PHILIPSBURG - The joint taskforce consisting of members representing the police forces from Aruba and Curacao, the Royal Marechaussee, the V.K.S., the Customs Department under the leadership the Sint Maarten Police Force continue to work diligently to maintain the safety and security situation on the Dutch side of the island totally under control.

Joint patrols continue to carry out general controls and other safety and security checks continue to take place on a 24 hours basis.

Police also continue to monitor the situation at all water and supplies distribution locations to make sure that this process takes place safe and without incident. Thus far no incidents have been reported. Gasoline stations and other businesses are gradually reopening to the public and also being monitored by police.

The curfew that was issued by the Honorable Prime Minister William Marlin is being strictly enforced and those in violation of the curfew are being arrested and put through the judicial process.

On Thursday, September 14th eight persons were arrested by police, seven of which were for violating the curfew and one for another offense.  All suspects were brought to the Philipsburg Police Head Quarters where they held during the night.

These suspects will face the Public Prosecutor on Friday September 15th who will decide how this case will be handled further. These controls will continue indefinitely.

Police have also encountered many persons walking or driving on the streets while the curfew is in effect. The persons mostly claim that they have been working until late and were on their way home.

The Police Department is hereby informing all business managers/owners that the curfew applies to everyone and that they should take all necessary measures to make sure their employees are allowed to leave the workplace in time for them not to be in violation of the curfew and to experience any unnecessary delays or inconveniences. (Sint Maarten Police Force)

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Statement of the Prime Minister Marlin on Rebuilding Efforts

POND ISLAND – Prime Minister William Marlin issued the following address to the media on Friday with respect to the current rebuilding of the nation efforts that are underway.

The Prime Ministers message is as follows:
WHILE THE DEVASTATION OF THIS TRAGEDY IS STILL VERY PRESENT TO ALL OF US, AND THE PAIN STILL QUITE RAW,
I ASK YOU TODAY TO UNITE TOGETHER.

WE ARE A NATION OF STRONG-WILLED, HUMANE AND COMPASSIONATE PEOPLE. AS YOUR LEADER, I TOO, FEEL THE DISTRESS WHEN I WAKE EACH MORNING TO REALIZE THE DEVASTATION OF OUR BELOVED SINT MAARTEN.

HOWEVER, WHILE SOME MAY THINK THAT THE OBVIOUS BEAUTY OF OUR NATION HAS BEEN LOST IN THE DESTRUCTION;
I INSIST THAT YOU ARE THE BEAUTY – THE POWER OF OUR PEOPLE, AND THE POWER OF COLLABORATION AND KINDNESS – AND TOGETHER, WE ARE ALL THE HOPE FOR A NEW TOMORROW.

I UNDERSTAND THAT MANY OF YOU ARE ANGRY,
THAT YOU DON’T HAVE ANSWERS AND THAT YOUR LIVES HAVE CHANGED, PERHAPS FOREVER.
I HEAR YOUR CRIES FOR HELP.
TOURISM: THE VERY CORE – THE VERY HEART OF OUR DESTINATION - HAS BEEN DESTROYED, YET NOT FOREVER.

WHILE REBUILDING WILL BE ON THE HORIZON, THE GOVERNMENT’S FOCUS RIGHT NOW IS ON HUMANITARIAN RELIEF EFFORTS;
I AM HERE TO SUPPORT AND ENSURE THAT YOU ARE SAFE, AND HAVE THE FRESH WATER, FOOD AND SHELTER THAT YOU NEED TO SIMPLY GET THROUGH THE DAY IN EACH AND EVERY DISTRICT. REBUILDING WILL COME, IN TIME.

AS OF SEPTEMBER 13TH THE 24 HOUR CURFEW HAS BEEN LIFTED FROM 8 AM - 3 PM DAILY TO ALLOW YOU – OUR VALUED CITIZENS AND BUSINESSES – TO START YOUR OVERALL RECOVERY AND REBUILDING PROCESS.
RECOVERY EFFORTS HAVE BEGUN. SAFE EVACUATIONS OF TOURISTS CONTINUE. WE HAVE THE SUPPORT OF THE DUTCH MARINES ON THE GROUND TO ASSIST IN LAW AND ORDER.

WE ALSO HAVE A DISASTER ASSISTANCE RESPONSE TEAM FROM SAMARITAN’S PURSE ON THE GROUND WORKING TIRELESSLY. THIS LEADING DISASTER RELIEF ORGANIZATION IS DELIVERING FOOD, WATER AND SUPPLIES TO THOSE WHO NEED IT MOST, AND THIS EFFORT IS CONTINUOUS. OUR NEIGHBORS ARE SHOWING THEIR HUMANITY TOO. AFTER ALL, WE ARE ALL THE CARIBBEAN. WE ARE ONE.

THE RESTORATION OF OUR TELECOMMUNICATION NETWORKS, ELECTRICITY GRID AND WATER DISTRIBUTION NETWORK HAVE BEGUN.
TELEM AND UTS ARE OPERATIONAL AND FOUR GAS STATIONS HAVE OPENED DURING THE CURFEW FROM 9AM TO 2PM DAILY. SEVERAL SUPERMARKETS HAVE OPENED AS WELL, AND TWO RADIO STATIONS ARE BROADCASTING.

WHILE LIFE AS WE KNEW IT IS STILL FAR AWAY, IT’S THESE LITTLE THINGS THAT WILL HELP US ALONG EACH AND
EVERY DAY.

TO THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY, I WANT TO THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR SUPPORT THUS FAR – WE ARE FOREVER GRATEFUL, AND TO YOU, THE PEOPLE OF SINT MAARTEN; WE WILL OVERCOME; WE WILL GROW TOGETHER, WE WILL PROSPER – MAY WE ALL LOOK FORWARD TO HOPE,
AND A BRIGHTER TOMORROW. 

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Cargo Operations Update at Port St. Maarten

PORT ST. MAARTEN – The cargo section at Port St. Maarten is operational and safe berthing of vessels has commenced since the earlier part of the week.

Damage assessments carried out including with the support of military devices, reveals that there are no obstructions to hinder vessels from docking at the cargo quay.

At the moment, the current focus of incoming goods into the country will be limited to relief goods but will also include building materials which are essential to the rebuilding effort of country Sint Maarten.

A number of requests have been received from private consignees, and Port St. Maarten’s Management advises that the aforementioned should follow-up with cargo agents to regulate the import of goods into the country.

U.S. cargo to be sent to the island as normal are to be shipped via Tropical Shipping, King Ocean and Seaboard Marine Line.

European cargo bound for country Sint Maarten normally is shipped via CMA-CGM and Seatrade StreamLines, and arrangements should be made via those companies.

Port St. Maarten Management will continue to provide updates related to cargo operations at the Dr. A.C. Wathey Cruise & Cargo Operations.

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Identified looters will be taken to Court

PHILIPSBURG – “The past couple of days military and police units on Sint Maarten have put an end to large-scale robberies and looting. An unknown number of persons were detained,” a press release from the Public Prosecutor’s Service said.

“Due to lack of detention capacity, persons who did not commit very serious facts have been sent home. All video-material will be reviewed at a later date.

“Meanwhile, a lot of data from the internet about looting has been recorded by a combined police- team. The available photos of these suspects will be shared via the internet and the public will be actively asked for assistance in identifying the suspects.

“At the moment, there is still no internet and telephone on Sint Maarten, once the internet is reestablished, the website will be on the air. Citizens can offer their help and upload information about robbers and looters, as well as passing on information about shown people over the internet.

“Plunderers who voluntarily reported themselves, and have and did not commit serious robbery are being used by the Public Prosecutor’s Office (OM) to carry out rehabilitation work on the island.

“Persons arrested will be brought to Court, the demand by the Prosecutor will be unconditional imprisonment.

“As of today, persons arrested are sent home only after the agreement has been reached with the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Philipsburg. There has been agreement with the Common Court of Justice. As soon as possible, quick-sitting sessions (snelrecht) are held to bring robbers and robbers to justice.” 

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Majesty of the Seas to Arrive for Humanitarian Evacuation Trip on Friday

PORT ST. MAARTEN – Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines Majesty of the Seas cruise ship arrives on Friday, September 15, on a humanitarian mission to evacuate American citizens or those with Visa Waiver/ESTA entry requirements, allowing the person to enter the U.S. territory legally.

The aforementioned group should meet at the St. Maarten Festival Village on Pond Island to register to leave the island on the same day with the cruise vessel.  Registration starts at 7.00 AM until 3.00 PM on Friday.

Persons can also register online if you have Internet connection at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Majesty of the Seas will take persons to San Juan, Puerto Rico. The vessels capacity is 2450. The evacuees are allowed to bring one piece of luggage per person as well as service pets, or a small dog or cat with their relevant travel documents.

Persons will be responsible for their own travel beyond Puerto Rico to their final destination. Everybody should meet at the Festival Village in an orderly manner and park in the public parking areas near the village. The Marines will be at the Festival Village to assist with security.

Qualifying individuals with travel documents to enter the United States of America will be taken by bus to the Port St. Maarten Cruise Facility. Evacuees should not come to the Port directly because they will not be given access to the facility!

Evacuees should have a friend or family member remove their vehicles from the parking lot at the Festival Village because if they do not it will be towed!

Port St. Maarten Management would like to thank Royal Caribbean for its pro-activeness in providing assistance.  “We appreciate the commitment from our cruise partners, and thank them for their support to St. Maarten and to the region.

“We look forward to a quick turn-around for the cruise sector, and are working with stakeholders to bounce back and become the benchmark cruise destination,” Port St. Maarten Management said on Wednesday.

S.E.L. Maduro & Sons would like to thank Royal Caribbean for its unwavering support which demonstrates that it’s a real partner and friend of St. Maarten. 

Adventure of the Seas also of Royal Caribbean, was in port on Sunday, September 10 on a humanitarian call where approximately 320 persons were evacuated and they also offloaded relief supplies.

Majesty of the Seas will be in port at 8.00 AM and depart at 5.00 PM. 

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