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DP To Hold Meet & Greet in Cole Bay July 26th

COLE BAY, Sint Maarten - The Democratic Party of St. Maarten will be having  a Community Meet and Greet in the District of Cole Bay this coming Saturday July 26th from 4:00PM to 6:00PM at Carmen Hodge’s Property in Cole Bay opposite Motor World. 

The General Public is invited to come out and meet the dynamic members of Team DP, which includes the Candidates who will be contesting the August 29th Elections along with their families and support groups, The Board, Members of the DP n Proud youth arm as well as members of the DP’s Young Professional Organization.

"As an organization, we believe voting to be a fundamental civic right that we should all embrace," said the Party Leader. "It is our goal to give the voters of St. Maarten and the communities in particular that we are visiting the ability to make informed decisions on whom to vote for in this upcoming election."

Candidates will be on hand to discuss one-on-one about real issues affecting St. Maarten and the planned approach for addressing these issues.

For more information about this event and other Democratic Party Events, follow us on Facebook at DPSXM. (Contributed by the DP Party)


Council of Ministers secretariat participates in workshop on digital speed reading

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – The Staff of the Secretariat of the Council of Ministers recently participated in the workshop Digital Speed Reading offered by TDC (Training and Development Centre) and funded by USONA.

The workshop was intended to support the staff in their transition to a paperless environment and consisted of four half day sessions. In addition, the staff is required to read extensive policy papers and reports on a regular basis in a limited amount of time.

The workshop provided insight in reading behaviour and methodology. The participants all significantly improved their baseline reading speed at the conclusion of the last session.  


DP: Openness and Transparency only Cure for Mistrust and Apathy Towards Politicians

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten - The Democratic Party of St. Maarten presented its Party Platform on Accountable and Effective Government on Tuesday. In a release explaining the Party’s vision regarding Government, the DP Highlighted that with a mixture of innovation and new ideas, the DP remained committed to provide the best Government organization to residents of St. Maarten; “The DP is the most experienced party in government on St. Maarten and we remain committed to build the government organization to provide the best service to our all of our citizens.

“The DP is proud of building capacity in Government through numerous training programs. We are also proud of the transparency and openness of government through its endeavors regarding the laws of the land. Bringing the law to the people, we have enabled empowerment of citizens as they call their representatives to give account and explanation through various forums available, such as the Ombudsman and Constitutional Court.

The Democratic Party Release also stated that transparent government and openness is the only solution concerning the mistrust of politicians being experienced in the community; “The apathy and mistrust towards politicians can only be countered through a transparent government apparatus. Giving account must become the norm. Openness in government must be practiced on all levels. Less bureaucracy and more accountability is the prescription for a better performing government. The DP favors performance evaluation, linked to compensation for the civil servants, as well as clear lines and openness of policies. We believe technology is key in providing better service and faster response time. This must be visible in the areas of work permits, building permits, business licenses, taxes etc. The DP will continue its e-government program, aimed at eliminating paperwork. We have made great strides here, but we still envision a goal of reducing our paper consumption by at least 50%,” concluded the Democratic Party statement


Busy first half of year for SAFE

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten - St. Maarten/St. Martin Alliance for Equality (SAFE), a LGBT organization founded on December 10, 2013, has had a busy first half of 2014.

The foundation, which has as its core objectives, the empowerment of LGBT people and the full inclusion and participation of LGBT people in St. Maarten/St. Martin society, has held several activities meant to bring LGBT persons from both sides of the island together.

Lysanne Charles-Arrindell, President of SAFE, said that thus far the response to the organization has been overwhelmingly positive, both from within the LGBT community and from the wider island community. 

“Since we started with our activities we’re received a lot of well-wishes from people across all segments of society and have been told that it was high time that such a foundation was organized. People recognized that this organization grew out of local indications that the time was right and ripe for such. So we, as the board of SAFE, really appreciate each one of the people who have reached out to us and offered their support, whether they are LGBT persons or even Allies,” Charles-Arrindell said.

Charles-Arrindell said that thus far the organization had held several meet & greets, hikes, general meetings, radio interviews and community outreach meetings with other foundations. Monthly educational discussion meetings are also about to start this week. 

“The board of SAFE has been really busy with these events for the first half of the year and also with the Pink Orange Alliance (POA) conference scheduled for later this year in collaboration with our Dutch counterparty COC, but of course there is still much more to come. So we encourage those who are interested to get in contact with SAFE and to come out and learn more about the organization and its objectives. We also urge LGBT people and allies who have ideas about how SAFE can better serve the community to contact us and share their thoughts with us,” Charles-Arrindell said.

She said that SAFE looks forward to future collaborations between LGBT persons on the French and Dutch sides of the island and also cooperation between SAFE and ally organizations on the island and across the region. She also said that the organization would be moving ahead with a full schedule of event for LGBT persons and their allies and encouraged people to visit their Facebook site or webpage for more information.

“We’re always looking for ways to reach out to LGBT persons and also to the island community and the regional community, so we look forward to any and all dialogue as we move ahead with our goals,” Charles-Arrindell said.

Those interested can reach SAFE via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.,, www.facebook.come/safesxm or +1-721-550-4221.


Minister of Justice on the beat

COLE BAY, Sint Maarten - Honorable Minister of Justice Dennis Richardson, the Director of the Cabinet of the Justice Ministry Ronald Van de Veer and the Acting Chief of Police Denise Jacobs, went on the beat to see for themselves the increased controls being carried out by law enforcement authorities.

The Minister and his entourage visited the control point at Bell View and Cole Bay while the controls were going on to get a personal view of how they are carried out. (Contributed by the Police Force of Sint Maarten)


DP's Camp RED Meets and Exceeds Expectations of Participants

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten - Saturday's afternoon event of the Democratic Party, themed Camp RED was one way of the DP leadership keeping its promise to prepare the DP candidates for the job they are seeking in representing the people.

Prime Minister Wescot-Williams stated that it was important that the attendants took home some of the important information that was made available during the retreat; “Yes, the position of a member of Parliament is a job on behalf of the people who elect their representatives to Parliament and a job that must be taken seriously,” stated the leader of the Democratic Party.

The afternoon was mc'd by DP Treasurer, Giselle York-Missoudan, who did an excellent job, keeping participants engaged.  The highlights of the afternoon were presentations on the Party's 2014 Platform; the role of parliamentarians as provided for in the constitution and electoral law; the law on registration and finances of political parties and the use of social media.

The Red threads throughout the DP's 2014 platform are education, jobs, nation building and social advancement. "It's a people's thing."

After attentively listening to the presentations, DP 2014 candidates and their support teams engaged in animated discussions regarding these topics.

"Camp RED has surely met the expectations of the participants and I was pleased to note that participation exceeded the expected number of persons", continued DP leader, Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams.

The intention of Camp RED was to inform and educate the 2014 DP candidates and their support teams. Not only was this accomplished, but also the afternoon turned into a "think tank" of ideas and proposals.

"I am quite pleased", said the DP leader at the end of the afternoon as candidates mulled around and socialized with each other, "Pleased and proud, with the commitment demonstrated by our candidates and the level of seriousness displayed by all."

Presentations and subsequent discussions on the above mentioned topics lead to several concrete proposals, which the DP is committed to pursue:

- Screening of Parliamentary candidates elected to office.

 - Establishing by law an Ethics Committee of Parliament.

- Tax deductibility of political donations, specifically.

Board members of the DP were also pinned during the Camp Red event.

This coming week promises to be another eventful DP week with:

The annual July 24th Wreath laying at 8.30 am, in front of the Administration building, commemorating the birthday of the late A. Claude Wathey, co-founder and first leader of the DP; Wednesday, July 23, at 6 pm, DPnPROUD youth meeting, and Friday afternoon, Red Splash at a venue to be announced. (Contributed by the DP Party)


Parties allowed to break rules on placing campaign flags on bridge without consequences

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten - The United St. Maarten Party is calling on the Minister of Justice Hon. Dennis Richardson, to take action against political parties that has blatantly disregarded his instructions on the placing of campaigning paraphernalia at locations that could hinder or endanger traffic.

"The Minister explicitly gave instructions in all media sources that public manifestations are not allowed to block road, cross roads or intersections and clearly, not all parties are adhering to those rules," Member of Parliament (MP) Hon. Frans Richardson said.

"The Minister was clear when he said campaign material is not allowed on or around roundabouts, nor should they be attached to traffic signs, traffic lights, guardrails and bridges. What I would like to know is am I the only one noticing that not all parties are complying with these rules and why is it that action is not been taken against those who don't," the Member of Parliament questioned.

“We have to lead by example, how can we be a good leader if we cannot follow simple instructions and set an example for our supporters to follow" Richardson questioned. "In addition, law for one should be law for all. The rest of us are willing and responsible enough to abide by those rules, and then there should be consequences for those who don't," the MP pointed out.

Prior to the allowed campaigning date, guidelines for placing campaign materials were issued in the media, via radio, websites, newspapers and television, therefore we believe that no one should be above the law and the Minister Richardson should act on his words in his capacity as Minister of Justice. (Contributed by the US Party)


Workshop Social Media and Citizens’ participation: What is your strategy?

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten - A workshop with as theme Social Media and Citizens’ participation: What is your strategy? took place at Divi Little Bay Beach Resort. Since a lot has changed in the last decade in regard to society and the rise of social media, it was deemed necessary to organize a workshop for communication representatives within government, as the effects are not only limited to society, but also affect governments around the world.

The workshop, which was funded by USONA and organized by the Secretariat of the Council of Ministers, was intended to increase the understanding and the possibilities of Social Media. The focus of the workshop was on how social media can be used to increase the participation of the citizens in government and the democratic process in general. 

The workshop was attended by PR-officers from the Tourism Office, press officers of the Ministers’ Cabinet, communication specialists of the Department of Communications (DCOMM) and the spokesperson of the Police Force St. Maarten. The Workshop was facilitated by Ms. Tetyana Lokot.

Ms. Lokot has a M.A. in journalism from the National University Kyiv Mohyla Academy in Kiev, Ukraine and a B.A. in management from International Christian University. Currently she is a researcher at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland. Some of her research interests are digital activism and political participation online, impact of internet communities on political decisions, social media platforms and social/political change.

The content for the workshop was specifically developed for St. Maarten. The full day was divided in four sessions. The first session dealt with the possible content choices and rules of the game. The second session focused on planning a social media strategy for different scenarios including crisis management. The third session emphasized how to engage the citizens. The last session concentrated on developing a tailored social media strategy. The participants were generally satisfied with the outcome of the workshop. 


DP Party Activities: Church Service, DP Women’s Wing, and DP Party Retreat

Church Service, Community Donations Part of Democratic Party 60th Anniversary Celebration

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten - The Democratic Party of St. Maarten will start its series of activities celebrating its 60th Anniversary this weekend with the hosting of a special commemorative church service. The DP Membership and the general public is invited to a special celebratory mass to be held at the St. Jude Anglican Church on Back Street starting at eight in the morning.

On Monday the DP as part of its celebrations will also be making donations to three foundations that have strengthened the community of the country; the Key to Freedom Foundation which focuses on combatting drug abuse, the Arts Saves Lives which introduces especially children to arts and culture and the Generation new Status Drum Band, which introduces children to rhythm through drumming.

The DP will also be hosting its annual wreath laying ceremony commemorating the Founder of the Democratic Party the late Dr. Claude Wathey followed by visits to the St. Maarten’s home in order to continue its sponsorship of cable television for the elderly and the Sister Basilia Center where it will be making a special donation to its clients.

The Public is encouraged to attend all of these events and celebrate 60 years of Democratic Party leadership.

DP Women’s Wing Congratulates 28 Women Contesting Parliamentary Elections 

Highlights Strong Women on its Slate 

The Women’s Wing of the Democratic Party of St. Maarten congratulates the 28 female political candidates in general and in particular the six ladies on the Democratic Party slate for stepping up to the plate and contesting the 2014 Parliamentary elections; St. Maarten indeed is a unique island in that we not only have a female Prime Minister, a female President of Parliament, a Female Ombudsman, and a female at the helm at the Council of Advice. We would like to congratulate the 28 female candidates and wish them the best.

The DP list is the only one with a female at its helm: the Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams. Also on the list is Head of the court of Guardianship Richelda Rodriguez-Emmanuel; founder of the Starlight Foundation and part of the National Development Plan Platform Carmen Hodge-Smith, Former Commissioner and founder of the Home Away From Home Foundation and the one instrumental for providing utility relief for the elderly Patricia Flanders, retired Educator and community organizer Patricia Verlack and Pastor and Motivational Speaker Mulrose Toulon.

“We have a list of strong women representing the strong women of St. Maarten. We would like to wish all females strength and guidance in their choices for Parliament,” concluded the DP Women’s Wing Statement.

DP Hosting Party Retreat Saturday to Discuss Political Platform 

“One-party rule a neglect of the wishes of others, wishful thinking that such a group will remain true to any common agenda for the people” 

This Saturday's DP Retreat, dubbed Camp RED, is taking concrete form, as DP Members and Candidates get ready to discuss and prepare their party platform. According to DP Leader and Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams said that DP Candidates will hone their political skills for the 2014 elections; “The DP Retreat, Camp RED is shaping up nicely. It is an informative and interactive session for primarily the DP candidates during which they will hone their skills, prepare for hitting the road with the DP's message and address the issues facing our country in a head-on, open and transparent way. 

“We don't only talk integrity, we embraced it as a DP administration, we endorse it in our Platform, and we promote it vigorously within our own ranks.

Of course our 2014 Political Platform will be a topic for discussion during the Camp RED as are the applicable laws for this election. We will make use of expertise from within and outside of the Party to facilitate the discussions. 

Members of the DP Young Professionals (DPYP) will also be present and participate. It is our opportunity now to separate ourselves from the others in terms of where we stand on topics, such as government-owned companies, public private partnership, taxes and transparency in government business. 

The Prime Minister also highlighted the DP’s view regarding One Party Rule and inclusive government; “We believe that any progress must be with the masses in mind and not just a select few. We of the DP view the call for a one-party rule as a neglect of the wishes of others. It is also wishful thinking that such a group will remain true to any common agenda for the people. We view this call as a wish to ‎control and muzzle persons who disagree and we view this as an insincere call to control the people of this country to the benefit of a select few.  To use an old adage, "teach us to bake, so we don't beg for the crumbs, concluded Party Leader Wescot-Williams. (Contributed by the DP Party)


Leona Marlin-Romeo Conducts informative workshop for students studying abroad

POND ISLAND, Sint Maarten - Head of Civil Registry Leona Marlin-Romeo has been conducting informational workshops with students studying abroad at the University of St. Martin over the past few days.

Marlin-Romeo in a statement says that given her experience as past Regional Coordinator for Students studying in the Netherlands, in addition to complaints and feedback provided by the students as well as civil registries in countries where St. Maarten students relocate to study.

"I have received a lot of complaints and heard of situations in which our students, especially those who are holders of Dutch Passports but born of foreign parents, have major problems in being registered abroad," she said.

"The purpose of these workshops is to highlight key areas to look out for and to properly inform them of the relevant documents they must acquire and travel with for their registration process abroad. Based on my experience from my previous role as a Regional Coordinator, I know how hard it can be for students who have to send back home to get a legal document once they have left the island, so to make the process smoother and less stressful for the student who by then will have other crucial matters to deal with, I am hoping that these three days of one on one sessions will properly prepare them for the process of not only registering in another country but also of writing themselves out of St. Maarten while you are studying away.”

Marlin-Romeo who was accompanied by one of her staff; Tamara Bell urged the students to have all their important documents like birth certificates properly translated and notarized, ensure that their passports are renewed and even explained that her department; the Census Office has extended their opening hours on Wednesdays to accommodate and facilitate students who are travelling to study with the renewal and acquiring of these documents.

The workshop which ends on Friday, are so far well attended and have attracted students and prospective students travelling in and outside of the Kingdom to study. Marlin-Romeo is also advising all parents and or guardians to get familiar with the process so that they can also assist their child in their relocation and settling process.

“It is hard enough that they have to leave home, the place they have been all their life and to move to a foreign country where in most cases the process is entirely different from here in St. Maarten,” she said. “So in these meetings I offer advice, solution and support to these students so that the transition is as easy as possible.”

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