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Sinach Gives Electrifying Performance

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) – It was a night of praise and worship amid a sea of white as Nigerian gospel minister, Sinach, gave an electrifying performance at the highly-anticipated All White Night of Worship concert in the Festival Village Saturday.

The event, which was hosted by Christian Faith Ministries International (CFMI), kicked off promptly at 7:00pm with Benjamin Bell belting out his own rendition of the St. Maarten song.

Bell set the stage for performances by other local artistes, such as Cecil Griffith on the saxophone, CFM Choir, Shawn J, Raheem Atkinson, Steven Anderson, Mary-Louise Rattan, CFM Vessels of Honor, and Total Praise dancers. 

There was no lack of local talent, as The Harmonics gave credence to their name, performing their rendition of ‘Your Spirit’ and ‘End of Time’ with perfect pitch. They were definitely a crowd favourite as the audience clamored for more after they exited the stage.

Another captivating performance came from Jamaica-born Art teacher and recording artiste, George Gordon, who had the crowd moving to the popular ‘Daddy Oh’, as well as his original pieces, ‘I Will Go’, ‘Go Tell the World’ and ‘Long but not Forever’.

But it all came down to the moment the audience was waiting for when at 9:30pm, Sinach took to the stage and put on a solid, two-hour spirit-moving performance which saw many in the Festival Village accepting Christ that night.

Among the audience was Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Affairs, Pastor Wycliffe Smith. There were also large contingents that travelled from the United States, Anguilla, Curacao and other parts of the Caribbean to see Sinach perform.

Sinach, whose real name is Osinachi Kalu, offered prayers and a testimony of her life as she performed some of her repertoire songs, making it a night of true worship and praise. She and Bell’s band, God’s Chosen brought the curtains down with the much-anticipated performance of ‘I Know Who I Am’, which saw the crowd rocking and singing as they left the Village in high spirits.

The singer continued her testimony Sunday night at CFM Church in Dutch Quarter and then on Monday met with more than 1000 school children from across the island at the Great Bay Sports Auditorium. After giving a motivational speech and singing with the young scholars, Sinach visited the elderly at the White and Yellow Cross in St. John’s Estate.

CFM’s Apostle, Edwin Arrindell said the main objective of bringing the international singing sensation to the island was to give glory to God and to encourage and uplift the community of St. Maarten and surrounding islands, especially those who are still experiencing the aftereffects of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

The Apostle said this concert could not have achieved the level of success it did without the community of St. Martin pulling together. He singled out St. Maarten Tourist Bureau, CC1, Motorworld, Princess Juliana International Airport, St. Maarten Concrete, Terry’s Welding and Fabrication N.V., First Response, Henderson’s Insurance, Restorers of Broken Walls International Ministry, Taliesin Construction, Oral Gibbs Live, S.O.S Radio Station, PJD2 Radio Station, Radio Maranatha, SXM Party Rental N.V, and Paradise Inn for special thanks.

The lineup Saturday night was multi-denominational, said Apostle and Prophetess Arrindell as was evident from the inclusion of The Harmonics of the Methodist Church, George Gordon and company of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, Bell and God’s Chosen of Tehillah Ministries International Church, and all other artistes from the host church, C.F.M.I

Special thanks are also being extended to the Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, and Telecommunications, Mr. Stuart Johnson; Wiems; the Red Cross; the Ambulance Department; the Police Department; and the Management and staff of the Festival Village.

Sinach and her entourage, which included her husband Mr. Joseph Egbu, are scheduled to depart St. Maarten on Tuesday, February 12. 

Siinach 1 INS


Get your tickets now for the official Heineken Regatta spectator boat

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - Get close to the action of the 39th St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, and enjoy the best seats in the house. Go first class aboard the Golden Eagle Catamaran and feel like a real VIP. The official St. Maarten Heineken Regatta spectator boat will be sailing out on Friday March 1, Saturday March 2 and Sunday March 3. Make sure to buy your tickets on time because they usually sell out quickly.

On Friday the spectator boat will be present at the start and finish. In the meantime, the boat will stop at various points to do some sightseeing and cooling down at various swimming stops. Departure time on Friday is 7:30AM. The boat will return at the Marina at 15PM.

On Saturday and Sunday, the spectator boat will be all about racing. We will follow the whole race, so if you are a sailing enthusiast sign up fast for Saturday or Sunday. The departure time is at 7:30AM and the boat returns to the marina around 12:30PM.

For all the days: During the day a commentator will be on board and you will receive live commentary of all the on-the-water action taking place. A delicious breakfast and lunch will be served on board, and the open bar will make sure no one gets thirsty. In addition to this, guests will also receive an exclusive goody bag filled with specialties donated by loyal sponsors of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta.

For only $150 per person for Friday and US$ 125 for Saturday and Sunday, you can get on board of the Golden Eagle Catamaran and be part of the regatta. Feel like a real VIP as you sail down to the start line. The price includes the trip out on the water, breakfast, lunch, open bar, goody bag and a live commentator. For more information or to buy tickets, contact the Regatta Office at +1 721 553 8397 or email Anouk atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


MAC 6th Graders visit Prime Minister Romeo Marlin

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - On Friday February 8th, while on tour at the Government Administration Building 6thGrade students and teachers of the Methodist Agogic Centre, John A. Gumbs Campus had the opportunity to spend a few minutes with Prime Minster Leona Romeo Marlin.

During the visit, the 6thGrade students asked questions and interacted with Prime Minister Romeo Marlin who is an alumni of the school. The Prime Minister encouraged the students to stay focused on their studies and wished them much success in their upcoming FBE Exams.  


Minister Johnson condemns poaching in Protected Marine Park Area

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND), Sint Maarten – Minister of Tourism & Economic Affairs Stuart Johnson condemns poaching in the Man of War Shoal Marine Protected Area (MPA) and calls on those responsible to cease from these illegal activities as it damages the country’s tourism sector.

The St. Maarten Nature Foundation recently alerted the public to a number of incidents of poaching in the MPA especially the hunting and harming of sharks which became illegal in 2011 when the Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications banned the practice of intentionally poaching sharks in the territorial waters of Sint Maarten.

The area of the MPA has been off limits to fishing since 2010.

In June 2016, the Government announced that the territorial waters had become a shark sanctuary.

According to the Nature Foundation, based on research, the MPA is valued at US$50 million to the national economy on an annual basis. 

“The recreational diving and snorkeling industry are very important sub-sectors of our national economy and make an overall contribution to the Gross Domestic Product of the country.

“Therefore, when under threat and at risks, we have to protect our economy.  Reef tourism creates employment and is an amenity to the tourism economy. 

“It generates tax revenues for the Government coffers and those involved in the recreational diving and snorkeling sector also help promote the island to the dive market.

“I am pleased to hear that the Nature Foundation has increased its patrols including during weekends and early morning hours of the MPA in order to combat illegal fishing activities.  We need to protect our natural tourism resources,” Minister of Tourism & Economic Affairs Stuart Johnson said on Sunday.

The Nature Foundation says: The act of trying to catch by tracking, stalking, baiting, chasing, trapping, hooking, netting, shooting or otherwise hunting - sharks, rays and skates is prohibited and therefore the animals may not be wounded, caught, landed, or killed. Violators may be punished with jail and a considerable fine may be issued. If Sharks are accidentally caught all steps should be taken to release the animal with as little harm as possible. 


Rio Productions teamed up with the biggest loyalty reward program in the Caribbean

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Fun Miles has teamed up with Rio Productions, to be able to offer its’ customers more value at the purchase of costumes for Carnival 50 and allow them to be part of the Fun Miles loyalty program. 

Since 1998, Fun Miles has been the Caribbean’s biggest and most popular customer loyalty reward program with over 185 Points of Sales on Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao and St. Maarten, where participants can redeem their Fun Miles for free products and services. 

Rio Productions worked together with the representative of Fun Miles, Ms. Cassandra Chun, to construct a package of value that will give Rio’s Carnival 50 revelers 500 Fun Miles with the purchase of their costume. 

President of Rio Productions, Mrs. Brenda Wathey stated: “We are very excited about our new partnership. Fun Miles is a very young, dynamic and forward-thinking company that brings a lot of value to the people of Sint Maarten. 

We are a strong believer in the Fun Miles savings and redemption program and are all very proud to be an official “Fun Partner” now. Offering literally “double the fun” when you sign up for a Rio Productions costumes, revellers will be able to benefit from the miles program, long after Carnival has passed”.

50 years of Carnival is expected to be one of the biggest festivals in the region ever with ten thousand of participants & spectators, tons of live entertainment, and a wide variety of tourist from all over the world. 

The St.  Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) announced April 22, 2019 to May 6, 2019 as the dates for the 50th anniversary of St. Maarten Carnival. 

For those that are interested in participating with Rio Productions are encouraged to visit


Cruisers encouraged to join the Island Time Class in the 39th St Maarten Heineken Regatta

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - In less than a month, over 110 yachts from more than 20 countries will compete in the 39th St Maarten Heineken Regatta. A key event on the Caribbean race schedule, the regatta attracts some of the world’s elite sailors and crews, with fast and furious racing in monohulls, maxis and multihulls.

But for those looking to have a more relaxed experience, the regatta offers an "Island Time Class" designed for cruisers, enabling them to have all the fun of the regatta, without the stress!

The Island Time Class offers competitors a single coastal race each day, with an 11 a.m. start, at a discounted regatta entry rate. Enjoying the sailing is the priority.

Founder of the North American Rally to the Caribbean (NARC) which marks it’s 20th anniversary this year, Hank Schmitt, has supported the Caribbean regattas for over 15 years. Sponsoring the Island Time Class for the 4th year, Hank Schmitt wants to share with other cruisers how easy it is to participate.

This will be the 5th year that Hank Schmitt competes in the Cruising division racing his Swan 48Avocation.

Hank Schmitt comments, “For competitors who don't want to worry about stripping their boat down to get it race-ready, the Island Time Class is perfect. It is the first big regatta of the season and the shoreside activities are great. In some regattas only the participants are even aware that a regatta is going on but in St. Maarten the entire island knows, which makes the atmosphere electric.” 

First time entrants in the Island Time Class are encouraged to come to the special opening party so skippers and crews from the boats can meet each other. This makes it more fun on the course knowing you will seeing each other after the races ashore.

Hank Schmitt says, “At the opening party, skippers and crew share some of the things we’ve learned from past years that will make it easier for new “racers” to race. The Island Time Class are the only division that meets on the first night and then hopefully every night before the big events starting after dark. With just one race a day and the 10.30 Bridge to make, participants can enjoy the racing, the legendary parties and get a little sleep in!”

Entries for the Island Time Class do not need to pay for a race rating. The handicap changes each day based on the finish the day before so there is a chance for more people to win. There is only a 1st place trophy each day with four trophies in four days compared to the other classes that have three trophies for 1st, 2nd and 3rd only.

St Maarten Heineken Regatta Race Director Paul Miller comments “In the true spirit of the St Maarten Heineken Regatta we want everyone to share the joy of being out on the water and experience the thrill of racing in our stunning waters. Our experienced Committee Team are planning some fantastic tailored courses and this year’s Island Time Class is all set to be the most fun yet!”  

The St. Maarten Heineken Regatta is as famous for its parties as it is for its racing. Over four nights, some of the world’s top artists take to the stage and ensure that each day of racing starts as well as it ends with the festivities continuing long into the night. So far Alison Hinds, The Jacksons, Shermanology and Fatman Scoop have been confirmed with more party announcements to follow.


Interventions at Sint Maarten Vocational Training School by Minister Smith

SINT MAARTEN (REWARD) - Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Wycliffe Smith, visited the frustrated staff of the Sint Maarten Vocational Training School on Wednesday morning after a vehicle, owned by one of the teachers, was stolen by a student on Tuesday. The teachers stood in solidarity of their colleague as they decried the need for a safer school environment for both staff and students alike.

Minister Smith, along with Acting Secretary General, Shermina Powell-Richardson and Acting Head of the Division of Public Education, Marcelia Henry, listened to the teachers who expressed their concerns about the recent situation as well as the many occurrences of deviant student behavior in the past. 

The Minister promised to address the fears of the teachers starting by having extra security as of the following day. He also advised the teachers and staff that the education of all of the others students entrusted to them is important and therefore their cooperation to work together with the management to ensure a safe environment is very important. 

Minister Smith also promised that the fencing around the school would be fortified to ensure that students will only be able to enter through the front gate. “The safety of staff and students alike is of paramount importance,” said Smith. 

Minister Smith was accompanied by his Cabinet Chief of staff, Peter J. Gittens, who also addressed students to get their feedback on their views of safety and learning at the public secondary school. The students gave valid insight of their home, community and school environs, and how they impact their learning.  

As the Ministry of Education is actively working on a safe school plan that will be presented to Parliament, departments and divisions within the ministry are concurrently busy with the execution of different aspects of the plan.

According to Minister Smith, “The situation at the Sint Maarten Vocational Training School is one that has been neglected for too long, and now as a community, we must put all efforts together to correct the issues. At this point in time, this school needs a holistic, multi-faceted approach as the matters go beyond the scope of this ministry. I have already sought and received approval from the Prime Minister for the placement of two members of the Volunteer Korps at SMVTS daily.” This added security measure was in place as of Thursday, February 7, 2019, until further notice.

The minister also stated that for the improvement of the teaching-learning environment and the productivity of the school, all stakeholders must be involved for the change to take effect and to ensure the success that is desired by all. “To effectively overhaul the system that exists at this school, the participation of the Ministry, the management, teachers, staff, students and parents are vital. 

Just as important is the cooperation of the school bus drivers, the police officers, corporate partners, the Inspectorate of Education, and the community at large.” Minister Smith would also like to thank Minister Stuart Johnson who visited the school on Thursday as his replacement while he is in Curacao for the Vierlanden Overleg conference. Upon his return Minister Smith will be sitting with Minister De Weever to further discuss the way forward as it relates to Justice.

Reports have been received of students of the St. Maarten Vocational Training School seen loitering on the streets, during school hours. Some accounts reported that some of these students have been seen conducting criminal activity in different areas of the community. 

“We must unite and focus to make Sint Maarten Vocational Training School a place where we are happy to send our children. It takes a village to raise a child, and in this case, we need the village to help to redirect our youth. I am encouraging persons to look out for all school-aged children, encourage them to stay in school, and alert the authorities when there is reasonable suspicion of truancy or wrongdoing,” said Smith.

The right to quality education is one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. According to the UNICEF Convention on the Rights of the Child, every child has a right to education. Children’s education should develop each child’s personality, talents and abilities to the fullest. 

As a signatory to the Memorandum of Understanding for all the countries with the Kingdom of the Netherlands to uphold these rights of children, Minister Smith is resolute in his commitment to see the turnaround of the Sint Maarten Vocational Training School and the general improvement of the image and reputation of the schools operated by the Department of Public Education.


A.M. Best Upgrades NAGICO’s Issuer Credit Rating

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – NAGICO Insurances, a diversified insurance group serving 21 territories in the Caribbean, is proud to announce that it’s Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating has been upgraded to bbb+ by A.M. Best.  

A.M. Best's Rating Services evaluated both the financial and non-financial risks within NAGICO’s business and in its press release earlier today, A.M. Best stated that, “the ratings of NAGICO Group reflect its balance sheet strength, which A.M. Best categorizes as very strong, as well as its adequate operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management.” As it relates to the Group’s financial strength, A.M. Best stated “The very strong balance sheet strength assessment is based on supportive risk-adjusted capitalization, as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio, which is at the strongest level following a quick recovery from the impact of hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017.”

“We are very proud to have earned this upgrade from A.M. Best. The upgrade signifies the agency’s recognition of our ability to effectively manage and withstand the worst of catastrophes and reflects their confidence in our management team, operations, financial strength and stability,” NAGICO Chairman Imran McSood Amjad said. 

Further affirming NAGICO’s leadership in catastrophe management and service, NAGICO was voted the #1 insurance company for the 12thyear in a row in St. Maarten, based on a survey conducted by St. Maarten-based newspaper The Daily Herald, a leading daily newspaper serving St. Maarten and the Northeast Caribbean. 

“The customer experience and our ability to deliver on our promises are of paramount importance to us. Our team worked passionately and tirelessly to serve our clients after the hurricanes devastated the islands in 2017, so it was very humbling and heartwarming to be awarded Best Insurer in St. Maarten by the public as it reflected the level of appreciation of our efforts.” said Detlef Hooyboer, NAGICO’s Chief Executive Officer. “We believe that the rating upgrade from A.M. Best coupled with the Best Insurer title in St. Maarten is very much aligned with our core values: Strength, Stability and Service.” 

More information on the rating can be viewed at

A.M. Best is the world’s oldest and most authoritative insurance rating and information source. For more information, visit


SZV Director Glen A. Carty shares enthusiasm for SZV’s new radio campaign

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The director of Social & Health Insurances SZV, Glen A. Carty has expressed enthusiasm about the new radio campaign of SZV. The campaign will expand the organization’s engagement efforts with its customers and is part of the objectives identified in the 2019 Director Performance Agreement of Carty. External communication campaigns of SZV have been growing; a majority of the past campaigns has used face-to-face contact, print and online media, radio is the latest media to be included to the roster of methods. 

Glen A. Carty: “I am very pleased with the flexibility of the stations and hosts so far. However, more importantly, I think the fact that we have a consensus and genuine interest to serve together in informing the community – this is great. Everyone wants more information about SZV but not everyone will go to our website, which by the way is our online customer guide, we know this and we are making sure we continue to do our best to reach all our customers. Members of Parliament have also specifically requested that we do more information sharing, and I believe this radio campaign will bridge the gap for all. I’d like to thank my team at SZV for working so hard on this.” 

The radio campaign was launched in January with a large group of local radio stations who have committed to offer SZV flexibility and customized packages based on their distinctive target groups. Each station has expressed commitment to work with SZV in informing the community of their rights & duties, in their own ‘flavor’. SZV representatives will frequent the stations on a regular basis for interviews but there will also be fun features in the radio campaign such as quizzes for listeners and on-location broadcasts at SZV hosted events. 

Since 2016, each year SZV adds more communication outlets to its annual public information campaign. The public information campaign features a wide range of themes, key messages and multiple communication outlets. The central themes for 2019 will be the online appointment request option, employer compliance, and the launch of new online services for employers and insured. Customer feedback and interaction play a leading role in the improvement of the services of SZV but also how SZV communicates with its customers. The continued development of the website www.szv.sxis a good example of this. The integration of the radio campaign offers SZV more variety and a wider reach for its messages. 



SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - On Sunday February 3rd the prize giving ceremony of the 20th Annual St. Maarten Regatta Art Competition was held. Over 70 winners gathered at the Sint Maarten Yacht Club for the ceremony.

The judges were amazed by the talent of the children. There were so many beautiful creations that it was difficult for the judges to make a choice.

With 5 different age groups the contest was open for all children between 4 and 18 years old. Over the past two months students worked really hard on creating the most wonderful art pieces. Every artwork had to be made out of recycled material. The participants could choose from 3 different assignments. These assignments varied from making a painting to creating a miniature beach.

With over 200 artworks that have been handed in, it wasn’t easy for the judges to make their decisions. This year’s panel consisted of Tess Verheij, Ainslie Wood and Laura and Roland Richardson. As Laura Richardson put it nicely: “A brilliant collection of diverse and imaginative entries flowed in from all the schools! As judges, we could feel the excitement of the children pouring their hearts into their creations. Judging the winners in each category was quite challenging, determining who should be awarded top prizes, when many of the artworks commanded at least honorable mentions. We hope their experience was special from beginning to end, including an abundance of gifts which rewarded their efforts. Thursday, February the 21st, we will be hosting a very fun exhibition with many of the children’s winning entries at Roland Richardson Gallery Museum, from 5:30pm to 7pm, at #6 rue de la Republique, Marigot! We had such a hard time picking out the winners with so many amazing art pieces”.

During the prize giving ceremony Anouk, the organizer of the event, awarded the winners with fantastic prizes provided by Rainforest Adventures, Random Wind, Tri Sport, Scuba Shop, Intertoys, Carousel, Ocean Explorer, Sea Fun Sxm, Shipwreck, Funtopia, Van Dorp,, Kooyman bv, Domino’s, Winair, Seaside Nature Park, Print & Sign, Top Carrot, Pineapple Pete, Toppers, Roland Richardson Gally Museum, Rhino Safari Tours, Cost U less and Aqua Mania.

“There are so many talented and creative children here on the island, it was amazing to see so many students participating in the competition and what kind of beautiful artworks they created.” Says Anouk van Loon, organizer of the event.

The exhibition with the winning art pieces of the Regatta Art competition and pieces of Ronald will be held on Thursday February the 21st from 5:30pm till 7pm at #6 rue de la Republique, Marigot. It is open to everyone. After the exhibition everyone can pick up their art works in the Gallery and take it home again.

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