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Detention extended for MP F.G.R. and businessman J.H.B. by eight days

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – The Public Prosecution Service announced on Friday, February 16, that two suspects detained in connection with the Emerald investigation, namely Member of Parliament F.G.R. and businessman J.H.B., their detention has been extended by eight days.

On Friday, February 16, the two suspects were brought before the Judge of Instruction who reviewed documentation related to the case and stated that the arrests were done in accordance with the law.

ARCHIVE (FEBRUARY 14, 2018/INITIAL STORY) - The anti-corruption team TBO executed two searches in homes and one in a company on Sint Maarten, a joint press release from the Public Prosecution Service (OM) and the Anti-Corruption Unit said on Wednesday.

“Two suspects were arrested. One home was seized. The arrest of F.G. R. (1968) is the result of the research "Emerald", an investigation into fraud and corruption in the port of Sint Maarten. In that case, 7 suspects were still in session last week. In two of those cases the judge pronounces judgment on 22 February 2018.

“The other cases will be discussed further in the month of March of this year. The accused suspect is a member of the parliament on Sint Maarten, just like the suspect C.E. B., one of the seven suspects who were at court last week. F.G. R. is suspected of accepting bribes and tax fraud. F.G.R. is also suspected of participating in a criminal organization aimed at recruiting votes for itself.

“This investigation is run by the National Detective Agency of Sint Maarten (Landsrecherche Sint Maarten) under the direction of the Public Prosecutor's Office of Sint Maarten. On February 13, 2018 a search was conducted against him at an address in the Sucker Garden district and today 14 February 2018 at addresses on the French part, Saint Martin, including at the address of the defendant himself.

“Data carriers and administration were seized during the search. The second arrest concerns J.H. B. (1964) and emerged from the research "Larimar", an investigation into, among other things, the bribery of civil servants, (political) authorities and persons in the construction sector.

“Previous actions, including a search on January 24, 2018 at a construction company on Sint Maarten, led to this arrest. The defendant is the director of the construction company. In addition to these arrests, the TBO has also searched a company building in the same investigation today.

“The TBO has special attention on Sint Maarten after the destruction after hurricane Irma and regarding the reconstruction of Sint Maarten. TBO is alert to signs of corruption and fraud in both the public sector and the construction sector. The Public Prosecutor’s Office (OM) of Sint Maarten will be extra alert during the period up to the elections on signals of buying and selling votes ('vote buying'),” the joint press statement concludes.

Persons who have information about this are asked to contact the National Detective Agency (Landsrecherche Sint Maarten) - if necessary anonymously. This is possible via the telephone number: +1721-5225810.

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PAID TRAINING OPPORTUNITY FOR PERSONS INTERESTED IN HOSPITALITY WORK

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - Post hurricane Irma and Maria, Government continues to seek out ways to bridge the current economic and social gaps evolving in our community.

The Ministry of VSA and TEATT has partnered with the Sint Maarten Training Foundation (SMTF) to introduce a hospitality training program for persons working in the tourism sector. It is a paid training program with the objective to prevent mass layoffs in the hospitality industry.

“A successful St. Maarten always depends on its people.   The success of our work force in this training project will be a major factor in determining how well St. Maarten’s economy will rebound and its ability to compete with other countries in the region.” - Cornelius de Weever (Minister TEATT)

“As long as the tourism sector does not (fully) recover, programs need to be put in place which will help ensure the livelihood of persons. This project is one of the PIER’s (personal incentives for economic recovery) program which provides cash for temporary employment, training or education to underemployed and unemployed persons. We commend the initiators of the project which has presented a viable solution and opportunity for the vulnerable group of employees and employers; this is a true example of using a disaster as an opportunity to grow and become stronger.” – Emil Lee (Minister VSA)

It is a known reality that the majority of local business operations have been severely impacted. The hospitality industry of St. Maarten is a major employer and many would conclude that the pillar of our economy has been significantly hit. An anticipated consequence of this is mass dismissals and business closures.

Recognizing the opportunity to train, upgrade and enhance the skills of workers (or previous) in the hospitality industry for the boost of the tourism product; the Sint Maarten Training Foundation (SMTF) consequently initiated a hospitality training geared towards enhanced hospitality skills.

The subsidy granted allows this program to be sustainable for another 4 months with the possibility to train some 1350 persons. Government is committed to sustain this project throughout the recovery process and has been working in close collaboration with the World Bank and the Netherlands to ensure the program can be expanded once additional funding is made available. 

In exchange for work rendered or training undertaken, eligible individuals are provided with an income in the form of a stipend and keep their job in the hospitality sector. The cash-based approach not only encourages trade, production, and creates secondary economic benefits, but also allows people greater choice and control over how they will rebuild their lives, thus helping to restore their dignity as well as their livelihoods.

“This project will improve our service product and our hospitality sector as a whole and create stability on the labor market. This also safeguards the livelihoods of the vulnerable groups for instance women who aren’t easily mobilized into the construction industry.” – Emil Lee (Minister VSA)

The Project will be executed by the Sint Maarten Training foundation, for more information see the website: hospitalityfirst.sx or mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Further information on subscribing to the program will be published by the Sint Maarten Training Foundation. 

Government will continue to seek, develop and support similar types of training opportunities for other sectors within our economy. In aims that we truly recover and achieve the build back better as a community.

PHOTO: Minister of Labour Emil Lee

Minister Emil Lee NEW

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FRANKIE SAYS: “WE HAVE DONE IT BEFORE AND WE WILL DO IT AGAIN”

PHILIPSBURG - “Lots has been said in the last couple of months, but the sole reason for our motion of no confidence in the Marlin cabinet was to safeguard this Country from spiraling down in craters of irreparable economic catastrophe and human disaster”, United People Party’s (UP) deputy leader and number 3 candidate on the United Democrats (UD) list Frankie Meyers stated on Thursday in a press statement.

“Let’s take a step back in time: In 2010 we became a country within the kingdom while the World was still recovering from an economic crisis. However, the UPP/DP-led government successfully managed to increase tourist arrivals and thus provide income for our People.

“While islands around us saw a sharp decline in figures we managed to remain the leaders in our region. Then the unfortunate happened and in 2012 that government subsequently fell. Elections were not called as there was a new majority in Parliament that was willing to work together. This severely interrupted marketing strategies, restructuring of our tax system and dealing with the dump issue, just to name a few.

“When we then took office again we found our cash flow severely depleted, a non-existent marketing program for our one pillar tourism economy, the project offering solutions for the dump halted and our government owned companies being fleeced for pet projects.

“We got to work again and decided that we would build a new hospital and make it part of an overall strategy for diversification of our tourism product, including medical tourism and educational tourism (which would be a significant boost for our much troubled University). However, that too came to an end a little over a year. Whenever we were given a clear mandate the economy flourished!

“We successfully built a port, secured new airlines coming to St. Maarten, engaged in strategic marketing partnerships, got link 9 (causeway) built as part of the St. Maarten road infrastructure improvement (which was halted once again when NA took office) and so much more.

“More than ever, we need to have a clear mandate from the People of St. Maarten to quickly, yet structurally, rebuild our Island with urgent attention being placed on the immediate reconstruction of homes, re-employment of our People, and a waste to energy solution for the dump.

“We have done it in the past, our track record shows it. There is no time for experiments, not at the cost of the livelihood and wellbeing of our Country! We have done it before and we will do it again. Therefore, give the UD an outright majority to govern on February 26. Vote for yours truly, Frankie Meyers, number 3 on the UD slate.”

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St. Maarten Heineken Regatta Announces Party Venue, Artists and Post-Irma Fundraising Efforts

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - The St. Maarten Heineken Regatta is ready to start! Despite the challenges that Hurricane Irma brought to Sint Maarten a few months ago, in just a few short weeks, the 38th St. Maarten Heineken Regatta will be in full swing.

The Regatta, known as the largest warm water regatta in the world, is set to take place March 1-4, 2018 and will still host a few thousand visitors to the island’s Caribbean shores.

The international and local entertainment acts have been booked and the iconic Heineken event stage will soon be erected. Despite any concerns post-hurricane Irma for fewer registrations, sailors from all around the world have been rushing to enter to race in the Caribbean’s largest sailing event.

This year, there have been some exciting changes to the on-shore party venues. All music events will be hosted from one central location at Princess Port de Plaisance Resort. The large open-air fields at Port de Plaisance allow for the ultimate creative space to bring these high-energy events to life, in a unique festival style.

Thursday, March 1st, the day of the Gill Commodore’s Cup, officially starts off the regatta festivities with a night of music at Port de Plaisance. Thursday’s theme, Green Sensation, is back once again and will showcase a collaboration of the island’s top four DJs: Cutcreator DJ Outkast, DJ Bossman, DJ Big Boss and DJ Em. This is an interactive DJ set, which allows the audience to “vote” for the next music track.

Friday, March 2nd, will be a night of exceptional local talent. This event is in partnership with Port St. Maarten to bring the evening of “Re-Discover Sint Maarten” to life. The sounds of the island’s best local and international musicians including Remo & the Barbwire Band, Percy Rankin, What the Funk, Orange Grove, Ziggi Recado, and Patrick Grayham will be featured along with local artisans, groups, and organizations who can showcase and sell their work at the Regatta Marketplace. If you are interested in a booth at the Regatta Marketplace, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Saturday, March 3rd, takes the event to “Caribbean Jam”, which will be every Soca music lover’s absolute highlight. What better way to start off the Jam session, than with a SocaRumble segment, featuring Sint Maarten’s top Soca artists? You will be sure to jam the night away, with a performance by Antigua’s Onyan and 3 Cylinder, followed by the headliner of the night, the Soca-sensation from Trinidad and queen of Soca, Destra.

Sunday, March 4th, the final evening is named "Legendary Party". The event’s organizers have already announced that Shaggy will be returning to the stage, in what is sure to be an unforgettable performance. Also making a special appearance Sunday night will be JonnyGuy, Natty & The House from Anguilla and St. Maarten’s Youth Waves!

Thursday and Friday evenings will continue to be free to the public. The Saturday night, March 3rd, will have a $15 admission fee, and the Sunday night, March 4th will have a $25 admission fee for the general public. Corporate and VIP passes for the night’s concerts are available and include admission to the event, VIP area access, drinks, air-conditioned private restrooms and VIP parking.

VIP tickets for Saturday are $75, and Sunday goes for $100 a ticket. The St. Maarten Heineken Regatta is also offering special packages for sailors, the so-called Sailor Entertainment Packages. For only $75, competitors in the Regatta receive access to the Sailors lounge at all Concert nights with a fantastic view on stage, including private restrooms and admission for both the Saturday and Sunday night Concert.

 A portion of all proceeds will go towards various local charities, such as K1 Britannia, St. Maarten Sea Rescue Foundation, St. Maarten Nature Foundation, and the St. Maarten Yacht Club Regatta Foundation, in assistance of their various hurricane relief projects.

Aside from ticket sales, as a fundraising effort to rebuild Sint Maarten, there will be various fundraising activities in the Heineken Regatta Village. A portion of the food & beverage sales, art exhibition sales and much more will also go towards the hurricane relief fund, to be donated to the charities. The Regatta Venue will offer plenty of food and drinks for sale, as well as St. Maarten Heineken Regatta merchandise.

John Leone of International Liquors & Tobacco stated “We are extremely excited to welcome back some familiar faces and some of the most high-energy performers Sint Maarten has ever seen, to the stage this year. This is sure to be a nostalgic and intense line-up, with headliners like none other than Shaggy, Destra, Onyan & 3 Cyliner, Orange Grove, Ziggi Recado, and Patrick Grayham.”

Tickets for the Saturday and Sunday music events can be purchased at all UTS offices, both Van Dorp locations, the Sint Maarten Yacht Club, Island92 and Kooyman. Concert goers can decide to pay for their event tickets with Fun Miles. Tickets can also be ordered online at the Regatta website heinekenregatta.com.

General admission tickets for the Saturday event are $15 and $25 for the Sunday event. VIP tickets are $75 for the Saturday event and $100 for Sunday. Competitors in the Regatta can buy their Sailor Entertainment Package for $75.

UTS is offering great package deals to its customers including event tickets and top-up. Buy now a Weekender including General Admission for Saturday & Sunday, and $30 UTS top-up for only $45! For only $20 you can buy a Saturday ticket plus $10 top-up, and for $30, you’ll receive a Sunday ticket plus $20 top-up. Go to the UTS store in Philipsburg starting from the end of this week, and make sure you grab your deal. This deal is valid for the first 500 customers, after that, UTS will soon announce its updated packages.

The sole purpose of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta is to create an international sailing and music event that highlights the island of Sint Maarten and attracts visitors to the many hotels, restaurants and cultural highlights that this dual nation has to offer.

hein reg wed14 inside

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Prime Minister Romeo-Marlin expresses condolences on the passing of Ruud Lubbers

SINT MAARTEN/THE HAGUE - Prime Minister Leona Romeo Marlin has expressed her sympathy to the Government of the Netherlands and its people on behalf of Sint Maarten on the passing of former Prime Minister of the Netherlands Ruud Lubbers.

Ruud Lubbers was the longest serving Dutch Prime Minister, who led the Netherlands from 1982 to 1994. He died at the age of 78 and was the one that guided the Netherlands through economic turmoil to prosperity while helping shape the foundations of the European Union.

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Jeremy Huot Launches 2nd CD in Partnership with Small Businesses

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - As the local businesses in various industries continue to open their doors, the realization that we have to concentrate on our local economy our reality. After the passing of Irma, many are the challenges that the small business community are faced with on a daily basis.

However in the hope of supporting each other and keeping our economy alive, it is important to understand that partnerships are needed in order to generate revenues and continue offering our local consumers and visitors the best on our island.

On February 10th, Jeremy Huot, a Zouk / Afro Caribbean Simger joined a team of professionals and launched his 2nd Album: Carib Being. Although his roots are in Paris and the UK, Jeremy has made St.Maarten his home and has been able to provide live entertainment for various years within the hospitality industry.

Joining forces with local businesses, Jeremy was able to successfully launch at Rhythm & Booze. Under the coordination and marketing support of Kenty Lichtenberg - Be Your Own Brand, NicaNoir Kreative and T's Closet we were able to put a production together for the evening and attract a crowd that would enjoy live music, fashion show and ambience that would set the tone for the rest of your weekend.

The attendees provided great feedback and applauded the efforts that were made to ensure that this event was smooth and successful, proving once more that partnership in today's economy is an essential tool that will determine the longevity and consistent growth of your business.

Jeremy would like to thank everyone that made this event possible, for without your help and dedication it would not have been this successful reality.

Please stay connected with Jeremy via the following for any queries or booking:

Jeremy Huot

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Cellular Number +59069054815

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/jeremyzouk/

https://itunes.apple.com/fr/album/carib-being/1317810326

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Over 60 Winners in the Regatta Art Competition

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - On Sunday February 11th, the prize giving ceremony of the 19th annual St. Maarten Regatta Art Competition was held. Over 60 winners gathered at the Sint Maarten Yacht Club for the ceremony. The judges were astonished by all the talented artworks and were able to hand out a lot of prizes thanks to the many sponsors.

With five different age groups, the contest was open for all children between 4-18 years old. Over the past two months students worked hard on creating the most wonderful art pieces. They could choose from three assignments per age group ranging from making paper plate marine animals to designing a trophy.

With over 400 entered artworks, it wasn’t easy for the judges to make their decisions. This year’s panel consisted of Menelik and Claudio Arnell, Jimmy Lucero and Pierre Villedieu.

Menelik Arnell explains “We had such a hard time picking out the winners with so many amazing art pieces. What made it so difficult and what impressed us so much were the different techniques and details used by the artists”.

There was also a special group assignment this year. Students could sign up for this assignment with their whole class or with a group. The goal of the assignment was to display the St. Maarten Regatta on an 8x4ft plywood board donated by Kooyman BV.

The winning group from the ArtCraftCafe got a sail in to the sunset cruise for 20 people on the new boat of Random Wind. Together with other winning artworks, the boards will be displayed at the Marketplace during the St. Maarten Regatta.

During the prize giving ceremony, the judges awarded the winners with fantastic prizes provided by Rainforest Adventures, Random Wind, Tri Sport, Nature Foundation, Scuba Shop, Intertoys, Carousel, Ocean Explorer, Sea Fun Sxm, Learn 2 paddle, Shipwreck, Funtopia, Van Dorp, the Butterfly Farm, Kooyman BV and Domino’s. Fiji Water made sure that no one got thirsty and after the ceremony the children could get their faces painted by the crew of Funtopia.

Maxim van den Pol, organizer of the Event concludes: “There are so many talented and creative children here on the island, it was really awesome to see so many students participating in the competition.

I’ve seen the most amazing artworks and was really impressed by the craftsmanship of some of the artists. I would really like to express a big thank you to all the sponsors. We could not have done this without their help. It was incredible to see the support from the local businesses after everything that happened here on the island.”

SXM HEIN REG ART INSIDE1 MON12FEB

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Police in search of female jogger in connection with criminal investigation

ST. JOHN’S ESTATE - On Thursday September 14th 2017 at about 5.10 p.m. a man was murdered in his home on Emancipation Drive #6 in Sint John’s Estate.

The Police are looking for an important female witness who was jogging on that day and specific time in the area of the crime scene. The Police have already spoken briefly to this female jogger (near the crime scene), however, the investigators would like to interview this person once again. It is very essential to the investigation for this female jogger to come forward.

If you are this witness or you know who this female jogger is or if you have any other additional information regarding this case, we urge to come forward or call the Police Department at 54-22222 (ext. 214). (Sint Maarten Police Force)

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Sarah: “I hope the French/Dutch cooperation program can still be salvaged”

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – “It might have come on a quiet Sunday afternoon, but the revelation that the governments of French and Dutch St. Maarten have picked up the pieces of the OP cooperation agreement for St. Maarten/St. Martin is most welcomed news,” President of Parliament Sarah Wescot Williams said on Monday.

“In August 2014, in my former capacity of Prime Minister, I signed the letter of intent with French St. Maarten for cross border cooperation between both sides, the so-called ETC operational program. Very specific procedures needed to be followed, amongst which making the proposed projects public.

“After years of negotiating this breakthrough cooperation agreement, this project was torpedoed by former Prime Minister William Marlin due to his aversion to French/Dutch Cooperation.

“This deep-seated sentiment against French/Dutch cooperation is evident from incidents far back in history, such as the public transportation issue between both sides, but more recently with this very cooperation program, the Oyster Pond saga and the hurricane border issue, to name a few.

“Not to forget the much acclaimed boycott of recent St. Maarten Day activities, against which I publicly objected. There is no disguising his feelings, whatever the underlying reasons might be.

“However, it seems that all is not lost with this program that includes 3 components: The sustainable development of the Simpson bay Lagoon, a joint waste water treatment facility and a flooding risk management project for the French and Dutch quarters and Belle Plaine areas.

“Imagine 14 months of breakdown in talks on this vital project. We are lucky, it can even be picked up again. At least that is our hope. I patiently await further information about this program, as any additional funding sources,  such as the EU must be tapped into and never again be allowed to become a ping pong ball for selfish political reasons,” Wescot Williams concludes.

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Tzu Chi conducting repairs to Irma damaged home

SINT MAARTEN (CUL DE SAC) - The St. Maarten Tzu Chi Foundation and its volunteers on Sunday began the process to repair the home of a local resident which was severely damaged by hurricane Irma, which battered the island in September last year.

The damaged home is located on Bush Road and it represents the first housing project to be executed by Tzu Chi Foundation following the devastating hurricane.

The project is being executed in collaboration with Key to Freedom Foundation and its Director Elvision Adamus. Key to Freedom clients will be involved in the repair work to the home.  

The home being repaired was badly damaged by the hurricane and currently has no flooring. The first stage of the project, which began Sunday, was to remove all the debris and garbage from the home and to power wash the entire building – both interior and exterior.

The second stage will be to fill the flooring of the interior of the home with at least two truckloads of dirt, which will be compacted for the construction of a stronger flooring for the home. The third stage will be to replace plywood and treat the property for termite infestation. The fourth stage is repairing of the roof of the property, which will then be painted in the fifth stage.

Cabinets will also be erected on the interior of the property and the exterior of the building will be painted and decorated.

The project will be executed from Mondays through Fridays from 8:00am to 4:00pm and on weekends volunteers will work from 1:00pm to 5:00pm. Tzu Chi will be providing lunch, snack and drinks to volunteers, who will be participating in the initiative.

Tzu Chi estimates that the entire project from start to finish will take about two weeks.

Tzu Chi Commissioner Sandra Cheung said the Foundation is happy to be embarking on a project that will bring peace and comfort and provide a roof over the head of a resident, who had been affected by the devastating winds of hurricane Irma.

She thanked Key to Freedom, Adamus and all the volunteers who are part of the project for their willingness to give a helping hand to assist in this initiative.

CHI INSIDE1

CHI INSIDE2

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