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SCDF addresses experiences at Festival Village

PHILIPSBURG - On Friday, June 16, Mr. Kurt Ruan of SOG stated in The Daily Herald that SCDF (St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation) had made a request to government four years ago to take over the management of the Festival Village and that this request was denied, the SCDF said in a press statement on Friday, adding that the SCDF, “…would like to make it clear this is absolutely not true.”

“The SCDF, while seeking permanent office space for the first time in its history, made a request to government to consider allowing the foundation to use the conference room in the Festival Village as its office. Government in turn said SOG indicated that it needed the space so it could not grant permission at that time. That was it.

“Mr. Ruan also mentioned that SOG offered SCDF the opportunity to work together. Mr. Ruan did not state that SOG is an entity with a proven record of double-speak. The SCDF over the years has offered many suggestions and ideas to SOG on how to improve the usability of the village.

“In fact, SOG's "way" is to sit back, wait for every Carnival season, observe in which creative ways SCDF utilizes the Village, then turn and attach fees to everything SCDF wishes to do in the village the following year.

“Furthermore, Mr. Ruan did not mention how SOG, through unilateral decisions regarding how the Village is used and by whom, have made Carnival in general much more expensive for all stakeholders across the board and prevents promoters and organizations from obtaining sponsorship from certain companies.

“SOG’s unilateral actions regarding the Festival Village has permanently blocked major sponsors from even entering the Village and, as a consequence, has cost Carnival and its stakeholders thousands over the past few years.

“SOG makes unilateral decisions in the Festival Village, a venue for which it does not possess a management agreement with government. SCDF is accustomed of Mr. Ruan mis-representing facts privately, but will not allow him to do so publicly now that we have decided to bring this matter to the Prime Minister, Minister of Culture and, most importantly, the public.

“SCDF believes it can manage the facility and finally utilize it fully so that everyone can make use of it under fair and realistic conditions. The SCDF looks forward to outlining these and many more issues to government and then the public once we are so far,” the SCDF press release concludes.   

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Students demonstrate skills in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai Kickboxing at graduation ceremony

COLE BAY- On Tuesday and Wednesday June 13 and 14h, SXM BJJ held a demonstration and graduation for their youth martial arts programs. Young Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) and Muay Thai (kickboxing) students demonstrated techniques in front of family and friends followed by live training (sparring) and promotions. 

The summer graduation recognized the hard work of students since the annual December Graduation. A small handful of BJJ students were promoted to new belts: Christian van der Horst, Amir Baharani, Olive and Jake Boxshall were promoted to grey/white belts.

Renard Brison and Jayden Brooks were promoted to white/yellow belts. Shaquannie Vanterpool and Sarai Willemsberg were promoted to yellow belt. 

Historically there is no ranking system in Muay Thai, the traditional kickboxing martial art of Thailand. SXM BJJ instructors see the use of ranking is a great motivation for children and a measure of progress.

In Thailand, the use of an armband, also known as Prajioud was traditionally made from a torn piece of a mother’s surong (dress or skirt cloth) and tied on the arm before Muay Thai fights for good luck and protection.

This tradition was originated during times of war where mothers would see their sons go off to war and offer them good luck and protection. SXM BJJ has adopted an arm band ranking system based on the belt colors system of BJJ.

All students were awarded an armband after demonstration techniques and sparring on Tuesday- the rank of white, white/yellow and yellow belts were awarded to the deserving students.

SXM BJJ martial artists are required to have integrity, honesty, courtesy and humility. Students learn fighting skills only to be used in self-defense or organized competitions.  

Fighting in the street is strictly forbidden. Instructor Melissa Bardfield and Akeem Lewis hold their students by this guideline. The aim of the program is to instill discipline, respect and self-confidence in each student.

Muay Thai martial arts classes at SXM BJJ are closed for July and August and resume on Monday September 4th. For more information or to register contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 721 580 3894.

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Sint Maarten Nature Foundation Shark Day A Great Success!

SIMPSON BAY - Last Week the Sint Maarten Nature Foundation organized its second successful Shark Week event as part of the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance ‘Save our Sharks’ project funded by the Dutch Postcode Lottery. 

St. Maarten Shark day was organized in order to change the perception of people about sharks. Often sharks are incorrectly displayed as villains and as being dangerous but they are actually the victims with many species threatened with extinction through humans poaching, finning, overfishing and coastal development activities.

Worldwide over 100 million sharks are killed per year; as a result half of all shark species are threatened with extinction.  We depend on our sharks as we depend on our oceans, sharks, as top predators; play a crucial role in maintaining balance and health within our oceans.

On the 3rd of June, the Foundation had a very well attended Shark day for children at Buccaneer Beach Bar, with almost 100 kids showing up to learn about sharks and to test their knowledge by playing the Nature Foundation developed shark game!

The kids had a lot of fun by colourings, making booklets and amazing shark face paintings. Children learned about St. Maarten shark species, why sharks are not frightening or dangerous and the importance of sharks to the environment.

People often think that sharks eat people. This is a misunderstanding, humans are not on the menu for sharks and sharks do not eat people. Occasionally shark bites do happen, however no unprovoked attack has been ever recorded on St. Maarten. It is more likely that you get killed by a coconut falling on your head than being bitten by a shark. 

At night, the Nature Foundation continued with a shark party to celebrate sharks and showcase the shark research and tagging done on St Maarten. The crowd found the presentations on shark science very interesting and the public was amazed by the shark movement patterns. Jörgen Raymman, ‘Save our sharks’ ambassador and famous Dutch Comedian, joined the shark party and spoke about the importance of sharks and his passion for these amazing creatures. 

During Shark Day, Buccaneer Beach Bar did not provide environmentally damaging plastic straws and used recyclable cups in order to decrease the plastic input into the environment. The Nature Foundation is very happy with their environmental concerns and hopes many bars and restaurants are following their example. Way too much plastic is ending up in our oceans and threatens marine life such as sea turtles and sea birds. 

The Nature Foundation would like to thank all participants and volunteers during the event; due to them it became a great success. We are very looking forward to shark week 2018. 

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Bureau Telecommunications joins Dutch Caribbean Women's Soccer Cup

PHILIPSBURG - Bureau Telecommunications and Post St. Maarten (BTP) recommits its support for the second Dutch Caribbean Women's Soccer Cup (DCWS2017), which will be held on June 23rd -25th, 2017. 

This is the second time BTP has joined the DCWSC and BTP fervently believe in the further development of (women's) football on Sint Maarten. Oualichi is grateful for the support of its sponsors to make this international club event a success and thanks BTP for the donation. 

The DCWSC is a one of a kind, three-day, event which will accentuate the importance of female camaraderie by welcoming and supporting female football players from the Dutch Caribbean.  

Once again, the Oualichi Women's Soccer Association together with the Sint Maarten Soccer Association are honored to host this prestigious sporting event for the second time. 

All games will be played at the Raoul Illidge Sports Complex. Sint Maarten will start with the opening game  on Friday the 23rd against Bonaire at  20:00pmSaturday against Aruba and final game  on Sunday the 26th against Curacao, all the same time. 

Advance tickets for the entire weekend are for sale and price for advance tickets are $10.00. Advance tickets holders will also get a chance to win many sponsored prizes during the event that will be raffled during each night. 

Sponsors who want to join and contribute to this sporting event can contact oualichisoccer@gmail.com or via the Facebook page- 'Dutch Caribbean Women's Soccer Cup' and the 'Oualichi Women's Soccer Association'.

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Phase 4 of Back Street repairs to commence on June 14

BACK STREET - The fourth phase of the backstreet repairs will commence on June 14th, 2017.  The fourth phase starts from Kortesteeg to Weduwensteeg and completion will take approximately two weeks depending on the weather and how many persons request connection to the sewage line.

Asphalt will be poured until Weduwensteeg. After that point the road will be leveled by the repairing of sections of bricks until the end of Backstreet.   Subsequently road markings will be painted, the curbs will be painted black and white and the bus stops will be painted yellow.

The bollards on the back street will also be removed. This will not only enhance the appearance of the hectic strip but also give pedestrians more walking space.  Honorable Minister Christopher Emmanuel is also looking into having benches placed on the Backstreet.

Honorable Minister Emmanuel strongly believes Philipsburg sets the standard for the other districts and should always be in a superior state. Honorable Minister of VROMI, Minister Emmanuel, advises pedestrians to be very cautious in this area. Not only from uneven walkways but also hot asphalt. 

For further inquiries regarding being connected to the sewage line on Backstreet, please contact the Department of Infrastructure of the Ministry of VROMI via telephone number +1 721 5424289.

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Minister Jacobs Flag Day 2017 Message: Qualities we should represent as a Nation

POND ISLAND – Minister of Culture Silvaria Jacobs on Monday issued her Flag Day Message to the nation.  Flag Day is observed annually on June 13.  The ministers message is as follows: “The St. Maarten flag symbolizes the qualities we should represent as a Nation; our flag represents the unity and love we should have for human kind, the strength and courage we should represent as a land and the appreciation we should have for our ecosystem and those that inhabit it.

“We must contribute to preserving St. Maarten for our future generations to come. Pledge to keep the it clean, take care of our beaches, trees, mangroves, hills, and even the animals who are vital in sustaining our system.

“By beach and strand, we are ultimately blessed, and must hold the pride of our nation near and dear, and safeguard the evolution of St. Maarten. It takes one person to change the mindset, so let us be the individuals to enact the change of a nation.

“Fly your St. Maarten flag on this day with more pride and dignity than you have ever done; May God continue to bless this beautiful land and its people, Happy Flag Day 2017.”

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Sir Roland Richardson receives the Presidents Award from St. Martin Book Fair

GREAT BAY - The leading St. Martin painter Sir Roland Richardson is the new recipient of the Presidents Award from the St. Martin Book Fair. 

Richardson accepted the award at the closing ceremony of the festival’s 15th anniversary on June 3, 2017, and said that he was even more touched to be honored by a St. Martin organization.

Richardson was awarded the ebony statute for his 30 plus years of “uplifting the people and cultural life of the island nation of St. Martin,” said Jacqueline A. Sample, president of House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP).

Shujah Reiph, president of Conscious Lyrics Foundation (CLF), and Sample, presented the award to the artist at the American University of the Caribbean (AUC). The audience included Sir Roland’s family, and authors and artists from different parts of the world. The lecture hall venue was sponsored by AUC, said Reiph, who is also the book fair co-founder and coordinator.

“Roland Richardson’s artwork is iconic for its sheer beauty and perhaps its unmatched volume for a St. Martin artist. And also for archiving rapidly changing landscapes and capturing as patrimony the dignity and varied elegance of the St. Martin people,” said Lasana M. Sekou, author and co-founder of the St. Martin Book Fair.

Roland’s environmental activism of the mid-1980s to early 1990s, coupled with his brief writings on St. Martin history and culture in Discover as the magazine’s editor, also had much to do with why he was selected for the Presidents Award in a year with ‘Art’ as the book fair theme,” said Sekou.

Previous recipients of what the Daily Herald has called a “prestigious award,” include George Lamming (Barbados), Casa de las Americas (Cuba), Benny Wenda (West Papua), Bankie Banx (Anguilla), Derek Walcott (St. Lucia), and Dr. Quince Duncan (Costa Rica).

“In the broad sense, the Presidents Award is presented to persons and institutions, in some instances pioneers, whose work is noted for its excellence and for combining literary, cultural, and liberation components in the service of progress, of their people or nation, and of humanity,” said Sekou.

CLF and HNP organized the 15th annual St. Martin Book Fair in collaboration with St. Maarten Tourist Bureau, University of St. Martin (USM) and L.C. Fleming Foundation. The Presidents Award is named after the presidents of CLF, HNP, and USM.

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GroenLinks set to rejoin coalition talks, negotiations to begin next week

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Coalition talks between the big three VVD, CDA, D66 and the left-wing green party GroenLinks are poised to restart in earnest, the Telegraaf said on Friday afternoon.

A formal invitation to negotiate has not yet been issued by mediator Herman Tjeenk Willink, sources told the paper, because the party leaders are now consulting their MPs to finalise how much room to manoeuvre they have.

Talks between the four parties collapsed several weeks ago because of divisions over immigration policy. GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver has particular difficulty with plans to strike a new deal with Turkey and keep new refugees out of Europe, the paper said.

The Netherlands has been without a government since the March 15 general election. The four party alliance is seen as the only reasonable option the Netherlands has to have a majority government. (DutchNews)

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Committee of Wise men starts research third week of July

ST. EUSTATIUS - In accordance with the agreements between the Island Government of St. Eustatius, and the Secretary-General of the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, a Committee of Wise men, consisting of Mr. Franssen and Mr. Refunjol, will do research into the functioning of the Public Entity of St. Eustatius.

The Committee will visit the island several times to hold talks with stakeholders within the public administration and beyond. The Committee wants to make it known that the first visit takes place from July 13th until July 21st. The preparation of the programme is being worked on.

The Committee will soon issue a personal invitation to stakeholders to invite them for a conversation. Nevertheless, the Committee would like to speak to any person who wants to and have the need for this.

That is why the necessary flexibility will be built into the programme. Within short it will be made known publicly how interested persons can contact the Committee. The talks are of course confidential.

The Committee expects ultimately in September to present a report of it’s findings. (RCN Caribbean Netherlands)

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Executive Offices at Port St. Maarten Searched on Thursday Morning

PHILIPSBURG - The Public Prosecution Service issued the following statement on Thursday with respect to the search of the Executive Offices at Port St. Maarten. "As of this morning, Thursday June 8th 2017, a search has started in the harbour of Sint Maarten.

"This search is conducted by the special anti-corruption taskforce TBO of the Kingdom Detectives Cooperation Team (RST), under supervision of the investigating judge. 

"The search is part of the ongoing Emerald investigation. Previously, several premises were searched and arrests were made. Yesterday, 46 year old M.M. was arrested. He is still being detained under restrictive measures. For that reason, no further information on his case will be given for the time being. 

"The harbour is not a suspect in the Emerald investigation at the moment. The search is still ongoing. The harbour is fully cooperating with the taskforce. We will give an update as soon as possible. 

"The Emerald-investigation started in April 2016 and investigates suspicions that the owner of a security company has committed tax fraud, forgery and money laundering. In november of 2016 this suspect O.A. was arrested and several of his properties and possessions were seized. 
"The investigation is part of a joint intensified fight against international fraud and corruption. Corruption and money laundering threatens the security and economy of the countries in the Caribbean part of the Dutch Kingdom. The special anti-corruption taskforce, TBO of the RST, together with the National Detectives Agencies (Landsrecherches) of Curaçao and Sint Maarten and the Prosecutor’s Office have joined forces to combat corruption," the statement concludes.

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