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Minister of Justice Boasman defends Sint Maarten in Geneva on Human Rights

SINT MAARTEN/SWITZERLAND - Minister of Justice Rafael Boasman represented Sint Maarten at United Nations Office in Geneva, Switzerland, on the occasion of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR).

The Universal Periodic Review, or UPR for short, is a review of the human rights record of all United Nations (UN) member states, in this case the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Kingdom, and therefore Sint Maarten, is party to a number of Human Rights Treaties. 

As a party to a treaty there are a number of obligations that the state must fulfill. These obligations vary based on the content of each respective Treaty. The UPR is unique in that unlike all other Human Rights Treaties it does not concern itself with a specific theme but reviews and holds to account the state party on all human rights treaties and obligations.

The UPR allows state parties, in the report that each is obligated to submit to the United Nations, to highlight efforts made to ensure that human rights are safeguarded within its borders. 

Sint Maarten's report underscored progress made in three specific areas, falling under two thematic headings. Under the themes legislation and judicial matters, Sint Maarten highlighted the implementation of the new Penal Code and the new crimes it covers including (financing) of terrorism and money laundering.

Under this thematic heading Sint Maarten also highlighted the progress made in combatting human trafficking and Sint Maarten's most recent ranking in tier 1 in the United States a trafficking in Persons Report.

This rank means that Sint Maarten fully meets the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in persons. Under the thematic heading of social development, Sint Maarten proudly presented the work it has undertaken in ensuring education for all, with the implementation of the law on compulsory education. 

Minister of Justice Rafael Boasman, as representative of the Government of Sint Maarten, joined Dutch Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk, Minister Plenipotentiary of Aruba in The Hague Juan David Yrausquin, and Policy Advisor at the Department of Foreign Affairs of Curacao Miloushka Sboui-Racamy, at the Head table to defend the record of the Kingdom during the one-day public hearing.

During the hearing, the bulk of questions posed by UN member states were directed to the Netherlands, but a large number of general questions to the Kingdom regarding pending ratifications, treaty reservations, and the Rights of the Child were frequently received by the delegation. 

Minister Boasman in invited comments from the delegates of Algeria, Australia, and the Republic of Korea answered additional questions regarding education access for disadvantaged children, human rights monitoring mechanisms, and adult and youth detention facilities respectively.

In so doing, he highlighted the work done by the Constitutional Court, as well as ongoing efforts regarding the prison and the work of the Miss Lalie Center in the area of youth detention and rehabilitation. 

The Minister of Justice Boasman continues on to The Hague to hold meetings with Dutch Minister of Justice Stef Blok and other authorities regarding the prison and other matters of mutual concern, accompanied by Chef of the Cabinet Mr. Len Dijkstra.

Mr. Patrice Gumbs Jr, Senior Policy Advisor at the Department of Foreign Relations of Sint Maarten will remain in Geneva for the rest of the week to attend technical meetings related to the Universal Periodic Review including recommendations from other UN state parties and pledges to address matters raised during the hearing. 

In his closing remarks, Minister Rafael Boasman reiterated the Government's commitment to the promotion of Human Rights on Sint Maarten and commended the work of the Human Rights Council in this regard.

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Minister Arrindell-Doncher says government enthusiastic about upcoming SMART tradeshow

POND ISLAND - Minister of Tourism Mellissa Arrindell-Doncher on Wednesday said government is enthusiastic about the upcoming SMART trade show. She said the event, which will be held next month, is extremely important for securing new business for local hoteliers and others and, by extension, the destination.

The L’Association des Hoteliers de St. Martin, Saint Martin Tourism Office in conjunction with the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau and St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association are expecting numerous Tour Operators, Travel Agents, Travel Writers, and Event Planners from the US, Canada, Europe, and Latin America to return to the island for this important event.

The tradeshow provides a unique opportunity for local and regional hoteliers and activities providers to present their tourism product, network and negotiate prospective business opportunities. During the tradeshow, travel partners and wholesalers as well as hotel and excursion operations come together for one-on-one discussions on potential business ventures.

The event provides 1.5 days of pre-scheduled appointment sessions and activities where these Buyers can meet and conduct business with Suppliers in the tourism industry.

“It is important that our hospitality properties and other businesses are present and have a good showing in order to generate new business that not only benefits their respective businesses but St. Maarten in general. It’s great opportunity to also learn about some new initiatives on the market and how we can be positioned to take advantage,” the Minister said.

In previous years, SMART featured suppliers from Anguilla, Antigua, Barbados, Barbuda, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Guadeloupe, Montserrat, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Barthelemy, St. Kitts & Nevis and St. Maarten-St. Martin. SMART 2017 kicks off on Wednesday June 14th, 2017.

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2017 Caribbean Triple Crown Poker Run Kicks Off on May 28. The biggest nautical event in the Caribbean

SINT MAARTEN/PUERTO RICO - Prep your engines for the biggest nautical event in the Caribbean! Comprised of three separate events, The Caribbean Triple Crown Poker run series will take place in the most beautiful destinations in the region: the British Virgin Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and St. Maarten.

The first run of the series is on May 28th and will be held at the Leverick Bay Marina and Resort in Leverick Bay, on the island of Virgin Gorda in the BVI. The next run will be the Stars and Stripes Poker Run, held on July 2nd at Yacht Haven Grande on St. Thomas, USVI.

The final run of the series takes place at The Yacht Club at Isle de Sol in St. Maarten on July 29th.  The winner of The Caribbean Triple Crown Poker Run series will collect $20,000 in cash and prizes and the prestigious IGY Cup.

“The amount of interest that has been received from fellow boating enthusiasts since announcing the Caribbean Triple Crown Poker Run has been amazing. We are looking forward to a great summer. This will be an unparalleled event that will take place in the crystal blue waters of the Caribbean,” said Nick Willis, founder of the Leverick Bay Poker Run.

He concluded by saying that, “…back in 2001, when the first poker run took place, we never thought that it would get the recognition and participation that it has today. We’re excited and so grateful for the support of the boating enthusiasts that participate and attend. Through their support, we are able to sustain the Virgin Gorda Charitable Trust, which distributes funds to local charitable organizations in need.”

The catalyst for the Caribbean Triple Crown Poker Run series was the Leverick Bay Poker Run in Virgin Gorda, BVI. Marina owner, Nick Willis, launched the Leverick Bay Poker Run 16 years ago with the objective of attracting tourists to Virgin Gorda during the low season and raising funds for the Virgin Gorda Charitable Trust. 

He never imagined that the event would grow into what it has today - a national holiday with over 300 participating boats. The Leverick Bay Poker run was the catalyst for the development of other poker runs in the region. The Caribbean Triple Crown Poker Run unifies the three major poker runs in 4 different countries: the USVI, BVI, Holland & France, and raises funds for local charities in each location.

“It’s a privilege to be a part of the Caribbean Triple Crown Poker Run,” said Brian Deher, General Manager of IGY Marinas’ Yacht Club at Isle de Sol. “With outstanding marinas in two of the three destinations, IGY Marinas is a natural partner for the series.”

Phil Blake, General Manager of IGY Marinas’ Yacht Haven Grande in St. Thomas, USVI, shared his enthusiasm saying, “We are very excited to be hosting the fourth annual Stars and Stripes Poker Run and to be part of the Caribbean Triple Crown Poker Run series. The Yacht Haven Grande team is looking very forward to being on hand in St. Maarten when the IGY Cup is presented to the winner of the series.”

The Caribbean Triple Crown Poker Run organization is an official member of the Florida Power Boating Club & Poker Runs of America. Several member boats will be coming down from Florida to participate in the series, adding to the excitement.

“The Caribbean Triple Crown Poker Run has been a dream of mine for over 15 years,” said Javier Lopez Matos, President of JL Marketing Firm and Executive Director of the Caribbean Triple Crown Poker Run.

“It has been an honor working with Nick Willis on developing the BVI Poker Run. Launching the Caribbean Triple Crown Poker Run is one of the most exhilarating events in my life. Having the support of people like Stu Jones of the Florida Power Boating Club, IGY Marinas and so many others is beyond gratifying, it is an honor.”

The Caribbean Triple Crown Poker Run dates are:

        May 28th, 2017 - Leverick Bay Marina and Resort Virgin Gorda, BVI

        July 2, 2017 – Yacht Haven Grande Marina, St. Thomas, USVI

        July 29, 2017 – The Yacht Club at Isle de Sol, St. Maarten

The winner of all three events will be presented with the IGY Cup, plus $20,000 in cash and prizes.

Register today at http://caribbeanpokerrun.com/register/

Event website: http://caribbeanpokerrun.com

 ladies poker run

The Caribbean Triple Crown Poker Run

The Caribbean Triple Crown Poker Run is a non-profit organization whose mission is to drive awareness in the local and international boating communities, promote the Caribbean as a unique destination for nautical tourism, and raise funds for local charities. The Caribbean Triple Crown Poker Run unites the 3 most successful nautical poker runs in the Caribbean region by forming a conglomerate of events under its auspices, similar to the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing.

The board of directors includes:

        Javier Lopez – Co-Producer, Marketing Manager and Founder

        Guilderoy Sprauve - Producer and Founder of the USVI Stars and Stripes Poker Run

        Verne Wheatley – BVI Government Officer

        Nick Willis – BVI Poker Run Founder and Director and Leverick Bay Resort Marina General Manager

        Monica Willis – Co-Founder and Director of BVI Poker Run and Leverick Bay Resort and Marina Hospitality Manager

        Brian Deher – IGY Isle del Sol Marina SXM General Manager and Director of Operations

        Lloyd Tackling – US Embassy Representative for Saint Maarten

several boats poker run

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STB secures discounted local fares as Seaborne goes daily to Puerto Rico

POND ISLAND - Minister of Tourism Mellissa Arrindell-Doncher on Wednesday announced that Seaborne Airlines, after discussions with the St. Maarten Tourism Bureau (STB), have launched daily flights out of San Juan, Puerto Rico with the main purpose of driving prices lower on that critical route ahead of the busy Caribbean travel period normally experienced in June through August.

Additionally, the Minister also announced that STB has secured an agreement with Seaborne that will result in a 20 percent discounted fare for all locals out of St. Maarten.

“They can book it online or by phone, and just have to present a valid local ID or Dutch Passport upon departure,” the Minister said.

The daily flights by Seaborne commenced on May 5 and will run for the rest of the year. Prior to this Seaborne used to service St. Maarten four times a week in the high season and three times a week in the low season. Now we’re going from three to seven flights in the low season which will drive more Caribbean traffic to the destination.

“Seaborne will also as part of our incentive deal offer free travel vouchers when necessary for government to travel on business, saving the government (and thus tax payers) potential thousands of guilders a year as well.

“Seaborne will also be working with STB on servicing critical routes that have since been dropped by LIAT such as St. Croix and St. Thomas,” the Minister said.

The Minister explained that the intention is to create a sister-island relationship between San Juan and St. Maarten so that locals from each island can enjoy discount travel to one another's destinations.

“St. Maarten is the big beneficiary here since our travelling market is much smaller than that of Puerto Rico. We aim to continue to create more benefits for locals travelling abroad by means of our route development plans with airlines, so the public can look forward to more incentives where possible,” the Minister concluded.

The offer is already active to request reservations and is valid to travel until October 15, 2017.  To obtain the local discounted fares simply go to www.seaborneairlines.com and enter the promotion code: PRTC20 in the “evoucher” area when requesting flights or just simply mention the code when calling our reservations department at Toll Free:  866-359-8784.

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Two arrested for attempted robbery on Sunday on the Boardwalk

PHILIPSBURG - Detectives are presently investigating an attempted robbery which took place on the Boardwalk in the vicinity of Passangrahan Hotel on Sunday May 7th at approximately 2.10 p.m.

The female victim stated that she and her family were on the Boardwalk when she was attacked by two unknown young men who attempted to pull her bag with personal belongings away from her.

She resisted and started calling for help. The suspects then let her go and fled in the direction of Front Street. The victim immediately informed the police of what had taken place and gave a complete description of the suspects.

The Police Bike patrols in the Philipsburg area were immediately given this information and started a search for the suspects. Shortly after two young men fitting the description of the suspects were stopped by a bike patrol.

The victim identified both suspects as the same two men who attempted to rob her shortly before. Both suspects with initials S.P. and M.B. were arrested on the spot and taken to the Philipsburg Police station where they were put into custody for further investigation. (Police Force Sint Maarten)

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SZV donates Water Bottles for CPS Vaccination Open House on Saturday

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – With Vaccination Week in the Americas (VWA) 2017 having just concluded at the end of April, the Collective Prevention Services (CPS) recently received 250 re-useable water bottles from Social & Health Insurances (SZV) for the first of two planned Vaccination Open House events, the first one set for Saturday.    

The second Open House is scheduled for Saturday, June 10.  Saturday’s Open House will be held at the Vineyard Office Park in Philipsburg from 9.00am to 4.00pm for children between 0-17 years old.

Parents and guardians are asked to bring their child’s vaccination record/book to the Open House.  There will also be presentations from 10.00am to 1.30pm on Oral Health, Puberty and Reproductive Health.

Vaccines help your immune system fight more than 20 dangerous diseases.  From the time we’re born, vaccines offer protection to help individuals stay healthy throughout their entire lives.

This is the 15th year that VWA has been organized.  It was held under the theme: #GetVax to celebrate a healthy tomorrow!

CPS, a department of the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, is holding its Open House under the banner of the VWA 2017. 

The Region of the Americas has been a global leader in the elimination of vaccine-preventable diseases for many years. In 1971, the Americas became the first region in the world to eliminate smallpox; in 1994, the region was declared free of polio; in 2015, the Americas put an end to rubella and congenital rubella syndrome, and in 2016, the countries eliminated measles transmission.

These achievements, together with high national immunization coverages, and the advances towards the elimination of neonatal tetanus and the control of diphtheria and pertussis, have positioned the Americas as a global leader in immunization.

From the time VWA was started in 2003, more than 640 million people in the Region of the Americas have been vaccinated under the umbrella of VWA activities, against many dangerous diseases - including polio, measles, rubella, rotavirus, human papilloma virus (HPV), influenza, and yellow fever.

Evidence continues to show that vaccination is one of the safest, most cost-effective ways to prevent diseases and death. The polio vaccine has prevented 15 million cases of paralysis worldwide, and it is estimated that its eradication will result in economic savings of some $40-50 billion dollars.

Those who need additional information about the Open House can call CPS at 542-2078 or 542-3003.

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U 2 Can Move encourages medical check-ups

PHILIPSBURG - As part of its 5-years anniversary, U 2 Can Move (U2CM) members will be engaging the services of the Mobile Health Bus on Monday, May 8th. 

The mobile health bus is coordinated by the Collective Preventive Services (CPS) of the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA). 

On Monday, May 8th, the bus will be stationed on the Pondfill, across from the Sports Auditorium from 4 pm.

Everyone is encouraged to stop by and be "checked and measured" by the professionals who will be manning the bus. 

"We are extremely grateful to CPS for their cooperation and we invite persons to spontaneously 'drop in”.

U 2 Can Move is a fitness program, celebrating 5 years of existence under the leadership of President of Parliament, Member of Parliament (MP) Sarah Wescot-Williams. 

"Our health statistics where many diseases and illnesses are concerned are quite alarming. We of U2CM do our small part in encouraging women to take charge and we recommend physical activeness as the basis for everything we do," MP Wescot-Williams said. 

Today there is also U2CM Curaçao, something we are very proud of.

So come out and drop by the Health Bus on Monday afternoon. It's free of charge. 

MP Wescot: "If you are happy with the results, join us thereafter at the John Larmonie Center. If you are not happy with the results, join us at the John Larmonie Center. There is a surprise for the first MALE to visit the health bus on Monday afternoon." 

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Tourist Bureau plans Junior Minister of Tourism Inter-Scholastic Panel Discussion for May 19

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – The St. Maarten Tourist Bureau (STB) is currently preparing for its first Junior Minister of Tourism Inter-Scholastic Panel Discussion.

The winner of the panel discussion will represent Sint Maarten at the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) Youth Tourism Congress in Grenada in October.

The Junior Minister of Tourism will represent the country at local and regional functions together with the Tourist Bureau. 

In Grenada, the winner will compete against eight to 10 other countries/islands for the regional title of Junior Minister of Tourism.

The panel discussion will take place on Friday, May 19 at the Sonesta Great Bay Beach Hotel from 9.00am to 12.00pm.

The participating schools are: Milton Peters College four sections (MPC), Sundial School, Methodist Agogic Centre, St. Dominic High School, St. Maarten Academy and Charlotte Brookson Academy.

Students must be prepared to share their knowledge and views on tourism issues.  They will be asked to choose one of three tourism-related topics to research and present their findings to a panel of judges and an audience of fellow students, teachers and parents.

PHOTO CUTLINE: Sundial School Team. (Photo contributed)

Sundial High School

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FOUR TOPICS TO BE ADDRESSED AT APS PENSION SEMINAR

PHILIPSBURG – St. Maarten’s general pension fund administrator, APS, will feature four main topics during its seminar, to be held on May 19 upcoming.

The seminar will be held with the theme ‘Your Future is Our Day to Day’ at the Maho Room of the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort. The event starts at 1.30 p.m. and ends with a cocktail hour at 5.00 p.m.

The seminar will provide APS with an opportunity to elucidate on matters it considers of importance to participants of the fund. This as response to the feedback of the fund’s participants, regarding the communication strategy of the APS. This seminar will serve as a platform which brings all together in a setting where information can be shared and exchanged.

With the seminar, the general pension fund endeavors to convey its commitment to participants, that APS hears their concerns and that it responds to client needs.

Important to the pension fund is that client’s concerns and questions are ultimately considered in future communication strategies.

“We would like to leave our participants with the feeling that they are very welcomed by us and that they can trust us”, says APS Director, Nadya van Putten.

This month’s seminar will thus be in keeping with the fund’s commitment to provide information and to obtain feedback from participants, pensioners and other stakeholders, on a regular basis.

APS envisions raising awareness while disseminating pertinent information regarding pensions in general and aspects of the pension reform process.

For registration for this seminar, participants and pensioners of APS can send an e-mail to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Talks on forming a new government resume after lengthy break

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Talks on forming a new four-party coalition government resumed on Wednesday, a day later than planned.

The negotiations should have restarted on Tuesday after a lengthy break, but were postponed so that GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver could attend his mother’s funeral.

‘My mother would have wanted it no other way,’ Klaver told reporters on his way to the talks.

The talks are taking place between the two Liberal parties VVD and D66, the Christian Democrats and the green party GroenLinks.

Three main issues are likely to provide the most sticking points: income policy, climate change and immigration.

In terms of income policy, GroenLinks is keen to reduce the pay gap between the rich and poor while the VVD wants to widen the gap between social security benefits and salaries.

The VVD and CDA are opposed to several of GroenLink’s proposals to tackle climate change, although all four parties’ think-tanks have drawn up a common strategy for the environment. (DutchNews)

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