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TelCell supporting music concert for Domestic Violence awareness

SINT MAARTEN/ST. EUSTATIUS - TelEm Group’s mobile provider TelCell, is in neighboring St. Eustatius this upcoming weekend, to give a big boost to a “Zero Tolerance” Domestic Violence Awareness event on the island.

The company says a team of TelCell staffers will be on Statia later in the week to take part in several activities planned for the weekend, including a music concert, with Reggae star Ky-Mani Marley, heading a group of talented performers.

The weekend is kicking off on Friday, February 22, with an All-White Party to officially mark the start of the Awareness Weekend and ends Sunday with the Family Fun Day.

This will be the second year in a row that TelCell is sponsoring the locally organized event, and says it is fully behind the cause to stamp out violence in the home.

TelCell is especially pleased with the hard work of event coordinators, Mega D’s Youth Foundation and Dare 2 Care, who are setting out to raise funds so that they can continue to bring awareness to the general public about Domestic and Youth Violence on the island.

Both groups believe the best way to tackle the scourge of violence of any kind in the home is to first recognize that it exists and then to find support for those who ultimately become the victims.

The Mega D’s Youth Foundation say the upcoming activities are in keeping with their goal and mission to educate and prepare Youth on the island for adolescence and adulthood, and note that Domestic Violence, and how to avoid it, is a very real issue that Youth need to be aware of at an early age.

Similarly, Dare 2 Care, also takes their mission to educate the community about domestic violence very seriously. Members go a step further however by offering assistance and support to the victims of domestic violence with programs that include counselling, treatment for persons with violent tendencies and a safe haven for female and youth victims, whenever the situation calls for a refuge against violence.

TelEm Group, Manager, Marketing & Sales, Mrs. Grisha Heyliger, says the TelCell Team visiting Statia this weekend are very excited about interaction with persons on the island and will be assisting in any way they can to get the message of domestic violence awareness out and into the Statia community.

“This is a great community effort that is well worth the support of everyone,” said Grisha.

For more information about Domestic Violence Awareness on St. Eustatius, visit the following Websites:

ky mani marley


Ashanti, Keyshia Cole, Ja Rule set to Headline ‘Soulful Company’ concert

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) will present a lineup of R&B music, Hip Hop and local soul on April 25 for the “Soulful Company” concert. Headlined by Grammy Award winning artist Ashanti, R&B and Soul songstress Keyshia Cole and rapper Ja Rule, “Soulful Company” is meant as a “smooth, groovin’ and boppin’’” night in Carnival Village. The concert will be presented in collaboration with Motorworld. 

The three US based, international artists will be joined by two of St. Maarten’s best young singers and their bands. Natisha Hanson, blessed with a powerful voice and the ability to sing ballads as well as Zouk music, will join Kenyo Baly, the reigning Soca Groovy King and R&B/Soul singer on stage as the acts representing The Friendly Island. 

“Last year when we first hosted this show, we knew where we wanted to take it eventually. When you start a concert event that you hope to present annually, it takes some work before you find the identity of that show. This year will be yet another big step forward in the growth of Soulful Company with three great international artists and our own superstar singers,” President of the SCDF Alston Lourens said. 

R&B, Soul and Hip Hop is not new to St. Maarten Carnival with several concerts of these genres forming part of previous Carnival celebrations. “It will be a cool, smooth, soulful night in the Village. These artists have very popular songs that fans of the genre will find themselves singing along to. We are really excited about Soulful Company,” Lourens added.

Tickets for the concert will go on sale upcoming week.


Ashanti was first discovered as a teenager and later signed to Murder Inc. Records in 2001.[1] That year, she was featured on Fat Joe's "What's Luv?" and Ja Rule's "Always on Time", both of which became two of the biggest hit songs of 2002; Ashanti became the first female artist to occupy the top two positions on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart simultaneously when "Always on Time" and "What's Luv?" were at numbers one and two, respectively. 

In 2002, Ashanti released her eponymous debut album, which sold over 505,000 copies throughout the U.S. in its first week of release. The album earned her many awards, including eight Billboard Music Awards, two American Music Awards, and a Grammy Award in 2003 for Best Contemporary R&B Album. In 2003, Ashanti released her second album, Chapter II, which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, with first-week sales of 326,000 copies in the U.S. The album went platinum, selling over 1.5 million copies in U.S. since its release.[4] The album's singles, "Rock wit U (Awww Baby)" and "Rain On Me", were both commercial successes, peaking at number two and number seven on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, respectively. 

Keyshia Cole

Keyshia Cole’s career began when she met MC Hammer at the age of 12, and later met rapper Tupac Shakur. At the age of 18, she moved to Los Angeles and was later introduced to A&M Records. She released her debut album, The Way It Is (2005), which spawned five singles: "Never", "I Changed My Mind", "(I Just Want It) To Be Over", "I Should Have Cheated", and "Love". It was certified gold within 17 weeks, and then platinum just eight weeks later. The album stayed on the charts for over a year, selling over 1.6 million copies. After A&M folded, Cole released her second album Just like You (2007) under Geffen Records, and the album debuted and peaked at number two on the Billboard 200. It was nominated for Best Contemporary R&B Album at the 50th Grammy Awards. 

Along with her music, Cole has ventured into reality television. She signed to a reality/documentary series Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is which aired on BET from 2006 until 2008, giving viewers a closer look into Cole's career and family life with her biological mother and sister. Her second reality show, Family First premiered on October 9, 2012. Her third reality show Keyshia Cole: All In premiered on February 24, 2015.


Ja Rule

Ja Rule debuted in 1999 with Venni Vetti Vecci and its single "Holla Holla". From 1999 to 2005, Ja Rule had multiple hits that made the top 20 of the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, including "Between Me and You" with Christina Milian, "I'm Real (Murder Remix)" and "Ain't It Funny" with Jennifer Lopez, which both topped the US Billboard Hot 100, the Grammy-nominated #1 hit "Always on Time" with Ashanti, "Mesmerize" with Ashanti, and "Wonderful" with R. Kelly and Ashanti. Due to his hits with his collaborators, Ja Rule has earned four Grammy nominations, and has had six top-ten albums, two of which, Rule 3:36 (2000) and Pain Is Love (2001), topped the US Billboard 200. 

carnival ins2


USM welcomes Multisectoral Research for Children’s Rights

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - The University of St. Martin, together with the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport and the St. Maarten Anti-Poverty Platform, are exploring the possibility of carrying out research that will benefit the rights of children and youth on the island. 

“Diverse groups such as trade unions and communities of faith will play an essential role in such research”, said USM President Antonio Carmona, who is hopeful in leading a programme that would look into issues of poverty, violence, sexual abuse and the socio-economic conditions of families. 

“Social Action Research, used by sociologists whereby focus groups horizontally identify the problems and needs of a community, is one of the principal methods that will ensure a solid multisectorial participation of civil society groups in their quest for solutions that will secure the rights of children”, said Dr. Carmona.

On Friday, 18 February, the Sint Maarten Anti-Poverty Platform (SMAPP), a coalition of trade unions, community leaders and social activists, welcomed former UNICEF Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean Mr. Nils Kastberg, who voluntarily came to Philipsburg from Sweden to meet with USM faculty and local trade representatives. Kastberg, who is no stranger to the island, has a long history of working with churches and government in Sint Maarten, and is willing to serve as a consultant. On Saturday, he talked with representatives of the St. Martin Council of Churches and the St. Martin United Ministerial Foundation, which have agreed to support this research initiative. 

A man of faith, Nils Kastberg exhorted local churches to consider that social action, like human rights activism, provides the space for Christians to practice the teachings of Jesus Christ by loving their neighbour. “The gospel very clearly takes a stand on justice, we are called to take action for our children and youth.”

Mr. Raymund Jessurun, who together with Mrs. Claire Elshot co-coordinates SMAPP, announced that a MOU between the Platform and USM is currently under review. USM would like to contribute to the community by establishing a poverty line on St. Martin and for the rest of the Kingdom. “For that, we need access to statistics. By working together with the university and government, we can expose the reality our children face and from there work on improving living conditions.”

Dr. Carmona stated that “previous studies on the socio-economic condition of children and youth were conducted by UNICEF Nederland. However, only half of the island was considered, while we know that St. Martin is one island and everyone has family on both sides.” Other surveys have been conducted by USM in collaboration with University ofthe Virgin Islands and the Collectivité of the northern side of the island. Through established networks, USM and SMAPP hope to receive support from the regional office of UNICEF and government. “Research guidelines need to be developed regionally and St. Martiners need to conduct their own research. UNICEF Nederland, if responsible, can support such an initiative if its genuinely interested in serving the Caribbean part of the Kingdom,” Carmona concluded.

On Monday and Tuesday Mr. Nils Kastberg, USM and SMAPP will hold talks with local teacher union WITU and again with Minister Wycliff Smith and the Ministry’s Secretary General Shermina Powell-Richardson.   


Book Club launches discussion of Michelle Obama’s Book

PHILIPSBURG/MARIGOT – “United and Young United Book Clubs and the committee in charge came together to launch their first exclusive bilingual discussion of Michelle Obama's book “Becoming". This will be our first open discussion to the entire community,” the United Book Club said in a statement on Monday.

“After just two weeks of its release, Michelle Obama’s memoir “Becoming” is the bestselling book of the year. So many were purchasing and reading this book on the island. As Book Clubs, we wondered how can we bring all those reading the book together. 

“Therefore, this was an opportunity not to be missed. This event is about bringing Women and Men from all walks of life and from both sides of the island together to share knowledge and empower each other. We want to leave our mark on society by sharing knowledge and building communities together.

“ We also invite men to accompany their wives and companions as well to participate in this discussion, which will take place at the CCISM (Chamber of Commerce) in Concordia on March 17th from 5pm to 7pm.

“To book, contact us at 0690658605  / +7215544230 or on Facebook page: United Women Book Club or Young United Women Book Club.”


“WomanityFest” launched for International Women’s Day 2019

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - International Women’s day is observed on March 8th every year around the world. This year will be extra especial for the women of St. Maarten. The Elektralyets, Positive in collaboration with Posh productions and the Women’s Desk St. Maarten have team up for this year’s activities for the month of March.

WomanityFest was the brain child of Mercedes “Elektra” van der Waals-Wyatt.  She started this many years ago providing corporate workshops and empowerment motival talks in the community. Companies purchase womanity fest t-shirts for the female staff and wear them on International Women’s Day and every Friday for the month of March. The Elektralyets Foundation hosted various other activities like a women’s expo, PSA’s on radio, TV and girls talks with many various elementary schools and have collaborated with other women’s organisations like Safe Haven and Positive Foundation.

The Positive Foundation President Shelly Alponso is very elated be part of Womanity Fest being an organisation that helps to bring about awareness and workshops to women about Breast Cancer. This collaboration is a great way to working together to reach all women where it concerns Getting Checked and being Breast Aware.

Anna Richardson directress of Posh Productions was very enthusiastic and approached Positive and Elektralyets Foundation and a collaboration was born.  Posh Production hosted it’s 1000 Women Unity March last year and wanted to unite women together from St. Maarten. Posh Productions is renowned for their top-class Queen pageants and innovative etiquette on training women and girls in poise, self-esteem and confidence to become great island ambassadors of our country St. Maarten.

The three entities have proceeded to work together and also invited the Women’s Desk of St. Maarten to collaborate with them. Elencia Baptiste-Boasman representative of Women’s Desk is very happy to work alongside various women groups to unite and be a party of WomanityFest.  An initial contact meeting was held with a few other women’s organisations like SXM Women Strong and Safe Haven.

The vision is to unite as many women and Women’s Organistions, Clubs, Foundations, Business professionals and Sports as possible for Womanity Fest as we celebrate International Women’s Day/Month. Women are the building pillars of this community and it is wonderful that a day has been dedicated to celebrating and empower women and girls of all walks of life on Sint Maarten.

In keeping in tune with the International Women’s Day theme we want to raise the glass ceiling and do something extra special for the women of our community. After the devastations of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, many women had to pull together to feed, nurture, and help with the rebuilding processes of our country said Mercedes “Elektra” Wyatt President of Elektralyets Foundation. 

Bringing women together to help empower each other for the future we all face shows resilience, fortitude and commitment not only to ourselves but to our nation and country “OUALICHI” land of many women as given to us by our ancestors. It’s only fitting that we continue to uplift and uphold our name sake she said. We want to pay homage to strong spirited women like “One Tete Loke”, pioneers in various fields of professionalism.

Womanity Fest will consist of various activities throughout the month of March just to mention a few: 

March 8th– International Women’s Day 

WOW Glitz and Glam- Women of Worth Social 

Opening Cocktail party, speeches, networking and entertainment Holland House Beach Hotel 

6 PM to 10 PM, Dresscode Shades of Purple entrance FREE

March 9th: - Four Faces of Women. An Empowerment Workshop conducted by Sister Devki of Bhrama Kumaris at the Belair Community Center,2PM to 5PM followed by 1000Women Unity March (Posh Productions)

March 31th: Hats, Heels and Clutches Brunch/Lunch

More still details and a calandar of activities will be published 

The theme for United Nations International Women’s Day 2019, which will take place on 8 March, is “Think equal, build smart, innovate for change”. The theme will focus on innovative ways in which we can advance gender equality and the empowerment of women, particularly in the areas of social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure. 

The future is exciting. Let's build a gender-balanced world. Everyone has a part to play all the time, everywhere. From grassroots activism to worldwide action, we are entering an exciting period of history where the world expects balance. We notice its absence and celebrate its presence. Balance drives a better working world. Let's all help create a #BalanceforBetter.

For more information and participation in WomaityFest events and activities contact:

Elektra at 523-7418 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 

Shelly Alphonso at 580 9658 or email positivefoundation@ or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 520-6291


60 Vehicles in late night traffic control. Seven fines issued

PHILIPSBURG - As the police department continues to enforce the laws of the traffic ordinance on Sunday February 17thbetween 12.15 a.m. and 04.30 a.m. a traffic control was held on the Bush road in the vicinity of PBS-bank. 

During this control a total of 60 vehicles were checked, police announced on Sunday. “Of the vehicles checked 45 drivers were told the remove the tint from those windows which are prohibited by law. 7 fines were issued, 4 vehicles were towed one of which is suspected to be stolen. Also a small amount of marijuana and a machete were confiscated. (Sint Maarten Police Force)


Police sting operation leads to arrest of four teens for ill-treatment, possession and disturbance

POINT BLANCHE - Based on numerous reports made to the police department regarding a group of teens riding recklessly and causing much disturbance on a daily basis in the Point Blanche area and also based on information that three of these teens were involved in the ill-treatment of a man which was posted on Facebook, police on Thursday February 14thconducted a “sting operation” to apprehend these suspects, police announced in a statement on Friday. 

The suspects tried to flee the scene but soon realized that they were surrounded.

During the operation three suspects identified with initials T.M. (14), L.A. (14) and M.H. (18) were arrested in connection with the ill-treatment. 

One other suspect who could not identify himself and was searched at the scene was arrested for the possession of 12 small plastic bags containing marijuana and giving the police a false name.

All suspects were taken the police headquarters where they were placed in custody for questioning.

Two Yamaha motorcycles and the illegal drugs were confiscated for further investigation. (Sint Maarten Police Force)


Three-quarters of Caribbean Dutch feel healthy

SABA/ST. EUSTATIUS - On all three islands of the Caribbean Netherlands - Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba - approximately three-quarters of the population aged 15 years and over said they were in good or very good health during a survey held in 2017/2018. Men are relatively more positive about their health than women on all three islands. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this on the basis of new figures. 

Overall, men feel healthier than women. On Bonaire, 80 percent of men and 71 percent of women stated they are in (very) good health in 2017/2018. This was 87 percent of men and 73 percent of women on Saba; on St Eustatius, these shares were 79 and 63 percent respectively.

Over-45s feeling less healthy

On all three islands of the Caribbean Netherlands, young people are more positive about their health than elderly people. Residents of Bonaire, Saba as well as St Eustatius under 45 years of age have better self-perceived health than residents aged 45 to 64 years. On Bonaire, residents aged 45 to 64 are more positive about their own health than people aged 65 and over. There is no significant difference on Saba and St Eustatius.

Men’s health perception more divergent from women’s after age 45

On all three islands of the Caribbean Netherlands, there is no difference in self-perceived health of men and women between the ages of 15 to 44. However, men aged 45 years and up on Saba and St Eustatius feel healthier than women in the same age group. On Saba, 84 percent of men in this age group state they are in (very) good health against 54 percent of women. On St Eustatius, 69 percent of men and 44 percent of women describe their health as (very) good. On the island of Bonaire, the gender gap is not significant.


StatLine - Caribbean NL: health and disorders; personal characteristics


Controls leads to one arrest for marijuana possession

COLE BAY - The Sint Maarten Police conducted controls in the Cole Bay area on Wednesday 13thFebruary at approximately 09.30 p.m. which led to the arrest one male suspect, police said on Thursday.  

The arrest took place while conducting general controls in the vicinity of Quality Supermarket on the Well Road. The male suspect identified with initials D.D.J.P.B. was searched and was found in the procession of a small quantity of marijuana. 

The investigating officers confiscated the drugs and placed the suspect under arrest. He was brought into the station for further question. (Sint Maarten Police Force)


Minister Lee: Incidental labor policy to be reviewed. Increased labor controls planned

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - Minister of VSA (Public Health, Social Development and Labour), Emil Lee stated on Wednesday that the incidental labor policy that was implemented in 2018 would be reviewed again based on the current conditions of the recovery economy. 

When the incidental labor policy was implemented, it was recorded that there were insufficient skilled local laborers available to meet the demands of the construction sector. 

The incidental labor policy allowed for the fast tracking of work permits for project specific foreign workers, with the exception that these permits would not be renewed upon completion of the projects, all taxes/social premiums to be paid, housing provided and that the foreign laborers would need to return to their countries. 

Most recently, 78 persons graduated from the construction and life skills training course at the NIPA. Lee stated that it is the obligation of government to ensure that these graduates are able to get gainful employment and be a part of the recovery economy. 

“The course is part of the Emergency Income Support and Training project of the Ministry of VSA. These graduates have successfully met the requirements needed to operate at level one in one of three areas in the construction field: carpentry, electrical and property maintenance. Now we have graduates, people who have shown an interest to participate in our reconstruction process, who have taken the initiative to go to school, to study, to graduate, to learn a skill… it is our obligation, it is the country’s obligation to ensure that this translates into gainful employment,” Emil Lee, Minister of VSA.

The Department of Labor affairs is reporting to have received feedback of a possible downward trend in construction activities for this year. Lee stated that he will be conducting stakeholder consultations to find out if this is in fact correct. Minister Lee also indicated that he will review, together with the Ministry of TEATT if a policy is needed regarding new construction companies. 

“The Ministry of VSA will be reassessing the marketplace to assess the current need for foreign construction labor in particular. Expect that there will be increased and synchronized controls between the Ministries and SZV. We are hearing far too much about undocumented construction labor, each of those positions are positions that our local people can fill.” – Emil Lee, Minister of VSA

As it relates to the execution of the upcoming roof repair program of 150 roofs, Lee commented: “our responsibility is to ensure that our recovery isn’t simply just about building parts of structures but to rebuild our economy and to make sure that our people are gainfully employed.” Lee further stated that he emphasized to the project leaders of this program and representatives of the World Bank; “While the reconstruction process takes place, it is critical that our people participate in that process. Otherwise, it isn’t truly a reconstruction process if our people aren’t involved in that. The reconstruction has to involve local labor.” 

The Emergency Income Support and Training (EIST) program is project of the Ministry of VSA, initiated post-Irma to facilitate training for unemployed and underemployed persons, teaching them new skills to be self-supporting and contribute to the recovery economy. The program offers a monthly stipend and medical insurance. The project is funded by the Dutch Government through the Trust Fund managed by the World Bank. 

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