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TSA Gives SXM Airport Thumbs Up Post-Irma

SIMPSON BAY – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) an agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security with authority over the security of the traveling public in the United States has given the Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) the thumbs up with regards to its security processes.

“The TSA recently came to review our home security processes and they declared that SXM Airport has met the minimum international requirements,” said Michel Hyman, Chief Operations Officer and Acting CEO of the airport.

“TSA also returned for a follow-up visit and they were very impressed with the progress we have made thus far,” he added.

This progress includes the restoration of about 94% of the perimeter fencing after almost the entire fencing was destroyed in the passage of Hurricane Irma. The perimeter fencing is critical to the operation of services at the airport since no commercial airline would land or take off at the airport without this in place, explained Hyman.

Hyman further disclosed that the Juliana Aerodrome and Air Traffic Control have returned to the regular operational hours of 7:00 a.m to 9:00 p.m. with effect from Saturday December 2, 2017.

This has allowed evening flights to be executed. Hyman said the Air Traffic Services are “working optimally” in spite of the fact that they are functioning without a radar which was destroyed in Hurricane Irma.

“Our ATS officers are among the best you can find anywhere in this world, especially given our airspace and what they do daily given their limitations,” he said.

“Sometimes we forget what hit us. Irma’s winds were recorded at 240mph at the airport. That is the take-off speed of a fully loaded 747 aircraft! Nothing can withstand that kind of force.

“We are meeting the target date that we have set and we are also meeting the international standards as well,” Hyman concluded.

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S.E.L. MADURO & SONS Miami Black Friday

PHILIPSBURG/MIAMI - SEL Maduro & Sons- St.Maarten, along with Island Essence Travel Agency of St. Eustatius have done it again! On Thursday November 23rd, twenty four excited passengers all dressed in the bright red matching SEL Maduro & Sons T-shirts boarded the American Airlines flight destined to Miami.

The flight landed safely in Miami where a VIP bus service was on standby to welcome the guests. SEL Maduro & Sons surprised the passengers by taking them directly to The Dolphin Mall, instead of to the Marriott Hotel for check in.  At the mall, they experienced an exciting 2-hour shopping expedition followed by another 2 hour shopping spree at Wal-Mart.  They literally “hit the ground running”.

On Friday 24th November, the VIP Bus Transportation was in place for a timely departure headed directly towards the Sawgrass Mills Mall where guests had 14 hours of uninterrupted shopping……..and as expected they shopped until they dropped!” Saturday followed with extensive shopping and fun.

To facilitate our guests with shipping of their newly acquired goodies, Maduro arranged for Carib Trans, Mr. Eddie Andre and his hardworking team, to be at the Marriott Hotel to assist with packing of the barrels, E Containers and D Containers.  Carib Trans made their services available to anyone who did not want to worry about excess freight of the airline.

On Sunday it all came to an end as our guests prepared for departure, back to St.Maarten. S.E.L. Maduro & Sons extends warm gratitude to all its’ customers, thanking everyone for their support. “We have built new friendships and long lasting memories” explained Evelyn, the travel advisor of Maduro.

Based on the growing popularity of these group packages, S.E.L. Maduro & Sons is presently introducing all-inclusive group travel packages for the following upcoming destinations:

Save The Dates!

  • All Inclusive Trip to Dominican Republic Easter Weekend Thursday 29th March to Sunday 1st April, 2018.
  • Jamaica 9th May to 12th May, 2018.
  • Soca Cruise July 2018.
  • Summer Trip to Cuba July / August 2018.
  • Summer Family Packages to Orlando / Disney World.
  • Summer Family Package to Punta Cana / Nickelodeon.
  • Dominica Creole Fest, 27th to 30th October, 2018.
  • Miami Shop Until You Drop 23rd to 26th November, 2018.
  • Reggae Cruise December, 2018.

sel Statia group inside

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Wifi connections in Dutch inner cities get worse, it’s a connection jungle

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Almost 40% of wifi connections in Dutch inner cities are poor because so many networks are competing with each other, according to a new report by the government’s telecoms agency.

Two years ago, 27% of connections could be described as poor, the agency is quoted as saying by the NRC. Most domestic wifi services use the overcrowded 2.4 GHz bandwidth, which also hosts bluetooth appliances such as doorbells.

In addition, the spectrum is becoming increasingly busy due to the popularity of live streaming. The agency measured the quality of wifi connections in some 200 places. ‘In places where reception was bad, it is now worse,’ said spokesman Paul Wijninga in the NRC.

The problem is particularly acute in older houses – newer homes are better insulated against interference but the use of concrete also means they need to use more amplifiers to strengthen the signal away from the router.

The agency recommends people affected by poor reception to the less congested 5 GHz networks. (DutchNews)

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STAKEHOLDERS TO RECEIVE HARD COPIES OF ST. MAARTEN MDG REPORT

POND ISLAND - The Secretary General for the Ministry of General Affairs, Mr. H. Plantijn, recently became the first recipient of a hard copy of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) report.

Within short the hard copies of the report will be distributed to all stakeholders, among which are non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) who have played a key role in contributing to the report.

Others scheduled to receive copies of the report are Secretaries General of the various government ministries, department heads, cabinet ministers, members of parliament as well as the MDG work group members and the Millennium Acceleration Framework experts group.

The digital version of the MDG report is to be found on the St. Maarten government official website, http://www.sintmaartengov.org. It is found under the policies and reports section of the Ministry of General Affairs. To access the report, one simply goes to http://www.sintmaartengov.org/Policy%20and%20Reports/MDG%20Saint%20Maarten-4.25.2016%20(1).pdf

The report was the result of much hard work by the MDG work group, dedicated teams of professionals from within and outside of government, providing their expertise, insight, data and information in various areas.

While the report had been completed some time ago, it could not be officially launched before this time, due to a number of unexpected situations arising. The MDG report is the basis of the upcoming National Development Plan, once this is finalized.

It should be noted that the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were adopted in September 2015 by the UN-General Assembly and were succeeded by the so-called Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs.

The ongoing agenda among UN Member States is, Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (Agenda 2030).

That agenda establishes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be achieved by all countries and stakeholders by 2030.

In addition, the Millennium Acceleration Framework Report for St. Maarten was compiled. For the two SDG goals which were lagging on Sint Maarten, Environmental Sustainability and Poverty Alleviation, an exercise was conducted by the MAF Experts group resulting in an action plan. 

This Action Plan aims to help Sint Maarten accelerate the achievements of the two Millennium Development Goals (MDG) 1 (poverty eradication) and MDG 7 (environmental sustainability) by focusing on sustainable community development.

The Action Plan not only addresses accelerating progress on those two SDGs. It also touches upon eight of the seventeen proposed Sustainable Development Goals for the MDG post-2015 agenda.

At the start of 2016, the SDGs went into effect. Many countries are now engaged in their full implementation. With SDGs being aligned to St. Maarten’s National Development Planning, government has already begun working towards achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

The 2030 agenda acknowledges that solutions emerge when results are challenged, when the right policies are adopted and when institutions are transformed. The SDGs recognize that all countries have problems to solve and contributions to make, subject to their abilities.

St. Maarten’s government is of the opinion that the key to success in achieving the SDGs is a willingness to form partnerships, starting at national level while at the same time embracing them on regional and international level.

Important to realize is that the MDG report reflects the country’s premise for a National Development Plan, wherein Sustainable Development Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) are also incorporated as the way forward to develop the country of St. Maarten.

Both reports will strengthen the ‘Recovery Plan’ of Sint Maarten, while the country remains focusing on the Sustainable Development Goals as basis for its National Development.

For more information, interested persons may contact Ms. L. Morales at the department of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (BAK) via tel. +1 721 520 0194. 

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COCI returns from first Trade Mission Post-Irma in the Netherlands. Rebuilding the Leeward Islands

PHILIPSBURG - November 29th and 30th were slated to be the first Trade mission organized post Irma. Sint Maarten was invited to attend, as an interest to invest in St. Maarten/do business in St. Maarten was expressed, which was perceived to be a good initiative that could aid with the rebuilding efforts.

With the intention to convey the message that we are open for business, the St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce & Industry (COCI) joined the St. Maarten delegation and participated in the congress and match making forum. The mission was to be concluded with a panel debate themed: “Rebuilding the Leeward Islands”.

Representatives of the British Virgin Islands (BVI), Anguilla joined the panel discussion and openly shared their experiences and their vision on how rebuilding, preparedness and recovery in the future should be a joint Caribbean collaboration. Understanding our region, having the expertise, and mindful of our weaknesses and strengths, we must from within the region aid each other the honorable Minister of BVI eloquently expressed.

A sentiment fully supported by the St. Maarten delegation. The Honorable member of the second chamber of the Dutch Government Mr. Bosman elaborated on the role of the Kingdom in aiding the Islands which sustained damages by the hurricanes. Out of the matchmaking queries it was very evident that all were interested to know when the aid would be released to St. Maarten and how it would be distributed.

These questions could not be answered, and no timeline could be provided to those interested in this. We did however respond trying to counter the evident image most had from the one-sided publications on the devastation, our recovery and current state in the Netherlands. All who visited the table of St. Maarten where quite surprised to learn that the portrayal of our country in the Dutch media to date is not consistent with the current state of affairs. 

In the media portrayal of the destruction, clean up to be undertaken, supposed high percentage of people living without water and electricity, 90% of homes destroyed and the fact that the dependency on tourism makes the country not viable to maintain its status within the Kingdom is propagated. The current situation in St. Maarten which is misrepresented by the above is not disseminated and as such a pitiful portrayal is maintained disregarding the progress made. It is clear that the attention given to the aid from the Dutch Government to the country for its reconstruction, has garnished an interest in St. Maarten.

Whilst interest is the country is positive, for our resilience and strength as a people and nation will only be solidified, one must wonder if the interest would be there if no aid discussion had ever occurred. Regardless of the discussions on aid, which format, when and by whom to be ironed out by the respective government officials of St. Maarten and The Netherlands, we must be cognizant of the fact that no aid can and should be expected within short.

That with structuring how aid will be given, who will be in charge of approval and monitoring of projects, substantial time will pass before any funds will enter our economy. This means that as a country we must continue to do what we have been doing since the hurricanes impacted St. Maarten in September. We must continue to work together until our goals are achieved. If and when the aid comes this will positively enhance our achievements and possibilities for sustainable growth.

In the mean time we must within the Caribbean region collaborate, exchange information and further aid one another to address and redress the impact of such disaster, so we may continue to be better prepared to counter the impact of hurricanes and recover faster from the passing of a hurricane.

COCI shall through its advisory role champion a closer collaboration within the region on all matters affecting this region and shall work to establish a close working relationship with its counter parts in the region in an effort to establish a regional forum and coordination on disaster preparedness, management and recovery.

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Minister Arrindell-Doncher welcomes first cruise ship passenger from Viking Sea

POINT BLANCHE - Minister of Tourism and Economic Affairs Mellissa Arrindell-Doncher was present at Port St. Maarten on Monday morning to welcome the Viking Sea cruise ship to St. Maarten as well as the first passenger off the ship.

The ship is the first to call on St. Maarten since the passing of hurricane Irma. The Minister was joined by board members of the Supervisory Board of the harbor and harbor management.

The first guests off of the ship was welcomed with steelpan music, stilt walkers and cultural dancers. The Minister also went aboard for the customary plaque ceremony with the Captain of the ship.

minteatt fpg frist cruise

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LEOS CELEBRATE INTERNATIONAL LEO DAY on December 5

PHILIPSBURG - Today December 5th is International Leo Day. Leo Clubs all over the world celebrate this day with special community projects. The Leo Club program, an integral part of the Lions Family, Leos also have their own global network of over 6.000 Leo Clubs in more than 140 nations.

Leo Clubs provide young people with an opportunity for development and contribution, individually and collectively, as responsible members of the local, national and international community.

In 1957, the Glenside Lions Club from the U.S. state of Pennsylvania sponsored the first Leo Club “the Abington High School Leo Club” with 35 students. A decade later, the Lions Clubs International Board of Directors adopted the Leo Club Program as an official program of the Association.

Through the Leo Club Program, young people develop and practice leadership, organization and social skills through participation in Leo club activities and service projects. Involvement in these activities often fosters a lifetime commitment to helping others, while enhancing the community.

The Leo Club motto: Leadership, Experience, Opportunity – says it all

Leadership: Leo members acquire skills as project organizers and motivators of their peers.

Experience: They discover how teamwork and cooperation can bring about change in their community and the world.

Opportunity: Leos develop positive character traits and receive recognition for their contributions.

Here on Sint Maarten both Leo Clubs the “Alpha Leo Club” (11 – 18 yrs.) and the “Omega South Leo Club” (19-30 yrs.) are already busy celebrating their special day with special Christmas projects. The Alpha Leo Club is presently collecting food stuff at the supermarkets for their Annual “Tis the Season” projects whereby they distribute close to 100 baskets filled with food stuff and distribute these to the less fortunate in the community. Notwithstanding the challenges this year after the hurricanes Irma and Maria the Leos are determined to still feed those in the community in a special way for Christmas.

They also recently had their annual Talent Show for the clients of the Sister Basilia Center.

The “Omega South Leo Club” (19-30 yrs.) also embarks on several community projects such as personally preparing meals for the less fortunate and distributing these to them. Presently they are diligently working on combatting bullying among the young people especially cyber bullying.

Worthwhile mentioning is the fact that the Alpha Leo Club will be celebrating its 35th anniversary on April 16th 2018.  Sponsored by the Sint Maarten Lions Club in 1983 the “Alpha Leo Club” throughout these 35 years has produced many fine, respectable, service minded young men and women many whom after their studies abroad have returned to Sint Maarten and are making a worthwhile contribution to the development of the island.

Some of whom today are Lion members and some who have held prominent positions not only on club level but also in the Lions District as District Governor, Cabinet Secretary/Treasurer, Region and Zone Chairmen and some who continue to be at the head of Lions District Committees.

Lions as well as Leos are very proud of the fact that the Alpha Leo Club is considered one of the oldest youth organizations on Sint. Maarten serving humanity.

PHOTO CUTLINE: The board and members of the St. Maarten South Leo Club at their 2017-2018 Board Installation Dinner at Avantika in June 2017.

leos board install

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MOTORWORLD GROUP HOSTS SUCCESSFUL ANNUAL CHRISTMAS CAR SHOW

COLE BAY - For the past 6 years, Motorworld Group of Companies (MWG) has been hosting the 'Annual Christmas Car Show', and this year marks another milestone achievement of a successful event.

This is particularly remarkable, with consideration of the major losses sustained recently by the companies and, the community of St. Maarten/ St. Martin.

"It has been a whirlwind for us," says Tariq Amjad, Managing Director, MWG. "Not only with the aftermath of the hurricane damages, but also, the sudden passing of our beloved staff and extended family member, Beverly Morris. However, we felt it necessary to continue to celebrate in the spirit of the Christmas season and, bring positive vibes to uplift everyone, including our many customers and colleagues.

“In addition, we strive to provide the community with another form of relief with the major deals and discounts on all of our quality auto brands, makes and models, with the added-value of free warranty and extended service protection on many vehicles. This provides us all with some peace of mind, as we to continue to recover and rebuild together."

Hundreds of people flocked to Motorworld's state-of-the-art showroom to take advantage of these great promotions in the festive atmosphere. In addition to the newly featured vehicle models, customers were also able to enjoy the complimentary food, drinks and entertainment. Families came out to partake in the Kiddie's Corner with a colorful bounce house, along with the children's favorite popcorn and cotton candy, which were shared liberally to the smiling faces.

All the major banks including, Windward Island Bank, RBC, Scotiabank, PSB and First Caribbean International Bank were on hand to assist customers with on the spot financing, which included reduced interest rates, as well as, up to 3 months free payments.

Many customers left satisfied with their new vehicles, and their free gifts, as others relaxed and reveled in the fun. The Christmas Car Show was a day not to be missed.

For those who were not able to attend the 'Annual Christmas Car Show', there is still an opportunity to get a fantastic deal on your dream vehicle. Motorworld, Caribbean Auto and Audi will now be launching a Christmas Car Sale!

car inside

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Library registration is open for December 21 Christmas Market

PHILIPSBURG —The Philipsburg Jubilee Library (PJL) will be hosting her annual Christmas Market on Thursday, December 21st, from 10 am to 8pm at the library’s parking lot.

The Library’s annual Christmas Market festivities will be hosting crafters from all over St. Maarten, displaying their arts and creative works. Individual decorated stands will offer handcrafted goods where shoppers can find one- of – a kind gifts, and decorations.

This year is promised, just the same as previous years, to be a spectacular community event. 

In order to make this event a success we would like to invite all interested persons to come out and register to be part of this wonderful annual tradition.

Persons who would like to display or sell their arts and crafts, baskets, liqueurs, and cakes should register by December 12th, 2017. The registration fee is only $35,00 or NAF 65,00.  There is no fee for visitors to the market.

The Philipsburg Jubilee Library suffered from the passing of both Hurricanes Irma and Maria on September 6th & 9th, 2017. Due to the structural and equipment damage a temporary solution was created to accommodate our loyal customers by using the entrance hall, hence the usage of the parking area. Due to the constraints following the damage incurred by the hurricanes, the amount of tables and chairs are limited. Therefore, vendors are invited to make their own provisions for materials, if possible.

In addition, the Philipsburg Jubilee Library would like to remind the community of our opening hours Monday to Friday we are open from 9am to 5pm, and Saturday from 10 am to 1pm. Also be reminded that the grace period to waiver fees for all overdue books, lost and damaged items due to the passing of hurricanes Irma and Maria will last until the end of December 2017. Please use this time to come in and let us know how you and the library books have fared during both hurricanes.

pjl inside1

pjl inside2

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Mid Isle Making a Difference in the Sint Maarten community

SIMPSON BAY - Since the passing of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the Rotary Club of St. Maarten-Mid Isle have been working in the community to make a difference, a press release from the civic club said on Friday.

“In September, Mid Isle along with the Rotary Club of Sunrise and the St. Dominic Interact Club participated in the cleanup of The Jubilee Library, which was damaged by Hurricane Irma.

“We also provided Players Development SXM with school bags filled with items needed and also a donation of reading & test practice books. The school bags and supplies were donated by the Rotarians of Mid Isle, the reading books were donated by Celeste of CIA and the practice books were donated by The Dollar Store.

“In October, we assisted the Rotary Club of St. Maarten with water distribution at the Carnival village.

“The Rotary Club of St. Barth’s sent 13 pallets of hurricane relief items for the three clubs (Mid Isle, St. Maarten & Sunrise) on the Dutch side to sort and distribute. Some items included: clothing for children & adults, games, school supplies, shoes, books, food and water. With this generous donation from the Rotary Club of St. Barth’s – Mid Isle helped distribute items to Players Development SXM which consisted of games and clothing. We also assisted Hope Out Reach with food, water and clothing.

“From the same 13 pallets, the three Rotary Clubs donated water to 15 playschools on the Dutch side.

“Also in October, Mid Isle donated Syringes and other medical items to the White & Yellow Cross. These items were donated by a past Mid Isle Rotarian named Michel Teunnise who is now residing in Holland presently, donated baby cribs and kids bed in early September, which we donated to Safe Haven. Unfortunately, with the passing of Hurricanes Irma & Maria, Safe Haven experienced major damages and almost all of the beds and cribs were destroyed.

“Mid Isle has donated many items to Safe Haven since the Hurricanes, ranging from clothing, toys, food, water. Most recently, thanks to the generosity of Divi Little Bay, we were able to donate folding beds, high chairs and a crib to Safe Haven.

“In November, the three Rotary Clubs on the Dutch side received two containers of relief items from Rotarian Lezlie Murch from the Rotary Club of St. Catherine’s in Ontario, Canada and her district 7090 & also from other clubs in our District 7020 . These items included wheelchairs, food, toiletries, baby items, clothing, shoes, bed sheets, walkers, microwaves, desks and tables, folding tables, shelves, sports equipment, garbage bins, plastic container bins, etc.

“Alongside Rotarian Lezlie, Mid Isle has been working with The Player Development group to collect can tabs for the project ‘Wheelchairs for Kids’. Many restaurants in the Simpson Bay area and other parts of the island are helping us with collecting can tabs, and we take this opportunity to thank them for assisting us with this project.

“Donations made from the container from Canada are: SJIB of food, clothing and water.  We were able to donate to The New Start Foundation sports equipment, chairs, tables, clothing and more.  Donations of thermos, double burner, school supplies, kitchen supplies, chairs, etc to Bright Star, Discovery Kidz, Reading Rainbow, Little Gosling and Pamper 2 Crayons playschools. A wheelchair was donated to a patient through Mid Isle Rotarian Dr. Sonia. We also donated a microwave to the Alexander pre-school.  And, we also donated to individual persons in need of food, water, clothing, shoes, kitchen supplies, wheelchairs and bedding. We are in the process of organizing a presentation to The ACE Foundation of items they have requested for the school.

“Also in November, Mid Isle was asked to take up the helm at Mullet Bay for the Clean SXM project organized by the Rotary Club of St. Maarten.  Service Project Director Grace Linger took the lead on this. We were assisted by the Engage Foundation, Prime Distributors (who also donated a tent and water), Electec NV (who provided a truck), CIA, Learning Unlimited, St. Maarten Pride / Filipino Community and a few other volunteers. Domino’s also provided pizza. It was a good turnout and a successful event. They started at 6am to beat the sun and heat. It was a wonderful fellowship event with the various organizations and volunteers coming together to make St. Maarten beautiful once again.

“In the words of Paul Harris, who founded Rotary International in 1905: “Rotary changes us and those we serve. I believe we can change the World one life at a time.”

The Rotary Club of St. Maarten-Mid Isle presently meets Tuesdays at 7pm at Pineapple Pete in Simpson Bay. For more information please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit our Facebook page Rotary Club of St. Maarten-Mid Isle.

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