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Lone Robber takes Cash at RBC-bank in Philipsburg on Friday afternoon

PHILIPSBURG - Detectives are presently investigating a robbery which took place at RBC-BANK in Philipsburg on Friday April 28th at approximately 3.30 p.m. This is when a still unidentified man walked up to a female teller of the bank and slipped her a note which stated that he was in the possession of an explosive device and that she hand over all of the cash.

The teller complied with the demand of this unknown man and handed over an undisclosed amount of cash.

The suspect then left the bank without raising any suspicion of the robbery he had just committed. The teller immediately informed management what had taken place. The police was immediately notified and an investigation into the matter is ongoing.

No further details in connection with this case are available at this time and as soon as more details become available the media will be informed.

The Police is asking anyone who may have information regarding this robbery to get in contact with the police department by calling 54-22222 ext. 213-214, the anonymous tip line 9300 or 911. (Police Force Sint Maarten)

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Toddler time a huge success. 40 kids and parents attend

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – A storytelling session called ‘Toddler Time,’ that took place on April 22 was a huge success.

‘Toddler Time’ was organized by the section Youth Health Care (YHC) from the Department of Collective Prevention Service (CPS), a department in the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, and was held at the Philipsburg Jubilee Library toddler room.

In an interview with the coordinator Registered Nurse Ivanca Woodley-Sterling, she confirmed that at least 40 children were present at the event with either one or both parents.

Although the focus was on storytelling, it was a true Toddler time event with also singing and playing games. The children participated very well and had a lot of fun, Nurse Ivanca said.

The storytelling was done by Mitsha Giterson, and CPS expresses a special thank you to Giterson for her contribution.  

The goal through storytelling was to get the parents involved with the kids learning abilities. Studies have shown that kids that breastfeed tend to be smarter. The focus was not only on the breastfeeding kids, but about different facets of child development.

The objective was to work hand in hand with parents in order to get all children where they should be. ‘Toddler Time’ wasn’t only about storytelling and learning abilities, it was also about bonding time between the parents and their children.

Parents are encouraged to visit the library and make use of the literature that is available providing factual information about the importance of breastfeeding.

CPS also encourages parents to visit the library for their regular reading programs for toddlers and school-going children which take place throughout the year.

Toddler time success 2017 pix2

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PPA LEADER ARRINDELL: IS THERE A PERFECT STORM BREWING?

PHILIPSBURG – Leader of the People Progressive Alliance (PPA) Gracita Arrindell states: “There’s a term often used ‘Might is Right’ that comes to mind after making the subsequent analyses of the many trips made over the past couple of years to The Hague by local Ministers, in an effort to convince their counterparts that Sint Maarten, has lived up to the agreements to establish this new entity, the Integrity chamber.  Arguably a new supervisory structure that is neither ‘fish nor fowl.’

“With the decision of the constitutional courts in hand to add weight to their arguments, has not lead to an ounce of sympathy from Holland. These meetings and last minute efforts by the present William Marlin led government to stave off Higher Supervision fell on deaf ears in the Netherlands. It was a no go from the start.  Subsequently, both sides resorted to send emotionally charged messages over the heads of the citizens to make a point that made no sense whatsoever.”

Arrindell continues: “Bottom line, this a serious situation.  A situation that requires a new and different approach in dealing with such critical matters in a way that one can map out the road to success, without losing face so to speak.  Sint Maarten Parliament also ‘debated’ the issue, regrettably without establishing a firm path forward.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that law abiding citizens in Sint Maarten want, expect and deserve nothing less than Integrity from decision makers at all levels of Government. Civil servants elected and appointed public officials.”  While we agree that Integrity starts with your self –behaviour, the quintessential question remains how to move forward on this issue without going on a witch- hunt?  Holland decided to move forward and impose an instruction. Is might right?” Arrindell said.

“In spite of the Instruction to establish the Integrity Chamber, the current impasse requires going back to sit around the table and apply quite diplomacy (a reference I have used in the past) as well  as making a continued effort to invest and strengthen our  local judicial departments and supervisory entities, including the High Councils of State.

“Recruiting and including fresh young minds and bring them to the table is imperative to find a way out of this stale mate.  It is also clear that the powers in The Hague know our weaknesses when it pertains to negotiating this issue. Government in Philipsburg is first and foremost accountable to the people of Sint Maarten.”

Gracita concludes: “The devil remains in the details. Convincing and firmly assure our citizens that Integrity in our decision making process is part and parcel of our behavior will ultimately lead to changing the equation of being a true self-governing entity going forward.”

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St. Maarten Sports and Olympic Federation delegation heads to Cuba

POND ISLAND - On Sunday April 23, 2017, a group consisting of seven athletes and seven delegates left for Cuba to attend the St. Maarten Promising Athletes (SPA) training camp, according to a press release from the Cabinet of the Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports.

The delegation is expected to be in Cuba from April 23 to May 3, 2017.  The sports traveling delegation consist of:

Judo – I. Bell, M. Bell, K. Olivacce and M. Bell

Athletics - N. Milton

Cycling – W. Chittick

Aquatics - A. Thomas

The release continues: “The training camp will take place at the Olympic Training Center in Cuba and will be executed, in collaboration with the SMSOF, by the Cuban national coaches with high performance training in mind.

“This trip is one of the many planned training camps which aim to enhance the abilities of our athletes.  The SMSOF is expected to be traveling to Colorado Springs in July for further training with these athletes and to the Dominican Republic as they did last year, with the baseball, boxing, volleyball and basketball teams and the other teams from swimming and athletics to further develop the athletes. 

“The various training camps, as previously stated, aim to engage the athletes based on their individual needs, development and skill set which will optimize their potential output in the long run.

“The Ministry commend the efforts of the Federation to further develop our athletes and look forward to a positive outcome.”

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SMCP SAYS UPP FACTION FORFEITS OPPORTUNITY TO REPRESENT THE PEOPLE

PHILIPSBURG - The Central Committee of Parliament made history last week when it scheduled ample time to discuss the 2016-2020 Governing Program “Solidarity for Prosperity”, a press release from the Leader of the Sint Maarten Christian Party (SMCP) Wycliffe Smith said on Tuesday.

“As far as I can recall, this is the first time that Parliament planned so many meetings to handle a governing program. The only other topic for which so many meetings are scheduled by parliament is the country’s budget. I am a strong believer that these two go hand in hand and we should expect to see the priorities and projects listed in the governing program also reflected in all future budgets presented.

“The United Democratic Alliance (UDA), comprised of the USP, DP and NA factions, also ought to be commended for their display of unity during the opening presentation. Unfortunately, the individual presentations by the various ministers sounded more like the wish list of excited children in a toy store who want everything in the store without taking their parents’ pocketbook into consideration.

“The Ministers should have presented a more realistic overview of their 2017 plans and how these corroborate with the 2017 budget of the country. In my opinion, the Minister of Education came the closest to doing just that.

“Parliamentarians, who are part of the coalition, should realize that working on drafting the governing program does not exempt them from still being critical and asking pertinent questions concerning the program. They must remember that the general public did not get the opportunity to read the governing program for themselves and therefore, any question or comment raised by a parliamentarian would definitely help to further inform and enlighten the general public.

“In addition, I am of the opinion that the governing program must be synchronized with the budget. Just as parliamentarians raised many critical questions during the budget debate, they should also be just as critical about the governing program, particularly as it relates to financing the various plans and projects.

“The President of Parliament, the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams, although being part of the UDA coalition, still raised several pertinent points regarding the governing program and even went as far as to caution the government to “keep their finger on the pulse of” issues such as waste management, the hospital and health care and the integrity chamber. The other members of parliament, especially our first-time parliamentarians, can learn a lot from the vast parliamentary experience of our President of Parliament.

“The absence of the United People’s Party (UPP) at the meeting is regrettable and cause for great concern. The UPP faction missed out on a golden opportunity to truly represent the people of Sint Maarten.  People call the UPP the opposition in Parliament. The better name, however, would be “the minority faction”, because the word “opposition” implies that their job is solely to oppose whatever government proposes or does, which is not the case.

“The role of the minority faction is to be very critical of government’s proposals in order to ensure that these benefit the people and are executed in a responsible manner. In fact, this should be the role of all parliamentarians, whether they are in the coalition or in the minority faction.

“Unfortunately, the UPP parliamentarians chose to be missing in action and consequently did not live up to their responsibility to represent all of the people of Sint Maarten as stipulated in article 44 of the Constitution. This type of political tactics belongs to old school politics and do not contribute to raising the bar in parliament. If they were present, the UPP minority faction would have demonstrated political maturity.

“Are we to interpret this absence to mean that the governing program is worthless and does not deserve UPP’s time or energy? Does this absence signify that UPP does not care about the people’s business and does not have any interest in the plans that government has for this country? Is this absence an indication that the party is still upset and bitter about not being in government and that this is a way to boycott everything that the ADU government plans to do for the people?

“Does UPP’s absence mean that the minority faction in parliament is not taking its commitment to represent the people seriously? I am of the opinion that once politicians have been elected to parliament they should begin to act like statesmen and put the people’s business before politics. It is time we raise the bar in our parliament! I believe that the UPP faction owes all the people of Sint Maarten, whom they should have been representing during the meeting on the governing program, an explanation and/or an apology.

“What example did the UPP faction set and what message have they sent by being absent and forfeiting their responsibility to represent the people? Are they telling our people that if they do not agree with the people on their jobs they can just stay away without giving a notice of absence or an apology? Being business people themselves, they very well know that in the corporate world this type of behavior would never be tolerated.

“There, it is expected that employees, who do not show up to work, give a valid reason for their absence otherwise they suffer the consequences. They can receive a warning, the time away from the job can be deducted from their salaries or they can eventually be fired. Unfortunately, in the case of our parliamentarians there is no immediate sanction. However, seeing that the UPP faction was absent without notice, I wonder … would they do the honorable thing and instruct the President of Parliament to have the hours, that they did not attend the April 20th meeting, deducted from their salaries?” Wycliffe Smith, Leader of the Sint Maarten Christian Party said.

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Section Economic Control takes action against noise nuisance. Revocation of licenses for those who don’t comply

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – Section Economic Control Inspection Service of the Ministry Tourism, Economic Affairs, Traffic and Telecommunications (Ministry TEATT), has carried out a number of controls of business establishments such as bars in various neighborhoods regarding the level of music.

Businesses have been advised that they must comply with the regulations and laws as stipulated in their licenses and permits. 

Those who do not comply, the department will be forced to issue fines and warnings with the final measure being the revoking of licenses and permits by the Minster of TEATT.

The law allows for businesses to have music up to a maximum decibel level.  A decibel is a unit of measurement that indicates how loud a sound is. 

Humans can hear sounds between 0 and 140 decibels. Zero decibels does not mean that there is no sound, merely that we cannot hear it.  Zero decibel is the so-called hearing threshold for the human ear.

One can hear more than 140 decibels, but it is too painful for the ears and if you expose yourself to such a loud noise, you are at extremely high risk of permanent damage to your hearing.  

Section Economic Control has received a number of complaints especially in built up areas, and is addressing these with the establishments by suggesting to them how to mitigate the sound issues, and for them to abide by what is stated in their permits.

Section Economic Control will continue to carry out regular controls of establishments with respect to noise nuisance. 

Section Economic Control is located at Cannegieter Street #23 downstairs, next to Sister Borgia School in Philipsburg. 

Any businesses requiring information can call 542-5641 or 542-4509 during office hours for any queries that you may have. The department may also be contacted via email at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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Section Economic Control very active regarding compliance of supermarkets and grocers in first quarter

GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – Section Economic Control Inspection Service of the Ministry Tourism, Economic Affairs, Traffic and Telecommunications (Ministry TEATT), have been busy carrying out a number of controls of supermarkets making sure that they comply with current regulations and laws.

According to the 2017 Year Plan of the Ministry, a survey was carried out of 126 small grocers and supermarkets with respect to determining the current state of affairs within this important economic sector.

On the basis of the information gathered during this survey, the Economic Control Section has commenced carrying out controls which will continue in the coming months in a multi-disciplinary fashion as announced earlier by Government, whereby Section Economic Control will be part of a team comprising of other government entities.

Some of the things that were controlled during the first quarter of 2017 were: whether grocers and supermarkets were operating according to the stipulations in their licenses; which establishments have a kitchen and produce hot food on a daily basis; display of product pricing; properly calibrated weighing instruments and measuring devices etc.

The controls will continue for the foreseeable future and Section Economic Control is asking business owners and the general public for their cooperation to ensure compliance with existing applicable laws.

Section Economic Control is located at Cannegieter Street #23 upstairs, next to Sister Borgia School in Philipsburg. 

Any businesses requiring information can call 542-5641 or 542-4509 during office hours for any queries that you may have.  The department may also be contacted via email at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Former Miss Mature Hands over Portfolio

PHILIPSBURG - Miss Mature Carnival Queen 2017-2018, Ms. Michelline Hunte, extended an invitation to and a request of Miss Mature Carnival Queen 2016 Ms. Norrisa Anatol, to be a part of her reign.

This gathering took place on Sunday 23rd April 2017 at Holland House Resort. Ms. Hunte’s objective behind this invitation was described with this quote, “If it’s not broke, don’t try to fix it.”

Ms. Hunte’s congratulated Ms. Anatol on her reign and setting the bar high for all queens to follow. In addition to requesting Ms. Anatol to be a part of her reign, Ms. Hunte requested that she build on the legacy in which Ms. Anatol started as the 2016-2017 Miss Mature Queen.

Both ladies sat together, discussed and began establishing other projects in which Ms. Hunte can execute in addition to what is in Anatol’s portfolio.

At the end of the gathering, Ms. Anatol presented Ms. Hunte with a copy of her portfolio and made a verbal agreement to be a part of her team. Ms. Hunte is eager to commence her reign and look forward to the full support from the St. Maarten community.

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JetBlue to include new seasonal service between Boston and Sint Maarten as of November 4 Plus...

SINT MAARTEN/NEW YORK - JetBlue recently announced it is progressing with its Mint transcontinental expansion plan with the on-sale of new routes, introducing competition in east and west coast markets where customers are faced with decreasing choices and where other carriers sell dated business class options at a high cost.

For the first time, JetBlue is now offering Mint seats out-for-sale on the following new and expanded routes: New York (JFK) and Las Vegas (LAS), New York (JFK) and San Diego (SAN), and Boston (BOS) and San Diego (SAN).

In addition to the new Mint routes, JetBlue will expand Mint service between Boston and Los Angeles. JetBlue will also continue to leverage its Mint fleet opportunistically by bringing back seasonal favorites and growing Caribbean Mint routes, including new seasonal service between Boston and St. Maarten’s Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM).

JetBlue is also adding more premium service on peak travel days between New York-JFK and St. Maarten, a Mint route it first introduced last fall. A second daily roundtrip is being added over the Christmas peak and on the Saturdays before and after Thanksgiving.

Customers on many of these routes have never had the option to fly a modern and customer-focused premium experience, including the longest fully-flat bed seating in the U.S. domestic premium market (a), fully enclosed private suites, a 15-inch flat screen with complimentary entertainment and the unmatched hospitality of JetBlue crewmembers.

The wave of new Mint flights grows the airline’s popular premium service to approximately 70 daily Mint flights before the end of the year. By December 2017, roughly one in every 14 JetBlue flights will offer Mint.

“When we set out to reinvent premium travel nearly three years ago, we knew we were on to something revolutionary,” said Marty St. George, executive vice president, JetBlue. “But even as a constant innovator, we could have never imagined that we would be landing Mint in cities up and down the east and west coasts.”

New Mint Routes Serve Markets with Strong Demand for Premium Travel

Later this year JetBlue will add Mint on four new routes and in two new cities that have not previously had scheduled Mint service. On each route, JetBlue will be the only airline to offer a regularly scheduled lie-flat domestic product.

Boston – Caribbean

Travelers in Boston looking for a winter warm up this season will benefit from a new Caribbean Mint route from Logan. On Saturdays between November and April, JetBlue will operate Mint flights between Boston and St. Maarten. St. Maarten is home to world-class resorts and calm waters and also serves as a gateway to nearby St. Bart’s and Anguilla which are two of the top luxury destinations in the Caribbean.

Mint Schedule Between Boston (BOS) and St. Maarten (SXM)

Saturdays Beginning November 4, 2017 – April 2018:

BOS – SXM Flight #77                          SXM – BOS Flight #78

7:15 a.m. – 12:32 p.m.                        1:57 p.m. – 5:24 p.m.

Favorite Seasonal Caribbean Mint Routes Return

JetBlue is bringing back many of the same popular Caribbean Mint routes it has previously operated. Seats are on sale now for service between:

New York-JFK and Grenada’s Maurice Bishop International Airport (GND)

Beginning December 2

New York and St. Lucia’s Hewanorra International Airport (UVF)

Beginning December 2

New York-JFK and St. Maarten

Beginning November 4

New York-JFK and Aruba

Beginning September 9

Boston and Barbados

Beginning November 4

Boston and Aruba

Beginning September 9

Seattle Mint to Come

The start date for already announced Mint service in Seattle will be announced in the coming months.

Why Customers Love Mint

Mint offers a completely rethought design and a more personal approach to service, addressing the needs of the modern traveler. Mint features exceptional hospitality from specially trained crewmembers.

Favorite Mint features include a signature cocktail, a tapas-style menu by New York City restaurant Saxon + Parole, fresh espresso from the first purpose-built cappuccino machine for a U.S. airline, amenity kits by Hayward and Hopper, and dessert from Blue Marble and Milk Bar.

JetBlue is the only U.S. airline to operate regular service with lie-flat seating to multiple Caribbean destinations. Additionally, customers can expect the same Mint experience they love on transcontinental routes, with an added twist: Mint's northbound menus from Caribbean destinations will feature regionally inspired small plates such as ginger-marinated shrimp, jerk pork tenderloin and pan seared flying fish, curated by a local culinary team. Mint customers on these flights will also be treated to a welcome drink featuring rum and island flavors.

Since launching in 2014, Mint has become a favorite way for celebrities, technology executives, creatives, and entrepreneurs to travel across the country. Mint was recognized by Fast Company’s Innovation By Design Awards, which honors innovative and disruptive design that pushes boundaries and seeks to change the world.

JetBlue’s Airbus A321 With Mint Offers Every Customer A Better Flight

All customers will benefit from JetBlue's new Airbus A321 with Mint aircraft, which features the airline's new core experience for customers seated throughout the entire aircraft.

Features of the A321 core interior include 10-inch television screens offering free entertainment, comfortable seats with the most legroom in coach (b) and power outlets accessible to all customers. JetBlue's popular marketplace, a self-serve station full of free snacks, sodas and water for customers to enjoy at their convenience, is also available throughout the flight. And all A321 aircraft offer JetBlue's free Fly-Fi high-speed broadband Internet service when flying over the contiguous U.S.(c), access to JetBlue's Hub content on personal devices and first-run Hollywood movies.

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Female Taxi driver Ill-treated

MAHO - On Friday, April 21, around 3am the police dispatch sent a patrol to Sonesta Maho where a taxi driver was ill treated by two men.

When the patrol arrived the taxi driver claimed that the men had assaulted her and that she wanted to press charges.

The police immediately arrested the man with initials T.T. A. from the USA. The investigation continues. (Police Force Sint Maarten) 

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