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World renowned island studies scholar announced as third keynote for SIDS and SNIJs Conference

POND ISLAND – The momentum continues to build for the first International Conference on Small Island States (SIDS) and Subnational Island Jurisdictions (SNIJs), to be co-hosted by the University of St. Martin (USM).

The organizing committee is proud to announce the penultimate keynote speaker for the event, which is expected to attract scholars, policy practitioners and researchers from the wider Caribbean region, North America and Europe, all with an interest in the thematic areas to be explored.

Dr. Godfrey Baldacchino, is a world-renowned scholar and researcher who has been known to dedicate considerable efforts and energies to the growing field of island studies and research undertakings which seek to contribute to a greater appreciation for different categories of small island territories.

Baldacchino currently serves as a Professor of Sociology and Pro Rector for International Development at the University of Malta and is also the Chair in Island  Studies and Sustainability at  the University of Prince  Edward Island, Canada.

Along with Dr. Jim Randall, co-chair in Island Studies and Sustainability, the upcoming Conference was the brainchild of the duo, who were keen on having the conference executed on a SNIJ. The uniqueness of the bi-national island of St. Martin was considered to be important and significant in drawing attention to the myriad issues that are at the forefront of debates on non-independent island jurisdictions.

Professor Baldacchino is the sole author or lead co-author of 22 books and monographs and sole editor or lead co-editor of 23 other publications. He is also co-author of over 120 peer reviewed articles and book chapters.

One of his most recent publications, is a book chapter co-authored with Mr. Arjen Alberts, co-chair of the local organizing committee for the conference. The book chapter which examines the cases of Aruba, Sint Maarten and the US Virgin Islands, is entitled- Resilience and Tourism in Islands: Insights from the Caribbean.

Earlier, the conference organizers announced the participation of the Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands, Mrs. Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson as a keynote speaker and Dr. Peter Clegg, eminent political science and international relations scholar.

According to USM’s Dean of Academics, Mrs. Genève Phillip-Durham, “with Professor Baldacchino added to the slate of keynote speakers, we can expect rich, insightful and adequately informed perspectives to be shared. Godfrey is a walking encyclopedia when it comes to anything you need to know about island studies. He can always be relied on to deliver engaging and up-to-date research material”.

With the deadline for paper submissions swiftly approaching on October 1st, the organizers urge those interested in making paper, panel and poster submissions which engage critically with multiple levels of island living, to submit their abstract contributions for consideration via the conference website:

For further inquiries, persons can also contact 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.


Rotary Club Sunrise gives Back to School Supplies to Primary Schools

PHILIPSBURG - Another school year has started with students back to learning and acquiring new skill sets for the future. The Rotary Club of Saint Martin Sunrise realize how important it is for the kids to have the right supplies to do the best they can.

The club for the last 5 years has donated bag with books pens and pencils to various schools with the help of their sponsors. This is one of the signature projects headed by Rotarian Marciella Henry, which has been a great success non-stop for the last 5 years and will continue to be a priority project.

This year with the help of our Sponsor Motorworld, who has been a key sponsor for this project 450 bags were distributed among two schools.  On Monday 28th August, a group of Members of the Rotary Sunrise Club, including Members of Parliament (MP) Siddharth Bijlani and MP Claret Conner, and representatives of Motorworld Jacqueline Louis and Lorenzo Gomez, went to the two campuses of Hillside Christian school. Asha Stevens campus in Cay Hill and Helmich Snijders campus in St Peters.

Principal Sprott-Mussington of St. Peters campus and Principal Deerveld of the Asha Stevens campus in Cay Hill were very warm and accommodating. The group made its way through several classes and handing out the bags to the children individually.

President of the Rotary Club of Saint Martin Sunrise told the kids “Basic education is crucial to achieving success. With this gesture, we want to provide you with a few tools to help you on your way.” The kids were all excited and thanked all those who came for their lovely gift.

Rotary Club of Saint Martin Sunrise meets every Tuesday at the gingerbread café in Belair at 7am. All guests are welcome to attend.


U20 National Basketball Team Captures Historical Win

SIMPSON BAY/AIRPORT - On Monday August 28th, the U20 National Basketball team returned from Antigua after defeating St. Kitts, where the team won 82-76 in the LIBA tournament.

In 2015, the St. Maarten National team came in second place, but this year, they brought home the championship. The MVP was Mr. Jamal Ireland, an 18-year-old student of the Milton Peters College. 

“The Minister told Ireland and the rest of his team that she expects to see great things from the entire team.” Majority of the team will still be in school and under 20, allowing them to still be eligible to play at the next LIBA tournament.

Head of the Department of Sports, Jonelle Richardson, also congratulated the team, their coaches, the referee and physio therapist, who travelled with the team. “We are happy that you guys did really well. 2015, you came in second, but this year we are topping it and that’s a great accomplishment for your team and St. Maarten.”

According to the coaches and Ms. Maria Richardson of Dreams to Reality Foundation, scouts showed interest in several youngsters, especially Ireland, even after the very first game.

The Foundation and Sporting Federation will follow up with them to be able to help the players to progress even further and realize their dreams. Ms. Jonelle Richardson also thanked Ms. Maria Richardson for organizing and making the trip a reality for the team.

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport (ECYS) continues to promote National Team Development and pledges to continue to assist athletes to realize their fullest potential in collaborating with National Sport Institute (NSI) and all other organizations with similar goals.

The Ministry ECYS would like to once again congratulate the U20 National basketball team on capturing a historical win at the LIBA tournament.

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UTS sponsors HYPE Agendas for CBA students

PHILIPSBURG - United Telecommunications Services (UTS) has sponsored 150 HYPE Agendas 2017-2018 for the students of the Charlotte Brookson Academy (CBA) for the Performance Arts. Thanks to the UTS sponsorship each student at the school will receive a complimentary copy of the Agenda to use for this academic year.

UTS Marketing and Communication Officer Ivy Lambert officially handed over the Agendas to the school on Monday, August 28.

CBA Director Claudette Forsythe-Labega said an Agenda is essential to the school life of students and she urged students to make good use of the HYPE Agendas and to ensure that they note down their school assignments and reminders.

Lambert said UTS is pleased to sponsor the Agendas for the students and expressed hope that it is put to good use. “Structure is important in staying on top of your studies. Having a proper agenda to organize homework assignments and projects is an important tool to that end.

“The additional stories and features on young professionals in various fields are also great, because they introduce students to possible future careers in a very relatable way. We commend the publishers of the agenda on their initiative and wish the students a very successful and productive schoolyear. “Lambert continued.

HYPE Agenda Coordinator Zulayka Peterson thanked UTS for its generosity in sponsoring the HYPE Agendas for CBA students. She said this represented good corporate citizenship and was a great support for the education of the country’s youths. “We are very happy that UTS has backed this project.

“It is a show of good corporate citizenship by UTS and we know that students will be very happy with the HYPE Agendas because it is not just a product that they can use to note down school reminders. It is also a product that is packed with information that students can learn from and it contains the bios of persons with whom they can look up to,” Peterson said.

The HYPE Agenda 2017 – 2018 is themed, “Preservation and awareness of our environment, Treasure the world we are in.”

The Agendas are specifically tailored for the academic year and cover the months that coincide with the school year making them easy for students to use for school related reminders such as noting down their assignments, projects, homework and other school related things. Also included are useful information such as school vacation dates and study financing information.

This is the sixth edition of HYPE Agenda. The first HYPE Agenda was produced in 2008. It was such a big hit amongst high school students that we produced the second one in 2010. This was followed by Agendas in 2013, 2014, for the 2015-2016 school year and is now back for this school year after a break last year, due to challenges in sponsorship.

The HYPE Agenda team is seeking another sponsor so that students at other schools can also receive a complimentary copy of this locally produced product. Businesses and organizations interested in sponsoring can contact Peterson at tel. +1 721 520-1941.


Organizers open SMS voting for favourite TelCell Breakthrough finalists

POND ISLAND - Organizers of the TelCell Breakthrough talent search finals slated for September 30 at the Theatre Royale, Maho, have opened up SMS voting for the “People’s” choice of favourite performer out of a list of 22 finalists.

“Family, friends, fans, music lovers, strangers, visitors, - anyone who wants to join in the fun just have to send us a text of a finalist they know, admire, are rooting for, want to see win or plain just like the look of their name, can join in the fun of selecting a favourite finalist,” said co-organizer Angel Richardson.

Angel says a lot of hype is created with the build-up to the finals as the votes continue coming in. This creates a terrific buzz right up until the night of the contest when the favourite performer as voted by SMS is announced.

The list of the performers and their numbers are as follows:

#1 Leatton Douglas
#2 Roan Soriano
#3 Chelsea Norley
#4 Timothy da Silva
#5 Gershwin Busby
#6 Bryan van Putten
#7 Acquilla Carty
#8 Ingemar Arndell
#9 Jason Brice
#10 Quon Gordon
#11 Tyra Liburd
#12 Jeremiah David
#13 Niky Jean Charles aka Phreedom
#14 Jandrick Hinds
#15 Sinatra Bauld
#16 Tyler Percival
#17 Shakim York
#18 Aiyaunty Romney
#19 Temaia Dennis
#20 Kirk Vital
#21 Stefanas Waakzaam
#22 Manukiell Edwards

In order to vote just text the performers number to 8844 (TelCell Subscribers only).



PHILIPSBURG - Fundraising for one of the region’s largest cancer care and awareness events has kicked off across the Dutch and English-speaking Caribbean with over USD$ $267,119 being raised so far from over 160 corporate supporters.

The sixth edition of CIBC FirstCaribbean’s Walk for the Cure is expected to again attract over 20, 000 walkers and runners across the 17 territories where the bank is operating. The walks will take place over the weekend of September 30th and October 1st, 2017

“We are really excited about this year’s walk. There is a surge of energy throughout our organization as hundreds of our staff are already busy with a number of fundraising events as well as planning for the various walks,” said Trevor Torzsas, Executive Co-Chair of the walk and Managing Director, Customer Relationship and Management.

“Last year we raised USD$500, 000 all of which we donated to support the life-changing work of our partner cancer care organisations in each of the countries where we operate. This year we are going to do all that we can to ensure that we surpass last year’s figures,” said Mark St. Hill the other Executive Co-Chair and Managing Director, Retail and Business Banking.

“As a corporate family, we know the pain and loss that cancer inflicts. Raising awareness, championing early detection and making life just a little more comfortable for those with cancer, their families and caregivers is what our walk is about”, St. Hill said.

The funds raised are used to provide assistance, care and counselling to patients and their families as well as to raise awareness through education campaigns across the region. They also help the various organisations to assist with the purchase and maintenance of equipment used in the diagnosis and treatment of patients.

Over the past five years the bank has raised over USD $1.3 million from the event primarily supported by generous corporate donors and diverse fundraising activities and events hosted by staff members.

The co-chairs said the bank will be launching its revamped walk registration and donation website very shortly which is expected to offer increased opportunities for further fundraising.

They praised the fund-raising efforts of the bank’s staff and the enthusiastic support of the business community who have been coming on board as platinum, gold, silver and bronze sponsors.

This year the bank’s business in St. Maarten has partnered with Still Beautiful Foundation to stage the Walk for the Cure on September 30th, 2017. The walk kicks off at the Bank’s Philipsburg Branch, Emmaplein #1, at 5:00AM. Persons interested in participating can contact Petra Abdul-Hamid at tel: +1 721-542-3511 or via e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  

The walk is also held to coincide with the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation’s CIBC Run for the Cure sponsored by the bank’s parent company, CIBC. CIBC has been supporting this event for 21 years, donating millions to breast cancer research in Canada.


Scotiabank Rotary-Rotaract Spelling Bee Competition Plans Underway

BELAIR - Another summer vacation has ended and while the students are settling back into the classroom, some students aged 9-10 years will be preparing for the Scotiabank Rotary-Rotaract Spelling Bee Competition, which the main organizer ‘The Rotary Club of St. Maarten-Mid Isle’ has been planning for the last ten months. The main sponsor for the Spelling Bee is Scotiabank.  The event will start with the preliminaries on Sunday October 15th.

The 10 winners of the preliminaries will head into the semi-finals on Sunday October 22nd. The five winners of the semifinals will head to the finals on Sunday October 29th

All three events are being held at ‘The Belair Community Center’, Mid Isle and the Sunrise Rotaract Club encourage all parents, family, friends and the public to come out and support the students. There will be a prize for the school with the best crowd of supporters. Food and drinks will be available for the children during the breaks. 

As in previous years, participating schools will benefit from the proceeds of ‘The Spelling Bee’ by being able to submit a ‘Wish List’ for any item they may need at their prospective school. In previous years wish list items have included projectors, screens, and computers etc.  All participants will receive goody bags while winning pupils and schools receive additional prizes. 

For the second year participating students will have the benefit of four tutorial sessions being held at the USM on Saturday September 23rd and 30th and Saturday October 7th and 13th.

Last years’ finalist were asked for their comments on the Spelling Bee and their comments ranged from ‘It was good’, ‘It was fun’, ‘It was a lot of words’, ‘They learnt many words’ and ‘There was a lot of studying that had to be done’

Mid Isle would like to take this opportunity to thank the main sponsor of ‘The Scotiabank Rotary-Rotaract Spelling Bee Competition, Scotiabank. 

The Rotary Club of St. Maarten-Mid Isle meets Tuesday at 7pm at Mary’s Boone in Simpson Bay. For more information please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit our Facebook page Rotary Club of St. Maarten-Mid Isle.


Possible Tropical Storm/Hurricane could be East of Leeward Islands on September 5

SINT MAARTEN/CARIBBEAN – While all the attention has been on the first major hurricane of the 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season Harvey, in the meantime, weather forecast models continue to analyze weathers systems coming off the coast of continental Africa.

The GFS (Global Forecast System) model has a potential tropical storm/hurricane developing in the Eastern Atlantic Ocean.  This system would come off the coast of Africa mid-week and track across the Atlantic Ocean towards the Leeward Islands.

As the system gets closer to the Leeward Islands, the GFS forecast model has it developing into a tropical storm/hurricane over the weekend of September 2/3 and being in the vicinity of the northern Leeward Islands on Tuesday, September 5.

September 5, 2017 will mark the anniversary of Hurricane Luis that devastated Sint Maarten 22-years ago.

Between the posting of this news item up to September 1, the GFS forecast model will change its projected track of this weather system.  It’s more than a week away and a lot can change within this timeframe.

It’s a reminder that we are in the hurricane season, and therefore should always be prepared to take action should that be required.  Continue to monitor weather reports.  We are in the peak period of the season that runs up to mid-October.

The GFS is a global numerical weather prediction system containing a global computer model and variational analysis run by the United States’ National Weather Service (NWS).

The entire globe is covered by the GFS which is used by operational forecasters who predict weather out to 16 days in the future.



Liaison to Improve UVI@USM

POND ISLAND - The staff at the USM welcome the President of the University of the Virgin Islands, Dr. Hall, on campus at the University of St. Martin on Friday, August 25, 2017. Dr. Hall also attended the scheduled staff meeting, where employees got the chance to address pressing issues and concerns that they felt was affecting their students under the growing partnership.

Dr. Hall was without hesitation hands on to help resolved the issues at hand and took on full accountability of the challenges and hiccups that the University has been facing over the past year. The President of UVI then explained that there’s been a search for representatives at UVI to Liaison with the students and teams at USM however, it has been clear that more is needed.

For such, plans for an on-campus liaison are in the works. This liaison would be based on the USM campus to assist students and answer pertinent questions. The best approach was determined to be someone established in St. Maarten who will have a nuanced grasp of the needs of the students. This person will also be travelling between USM and UVI to meet with key persons, maintain fruitful relationships and keep informed on the latest changes and developments to programmes and regulations. 

“This visit by the President of UVI, Dr. Hall, is symbolic of the fact that the concerns of St. Maarten students are being taken seriously. No one should be left behind in the educational and social progression of our island. The UVI@USM is the opportunity for all those persons who cannot leave the island to also obtain North American accredited Bachelor and Master degrees. Dr. Hall was cordially welcomed by stakeholders in the educational & social field such as Mr. Antonio Aventurin, the director of Study Financing, and Ms. Aida Holaman of the Department of Community Development. He also met the chief architect of education on Sint Maarten, the honourable Minister Ms. Silveria Jacobs.

The staffs of USM and UVI are confident this will go a way towards solidifying their relationship. DR. Hall mentioned “The upcoming graduation of students next year through the UVI@USM partnership is significant. The goal “has always been to expand and grow in new areas that we need to explore”. New also is the start of a PhD programme, with one of USM’s own who is pursuing a PhD. Mutually beneficial, this renewal of open communication between the universities is progress for tertiary education on the island.


Ombudsman equips staff of the Bureau before her departure

PHILIPSBURG - As the Ombudsman, Dr. Nilda Arduin, prepares to demit office in October of this year after her term comes to an end according to the Constitution, she ensures that the staff is adequately equipped.   

No institution can function and develop without properly trained staff. As such the personnel at the Bureau continues to undergo training to better serve the community of Sint Maarten, as the Ombudsman demits office.

In June of this year the Secretary General and the Complaint Officers attended the 9th Biennial Caribbean Ombudsman Association (CAROA) Conference on the island of Bonaire, led by Dr. Arduin. 

The topics of the conference covered the developing role of the Ombudsman, and was followed by complaint handling training sessions facilitated by the prestigious Queen Margaret University of Scotland.

Presently, the legal advisor, Ms. Gwendolien Mossel is participating in an intensive 6-day professional mediation training on Curaçao. The training, facilitated by the “Centrum voor Conflicthantering” (Center for conflict management) from the Netherlands is accredited by the Mediators Federation of the Netherlands (MfN) and the Dutch Institution of Psychologists (NIP).

The Ombudsman is confident that the public of Sint Maarten can rest assured that the Bureau is adequately equipped to continue to protect the rights of the people, and support the new Ombudsman in his or her function.

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