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Art Saves Lives holds first Placement and Screening Audition ~Ms. Nikeva Stapleton featured artist conducts workshop at screening~

MAHO REEF - On Saturday February 28th students from both sides of the island took part in the Audition and Placement event for Art Saves Lives Foundation Summer Intensive which will be held from June 29-July 4th 2015.

Many students who took part in ASL’s 2013 and 2014 Summer Intensives returned to audition for placement in ASL 2015. Workshops this year has now expanded to include classes in Painting on Canvas and Music Production. Ms. Nikeva Stapleton, a Fordham University graduate and an accomplished dancer who has worked with artists Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez, and Chris Brown was the featured artist at this year’s audition. She was also a part of the faculty of ASL 2014. The Management of Sonesta Maho (Mrs. Patricia Vlaun), Mr. Clarence Derby (Towers at Mullet Bay), and Ms. Majella O’Brien Gallant were all sponsors of the event.

There will be another audition and screening event in May and students are encouraged to visit ASL’s Facebook Page for more updates or contact the organization at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information. 

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Minister Connor meets with police, regatta to ensure safety, security, overall experience

PHILIPSBURG - Minister of Tourism Claret Connor on Monday hosted a meeting with all the key players in the organizing and security of the Heineken Regatta. The meeting which was held at the Police Department focused on ensuring a safe and memorable experience for residents and visitors alike by making sure all contingent plans are in place. 

The Minister stressed that the Regatta is important to the marine industry which, in turn, is important to St. Maarten. He said everyone will participate and have an enjoyable experience but at the same time, many will also want to take advantage of the situation.

“My approach has always been a proactive one. I called the meeting to make sure all the T’s were crossed and I’s dotted. We discussed how we will deal with those ‘lil issues’ that can arise to hamper the overall experience. Also discussed was the chain of command and how government and the organizers will mitigate bad experiences,” the Minister said.

Minister Connor said he was proud of how the police have taken the lead and a no-nonsense approach to safety and security. In addition to meeting with Regatta organizers on a prior occasion, the police have also met with the relevant taxi associations to regulate the movement of people and traffic. All plans were shared with the Minister.

Minister Connor asked the public to exercise patience during the days of Regatta as there will be some inconvenience “but it is some inconvenience that will be beneficial to us all in the long run. I ask one and all to support the parties that the Regatta has organized and the overall event which is a terrific showcase for the destination.” (Press Secretariat, Government of Sint Maarten Council of Ministers) 

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Independent MP Leona Marlin-Romeo wants clarity on Moratorium Policy on Bus, Taxi, and Tour Permits

PHILIPSBURG – Independent Member of Parliament (MP) Leona Marlin-Romeo said a request was sent on Monday February 23rd 2015 to the Chairman of the Committee Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport & Telecommuncation Member of Parliament Frans Richardson for a meeting to be held on the current Moratorium Policy on Bus, Taxi, and Tour Permits.  

“Clarity is being sought on this matter because despite having a moratorium policy, exceptions were made in the past and permits were still awarded based on the discretion of the minister.

“It is in this aspect that this faction is seeking changes in the process and encouraging the current minister to review the current Moratorium Policy on Bus, Taxi, and Tour Permits.  Suggestion will be made in the requested committee meeting,” Independent MP Hon. Leona Marlin-Romeo said on Monday.

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ALL ARTISTS INVITED TO POWER HOUR. Writers, singers, musicians, are all encouraged to come to the POWER HOUR!

GREAT BAY – INFOBIZZ is calling on persons, especially artists to the POWER HOUR on March 4, 2015. Being properly registered with the Bureau of Intellectual Property can make the difference in success or failure for artists.  

New to the social make-up of St. Maarten, the Bureau of Intellectual Property not only serves businesses but individuals.  Properly registering music, songs, books, art, and many other puts the business and specifically the individual to have more than one stream of income.  Also, registration makes it harder for others to take creative work at free will and capitalize on it.  This can be especially important for artists.

“Many artists don’t know how to make money off of their art form. Registering their art-form puts them in a better position to earn a sustainable living from craft. Knowing how to do so accurately is a vital step in making this a reality.  We really want to encourage all artists and artists at heart to be present at on March 4, 2015 as the Bureau for Intellectual Property will be providing information that is not just useful for businesses but critical for artists”, Ife Badejo, Founder and Director of INFOBIZZ stated.

In addition to the Bureau of Intellectual Property providing information at the POWER HOUR,  Mr. Robert Judd of the FirstCaribbean International Bank will be giving the keynote address “How to Succeed in 2015”.

Registration for the POWER HOUR is still open and one can register at the door as well. Registration fee is $30 and includes welcome drinks and snacks.  POWER HOUR will take place on Wednesday, March 4, 2015 at Belair Community Centre from 7:00-9:00PM. Doors open at 6:30 PM for those that need to complete registration.

For further details, contact Foundation INFOBIZZ at +1-721-523-1842 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Parliament’s Website Revamped

PHILIPSBURG – TheHouse of Parliament’s website has been revamped.  The new site is back online in a new format as of Monday, March 2 at the same website address: www.sxmparliament.org.

The Presidium of Parliament was recently given a preview of the site prior to it going live online.  It was viewed by President of Parliament Hon. Dr. Lloyd Richardson, 1st Vice President Hon. Member of Parliament (MP) Leona Marlin-Romeo, 2nd Vice President of Parliament Hon. MP Cornelius De Weever, Secretary General Nancy Joubert, and Webmaster Alvin Prescod.

On the Home Page you have the meeting calendar allowing the general public to know which weeks are sittings of the House.  Additional information will be provided with time and agenda points once convocations of house sessions have been communicated to MPs.  The page also features a list of documents available for download; audio files; and Parliament TV allowing online viewers to follow House sessions in real-time.

There are also web links to other government entities of the country such as Government of St. Maarten, General Audit Chamber, Council of Advice, Bureau of the Ombudsman and the Social Economic Council.

The Info-links provide easy access to the parliamentary sites of Aruba, Curacao, the Netherlands and the Parliament of Latin America (Parlatino).

The site features information About Parliament: news items; admission members of parliament; meetings; duration of parliament; tasks; rules of order; resignation of members of parliament; immunity; parliament crest; and international relations.

Under the link Organization: the photos and how you can contact the members of parliament; president; vice presidents; secretary general; secretariat; a listing of parliament committees; and parlatino committees.

Under the Document link you will find the following: kingdom charter; constitution; other regulations pertaining to parliament; rules of order; draft national ordinances; questions in writing; parliament annual reports; and motions.

Under the Meetings link you have the audio video archive of past parliamentary sessions as well as the contact information for the House of Parliament.

The site is very easy to navigate and contains a wealth of information about the highest legislative body of the country.

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Adopt a stray dog from Sint Maarten Team Goldendog puts it paws ashore in Europe

SINT MAARTEN/AMSTERDAM, the Netherlands - Team Goldendog has been committed for animal welfare for years on the island of St. Maarten. Because of our efforts many stray dogs have found their “forever homes” in St. Maarten, the USA or Canada.

It is with great pride that we announce that Team Goldendog now also has a Dutch delegation which will focus on the European market.

Jeffrey Sochrin is the driving force behind Team Goldendog. What began as a sailing ship in the Heineken Regatta soon became a welfare organization. "A dog is the only living creature on earth that loves you more than himself. For that reason alone, it is our responsibility to take care of these beautiful animals," says Jeffrey Sochrin.

For years he successfully committed to the welfare of dogs on the Dutch island of St. Maarten. His next goal is a real shelter, Camp Goldendog.

"Sint Maarten consists of French and a Dutch side. Only the French side has a dog shelter, where the Dutch side hasn't. And yet even here the problem of stray dogs is present. Therefore, we want to establish Camp Goldendog: a place where all the stray dogs of the island can be accommodated without them having to be afraid to be put to sleep."  

Team Goldendog in Europe

Goldendog team in Europe The possibility of a European delegation of Team Goldendog occurred in September 2014. A young Dutch couple celebrated their vacation in St. Maarten and fell in love with a stray dog. They named him Buddy. After they left the island they missed him so much that they decided to contact Team Goldendog.

The question: Can you help us get Buddy to the Netherlands? Jeffrey was so excited that he decided to help, and many weeks passed trying to catch Buddy. With the help of other organizations in St. Maarten he finally succeeded and on the 6th September Buddy put his paws on the Dutch shore.

Buddy's father was so pleased with the help of Team Goldendog that he wanted to give something back. And so the idea for a European delegation was born. "Meanwhile, Buddy is feeling really comfortable in The Netherlands, which proves that coconut retrievers can settle there. What would be nicer than giving more stray dogs a good forever home, and to make Dutch families happy with this?" says Boy Ligtenberg, European ambassador of Team Goldendog.

"Our goal is to give the many stray dogs from St. Martin a better life. Buddy proves that it is possible for St. Maarten dogs to live in The Netherlands. And it is not difficult at all to get a dog to the Netherlands. "Jeffrey adds: "We have years of experience with the repositioning of stray dogs and the procedures in Europe are similar to those of America.

The only difference is that the dogs have to fly longer, but that's basically all." Are you interested in adopting a stray dog? Please contact us via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 06-16007381 (Boy). Would you like to donate? Please visit www.teamgoldendog.org for the possibilities.

Coconut Retrievers Coconut Retrievers is the collective name for the many dog breeds from the Caribbean. They are very loyal, loving and energetic dogs. They are good with children, very independent and always happy and cheerful. They are real family dogs that can be home alone and then guard your house. And with the mix of races you always have a unique dog!  

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SXM Airport Signs New Agreement with ATA for Exclusive Rights to Operate at Airport

SIMPSON BAY, SXM Airport—The Princess Juliana International Airport Operating Company NV (PJIAE NV) in its continuous effort to implement and maintain a high standard of customer service at the airport, and further to its mission “to be the regional leader in providing safe, secure, quality and profitable airport services that contribute to the general economic and tourism development of St. Maarten/ St. Martin and the region we serve,” has entered into a new two-year agreement with the Airport Taxi Association (ATA), effective January 1, 2015.

The agreement grants the latter theexclusive rights to have its members operate taxi services to third parties at designated areas for taxi parking, collecting and dropping off of passengers at SXM Airport.

According to the agreement, non-ATA taxi drivers shall only be allowed on the airport premises for dropping off third parties, but will not be allowed to pick up third parties on the airport premises.

Also, the agreement stipulates that all225ATA members will be allowed to operate on the airport premises while ATA and its members will take part, at least once a year, in a mandatory training seminar as established by PJIAE in consultation with ATA.

ATA has agreed that at all times, from the arrival of the first airplane till the departure of the last airplane and if this is later till the arrival of the last airplane on each day of the week, the whole year round, including official holidays, it will make available a minimum of ten (10) members to provide taxi services at SXM Airport.

Similarly, all ATA taxi drivers are required to wear the SXM branded uniform when transporting passengers to and from the airport or while working at the airport.

“We are very pleased with this new agreement and are confident that it would result in improved customer service for all users of the airport,” said Regina LaBega, SXM managing director.

Other terms of the new agreement with ATA include:

· All ATA taxi drivers are required to keep their airport taxi card visible to third parties on the right side of their dashboard/window of their taxi vehicle.

· All ATA taxi drivers are required to conduct themselves in a professional manner.

· All ATA taxi drivers are required to display a positive and pleasant attitude toward the passengers.

· The ATA board will promote that its members have spoken command of the English and French languages.

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LOWLANDS/COLEBAY PATCHWORK SCHEDULED TO BEGIN MARCH 1ST

PHILIPSBURG - Ministry of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Development and Infrastructure (VROMI) conducted an island wide road assessment for scheduled patchworks, which will commence on Sunday in the Lowlands/Colebay area and continue throughout the other districts from 8PM to 5AM daily per assigned schedule.

The assessment was conducted specifically concentrating on potholes on main roads and secondary roads.

Tending roads in the Lowlands area include: Rhine Road, Jordan Road, Maho area: Beacon Hill Road, Simpsonbay: Airport Blvd, Sr. Patientia Road, Welfare Road, Cole Bay: Wellington Road, Well Road, Union Road, and ACJ Browers Road in the Cay Hill area.

Works will adapt schedules according to weather permitting conditions and communicated to the public accordingly.

Motorists and residents are requested to be vigilant and put keen attention while driving in the area, or use alternative routes if possible.

Ministry VROMI apologizes for any inconvenience that this may cause.

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Stakeholders attend presentation on statistical information key for evidenced based sustainable development planning

GREAT BAY (DCOMM) – Secretary Generals, National Development Plan team from the Department of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (BAK), implementing agency for NDP project, representatives from all ministries involved with Millennium Development goals, the Inter-Ministerial work group and the Steering Committee for the project Building a Nation: St. Maarten National Development Plan and institutional Strengthening, on Tuesday attended a presentation about country Statistics at the University of St. Martin (USM).

Statistics ensures accessibility to reliable information that enables policy makers to make policies and (budgetary) plans and to actually monitor progress in human development.

To further consolidate Governments efforts in evidenced based sustainable development planning, the aforementioned will establish a national database, called DEV–Info that will enable Government to monitor the developmental progress of the country.

The DEV-Info database system is being used by numerous countries for this purpose. The Government of Sint Maarten, in particular the Department of Statistics within the Ministry of Tourism, Economic affairs Transport and Telecommunication and BAK, will oversee the implementation of the DEV–Info system in Sint Maarten.

The 2011 Millennium Development report for Sint Maarten indicated that the country was lagging behind on (Millennium Development Goals (MDG) MDG1 (Eradicating of Poverty and hunger) and MDG 7 (Ensure Environmental sustainability).

In order to address that, a country action plan was developed to accelerate progress in addressing poverty and environmental issues on Sint Maarten.

For the country action plan to work, as in deed implementing a national strategic plan, there is a need for reliable statistical data. At present much of the data is not in retrievable form or validated.

Only through a process of collecting, digitalizing and confirming data validity is government able to truly measure progress in achieving the policy results that are expected to be accomplished.

Data availability is an important aspect of governance as was recently also stipulated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and different committees on integrity.

The presentation was given by Sameer Thapar who works for CSF, the company awarded the project to develop and implement the DEV-Info Database in Sint Maarten. Thapar is a Technical Manager and Senior trainer of the DEV-Info support group.

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Rotary Sunrise begins Rotary has Heart initiative

PHILIPSBURG -   Rotary International celebrated its 110th birthday on February 23rd and as the Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunrise continues to celebrate its 10th year President Virginia Asin found it fitting to donate to groups who have been in keeping with Rotary’s motto “Service Above Self” .

Rotary Sunrise began its “Rotary has Heart” initiative by donating funds to three groups: I Too Can Learn Foundation, St. Maarten Generation New Status Drum Band and Sister Magda Parent Teacher Association were all recipients of this initiative. On hand to accept the donations were Beverley Gibbs of I Too Can Learn Foundation, Youmay Dormoy of Generation New Status Drum Band and Bregje Boetekees of Sister Magda Parent Teacher Association. All recipients thanked Rotary Sunrise and encourage them to continue supporting them and the community at large.

I Too Can Learn Foundation will be using their funds to provide breakfast and lunch to its students. Sister Magda PTA plan to put their donation to use by providing breakfast to students in need. Generation New Status Drum Band will use their funds towards a trip to Howard University to learn about how a university band works in hopes of improving their already top notch skills.

Those in attendance learned new facts about Rotary’s founder Paul P. Harris, such as his work for a newspaper as a salesman and a reporter, on fruit farms, as an actor and cowboy, and on cattle ships that traveled toEurope and also got kicked out a couple of schools, thanks to a synopsis of Rotary’s origin by Assistant District Governor Rebecca Low. Ms. Low also pointed to how one person can in fact make a difference. 110 years later, with over 33,000 clubs in over 200 countries with over 1.2 million members, Mr Harris indeed showed the power of one can indeed lead to the power of many.

President Virginia Asin expounded on the power of one fitting into the Rotary International’s year theme “Light Up Rotary”, which was derived by a Chinese proverb “it is better to light a single candle than curse the darkness”. She encouraged everyone to be a source of light in the world. President Asin was very ecstatic about the start of Rotary Sunrise “Rotary has Heart” initiative and looks forward to their next project of making a three course meal for kids at a children’s home.

Rotary Sunrise will also be holding a food sale that will enable to continue the good works they have been doing for the past 10 years this Saturday, February 28, any Rotary Sunrise member can be contacted for tickets.

The club meets at Philipburg Jubilee Library Conference Room every Tuesday mornings at 7:00am for fellowship and breakfast.  For more information on the club visit us at sxmsunrise.org or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., we are also on Facebook: Rotary Club of Saint Martin Sunrise.

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