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CBCS hosts 3rd Central Banking Conference Supporting Inclusive Growth and Financial Innovation

SINT MAARTEN/CURACAO - On June 6 and 7, 2019, the Central Bank of Curaçao and Sint Maarten (CBCS) held its third Central Banking Conference at its headquarters in Willemstad. Under the theme of “Reinventing Central Banking: Supporting Inclusive Growth and Financial Innovation,” experts from around the world converged to discuss and present on a variety of relevant topics.

“Through these conferences, the CBCS hopes to broaden public interest in the fields of economics and finance as well as to highlight the important functions this institution performs in our societies,” Mrs. Leila MatroosLasten, in her capacity as acting president of the CBCS, said in her opening remarks.

Last year, the CBCS hosted its second Central Banking Conference in March followed by a Financial Innovation Conference in June. This year, the CBCS decided to combine the two conferences covering contemporary issues in macroeconomic theory and financial innovation in one event.

A diverse range of speakers gave presentations on developments in macroeconomics and finance, including those from the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the government of Grenada, the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago, the Association of Supervisors of Banks of the Americas, the Ontario Securities Commission, the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, IBIS Management, and economists and finance professionals from the CBCS itself.

“One of the strategic goals of the CBCS is to be a ‘state of the art’ central bank with an eye toward the future. To realize this vision, our institution must continuously adapt its policies and approaches to meet the needs and demands of our community in an ever increasingly complex and dynamic global environment,” Mrs. Matroos-Lasten added.

“In this regard, inclusive growth and financial innovation are two areas where the CBCS can play a key role in supporting sustainable development of Curaçao and Sint Maarten for future generations.”

In her remarks, Matroos-Lasten pointed out that in the past, Curaçao and Sint Maarten’s economies went through structural reform programs specifically aimed at achieving macroeconomic stability and sound public finances.

“However, at the same time, at least in the short term, these programs had a negative effect on people’s living standards. Our challenge, therefore, is to develop macroeconomic and fiscal policies that are simultaneously pro-growth and pro-inclusion,” she explained.

In addition, Mrs. Matroos-Lasten stressed that it is essential to have an effective resolution regime in place to solve possible failures of financial institutions in an orderly manner. The CBCS, therefore, specifically invited the governor of the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago and a representative of the Association of Supervisors of Banks of the Americas to share their lessons learnt in the area of resolution regimes.

Various stakeholders from a broad spectrum of backgrounds attended and lively discussions resulted during the Q and A sessions afterward. The full text of Mrs. Matroos-Lasten’s speech, as well as the presentations that were given during the conference, can be found at


Coast Guard Recruitment Day is on Saturday

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - The Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard is recruiting youngsters to become Coast Guard officers during a recruitment day. The event will be held on Saturday June 22, 2019 from 10AM – 4PM at the Coast Guard substation in Simpson Bay across from the police station. Those who wish to apply for a job must be between 18 – 23 years old and have a Dutch passport.

The day will start at 10AM with lots of information stands, fly-by of the helicopter, viewing and tour of the boats, ship and all Coast Guard equipment. Their will be entertainment by DJ Kembe, King James and a live broadcast from Laser101.

The new students will receive an intensive training over a two-year period in which they will get to be a Coast Guard officer after completing the training in a satisfactorily manner. After the two-year training they will receive an MBO-3 diploma. A two-month nautical module is also part of the training.

In the nautical part of the training the student will be educated in navigation, boat boarding, sea legislation and seamanship. It is a varied training where the students will learn a great number of disciplines. The application requirements for new Coast Guard recruits are: a minimum diploma of MAVO-4/VMBO/VSBO-TKL/L.T.S./T-stroom/EPI or equivalent to a high school diploma, read and write basic Dutch (Level A2), Dutch nationality, registered in St. Maarten, in possession of a swimming diploma, be in good physical condition, does not wear glasses or lenses and have a certificate of good conduct.

All applicants will receive a sport, physiological and medical test. A background check is also part of the job application.

Are you interested in becoming a Coast Guard? And are you between 18 - 23 years old, living in St. Maarten with a Dutch passport? Please visit us coming Saturday during this great event, the Coast Guard said in a statement on Tuesday.

How to reach us if you cannot make it to the event: via private message on Facebook KWCARIB, e-mail us via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit our substation for a registration form, the Coast Guard said on Tuesday.


Three Cubans end hunger strike as UN Organization assists with relocation

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On Wednesday June 12th, 2019, the Judge ordered the deportation of three illegal persons of Cuban nationality back to Cuba. All three were already in Police custody when on Friday June 14th, 2019, they tried to take their own lives after hearing their verdict.

They were rushed to the Sint Maarten Medical Center for immediate treatment and were brought back to Police Headquarters the same night and are in stable condition. It was mentioned on social media that the Cubans were on a hunger strike. The Immigration division hereby confirms that their hunger strike has ended and that they are eating again since today. The Sint Maarten Police Force is currently looking into the legal options for deporting the three illegal Cubans, together with the UNHCR, Refugee Protection and International Migration Organization. The community will be informed as more information becomes available, the police said in a statement on Monday evening. (Sint Maarten Police Force)


Theo's passport released by Prosecutor's Office

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The perseverance of Grisha Heyliger-Marten has paid off. She received the passport of her husband suspended Member of Parliament Theo Heyliger on Monday afternoon. 

Heyliger-Marten was prepared to visit the Prosecutor's Office every hour on the hour until the passport was released giving her husband the possibility of applying for a medical visa for the United States. He must apply for a visa because his ESTA was revoked. 

Heyliger wants to travel to the US to seek medical care in Boston, Massachusetts, for his stage one kidney cancer. He and his wife were scheduled to do so this past weekend. The trip was cancelled when his passport was not released. He had to surrender his passport as one of the conditions for release from prison where he was awaiting trial on charges brought by the Prosecutor as of February. 

The Prosecutor's Office said it did not receive all necessary documents to allow for the release of the passport. Heyliger-Marten refused this. "We sent them everything over a week ago: where he was going, how long, which hospital and even the doctor and the appointment date. Nothing was left out," she said. 

Heyliger-Marten thanks everyone for their prayers and support in this passport ordeal. "Now, my focus is getting his health back on track and save the legal battle for after," she said. 

To the just under two dozen people who showed up to support her at the Prosecutor's Office, Heyliger-Marten said, "I want to thank each and every one of them for standing with me at this crucial time. We need to stand together against injustice." 


Caribbean Cinemas now serving Coca- Cola products

SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) - Coca-Cola family of soft drinks, distributed by CC1 St. Maarten, are now available at Caribbean Cinemas in St.Maarten. Following the signing of a multi- year agreement, Caribbean Cinemas will proudly offer customers an array of refreshing beverages including Coca- Cola, Diet Coke, Coke Zero, Sprite, Sprite Zero, Fanta Orange, Fuze Tea iced tea in Lemon and Raspberry flavor, HI-C Fruit Punch, Minute Maid Lemonade, as well as, Dasani Sparkling flavored water, Vitamin Water, Powerade Fruit Punch and Mountain Blast and Dasani bottled water.  Next to that ICEE beverages, which is frozen carbonated beverages in fruit and soda flavors such as Coca-Cola, Fanta Strawberry – Kiwi and Fanta Blue Raspberry.

Following the post-Irma remodeling, Caribbean Cinemas re-opened with a more modern and state of the art theater as well as a revamped and well stocked concession stand.

In June 2019, Caribbean Cinemas will celebrate 50 years of bringing movies to the “big screen”. Established in 1969 on the island of Puerto Rico, Caribbean Cinemas’ footprint today covers much of the lesser Antilles as well as locations in Central and South America.

With 68 cinemas in 14 countries, Caribbean Cinemas has focused on innovation, offering the latest in technology in the movie industry. Caribbean Cinemas boasts many enhanced features in its theaters throughout the region including stadium seating auditoriums, themed cinemas and digital projection.

They have also developed Deli Café and other offerings that contribute to the movie-going experience such as cinema birthdays, gift certificates and alternative content.

These elevated experiences go hand in hand with the enjoyment experience that Coca-Cola brings to its consumers…. It is a “win, win, win relationship” explained CC1 St. Maarten Senior Coca-Cola Brand Marketing coordinator Agnetha Huijting.

The enthusiastic Coca-Cola brand coordinator went on to explain that together with Caribbean Cinemas, CC1 St. Maarten and Coca-Cola will hold several events and promotions throughout the year, celebrate this 50-year milestone.

These Coca-Cola and Caribbean Cinema events will be announced through local media as well as in social media, so movie buffs are encouraged to keep a keen eye on what’s going on with Coca-Cola over the next few months!

In St. Maarten, Caribbean Cinemas offers seven theaters, showing new release movies seven nights a week. On Mondays through Thursday, show times are 6:30 PM until 10:00 PM. On weekends show times are 1:30 PM until 10:00 PM. 

CC1 St. Maarten is a leader in beverages, beers, wines and spirits distribution on St. Maarten and the surrounding islands. For inquires, or placing an order please contact CC1 St. Maarten, +1 721 542 2283. Located on Oryx Drive #1, Cay Hill or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Wife of MP says Theo Blocked from leaving the country for cancer treatment

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - St. Maarten highest vote-getter and now suspended Member of Parliament Theo Heyliger is blocked from leaving the country to get treatment for his stage one kidney cancer. His wife Grisha Heyliger-Marten sees this as a crystal-clear move by the Dutch colonial authorities to murder her husband – slowly and painful.  

“His stage one cancer tumour and other aggravated health are tagged to extreme stress with his preexisting condition added to the mix. The stress is the factor and the pressure and blockage from medical treatment are the Dutch’s weapons to murder Theo,” said Heyliger-Marten. 

Heyliger has lost weight more than 30 pounds since his entire ordeal started in February.     

Heyliger was released from custody in May but had to surrender his passport to the Prosecutor’s Office and put up liquid cash as a guarantee. These were terms of his release and both and others were complied with.  

His wife, in a plea for true justice, said her husband needs to travel to the United States for cancer treatment. This cannot happen without his passport. The Prosecutor’s Office has refused to release his passport. They have cancelled his ESTA necessitating him to apply for a US (medical) visa. The application cannot happen without his passport to enable him to travel to Curacao to complete the application.  

The Dutch wants Heyliger explain why he has to go for a month to Boston. “This is simply ridiculous. They have all the medical documents and the prove of the tumor in his right kidney. They are just continuing to torture him. An act for which they were recently have been sentenced for by the European Court for Human Rights,” Heyliger-Marten said.  

The Heyligers were booked to travel to the Boston this weekend on tickets they bought two weeks ago. Ever since their attorney has worked to get Heyliger’s passport released by the Prosecutor’s Office to no avail.  

Heyliger-Marten said she checked on her husband’s ESTA in the meantime and found it was cancelled.  

“I was prompted to double check Theo's ESTA that was approved earlier in the year, prior to his detainment, and I was shocked to see that it was declined. So, we tried to get to the American Embassy in Curacao to get him a medical visa. Now the prosecutor is saying, since he cannot go to the US, they won't release the passport,” she said.  

Tickets cancelled; it is back to the drawing board to find another location for Heyliger to see a cancer specialist. “They don't want to give him his passport to fix the issue. They will only give it to him if he finds another location other than the US,” said Heyliger-Marten, who is grappling to understand why the Dutch are so vehement against her husband going to the United States.  

“Theo's health and safety has been my number concern from day one. He fell ill later last year, and I forced him to do a general checkup. Late in November 2018, it was concluded that he had polyps in his colon, a sort of blockage in his colon and a kidney stone in his right kidney,” Heyliger-Marten said. 

His detention as of February 19 and his later kidnapped to Bonaire on March 1 put additional stress on him, said his wife. “We were able to visit Theo in Bonaire on March 11 and, of course, the first thing I noticed was how frail he looked, again my concern was his health. His declining health was linked to the incorrect low dose gout medication they gave him in Bonaire. The meds were not strong enough and left his system to get weaker and weaker,” she said.  

Heyliger was returned to St. Maarten and put in the medical ward of the Pointe Blanche Prison a month after his transfer to Bonaire. Then after another month back and forth, he was able to see a urologist at SMMC. The urologist re-ran tests conducted in November.  

The doctor determined that the kidney stone had doubled in size. He later noticed a lesion on the right kidney. The focus was to first get rid of the kidney stone. A week after the operation, the doctor instructed that Heyliger be transferred to the French side for an MRI. The conclusion from that was the lesion is a three centimetre malignant tumor, in other words stage one cancer.   

“That tumor was never there in November. It came this year and it got there through stress.

Because his tumor is right in the middle of his right kidney, the doctor suggested to do a special procedure that cannot be performed in SXM nor Colombia. He suggested either Holland or the US. Of course, given his situation with the Dutch government, we automatically chose to go the US,” said Heyliger-Marten. That option is now squashed without the release of this passport.


DCOMM airs TV Special on RIVM, Air Quality Testing

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Department of Communication (DCOMM) will air a TV Special on the research group from the Netherlands, the Dutch Scientific Institute (RIVM), who has studied the air quality surrounding the Great Salt Pond and the Sanitary landfill.

After Sept. 6, 2017, Hurricane Irma destroyed St. Maarten, the destruction that was left created a large amount of garbage and debris, adding to the garbage landfill.

In the process of finding a solution to the landfill, the Government of St. Maarten commissioned a study by the Dutch Scientific Institute (RIVM) to study the air quality around this landfill. This study had to be conducted in order to find a solution or create a basis of the argument for the establishment towards a solution, a waste management system.

DCOMM, who will air and upload a TV/video Special about what exactly is the purpose and consequences of the RIVM study, spoke to Head of Infrastructure Management at the Ministry of VROMI Claudius Buncamper about the basis and reason for the scientific air quality study.

Buncamper shared that throughout the years, the sanitary landfill has grown year after year without the proper attention, in addition to the intermittent fires throughout the years. Government today has made a conscious decision to try to solve the issue once and for all.

Besides, taking acute measures to quell the incendiary activities and prepared the recovery operation, a study had to be carried out to measure the air quality around the landfill. That study has been commissioned by the Ministries of VROMI and the Ministry Public Health, Social Affairs, and Welfare, Buncamper said.

DCOMM spoke to the RIVM’s public relations officer, Jolanda Roelofs, who explained about the institute and the work they were carrying out to determine with certainty of the toxicity at the landfill and to provide a basis and a scientific argument for a solution.

Arien Stolk of RIVM also provides a more detailed explanation about the technical aspects about the research being conducted by the National Institute.

The research group will conclude their work shortly and the Institute will produce a report stipulating exactly what they found. This information will be shared with the public of St. Maarten. Thereafter, it is up to the St. Maarten Government to explain to the people of St. Maarten, what’s next—a road map to waste management.

On June 17, 2019, the TV Special will air at 7pm on channel 115 Cable TV. Viewers can view the special on St. Maarten Government’s website, Facebook, and YouTube channel at 9am on the same day.


MHF looks back at a successful Mental Health Awareness Campaign

SINT MAARTEN (CAY HILL) - On May 14th the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) launched its anti-stigma campaign aimed to inform the public on mental health and the related services of MHF, and most importantly, to reduce the stigma on Mental Health on Sint Maarten.

Every Tuesday for the past four weeks, a new video was launched and promoted on the MHF Facebook page, each video covering a different section of the care products that the Mental Health Foundation provides. The videos show one or more MHF healthcare professionals sharing their knowledge and experience, but also stories of ex-clients. Additionally, MHF was on the radio on Wednesdays and Fridays at the Suppa Duppa Morning show & My AM Shine, where MHF staff provided further information on each topic.

MHF Psychologist Stephanie Haseth insightfully compares physical health with mental health in the Clinic Care video. ‘’if we have a little ache, in our foot we know to rest it. We know that I might have walked too much, so I need to rest it.  However, that can be just an ache in my foot, but I can also break my leg, and for that, I will have to go to the doctor. That goes the same for mental health illnesses’’ Haseth explains.

‘’So, you can come in for something little as you know, I’m really stressed out lately, what would you need? A little bit of rest! But someone can also come in with way more difficulties, and just a doctor can treat  that broken leg, we can treat mental issues.’’ Besides providing information, the videos show what it means to be a healthcare professional on Sint Maarten, its challenges and rewards. “The appreciation that I get from clients and family is the most rewarding aspect for me’’, as concluded by Ambulant Nurse Dione Trustful.

The videos were received very well all over Sint Maarten. So many people shared the videos, and we’ve gotten so many positive and encouraging messages according to Bart van de Meijden, Information & Prevention Coordinator at MHF. ‘’Although the videos are short and can never provide all the information, they do offer a different way of thinking.

“They show that mental health and the mental health foundation is not what you might think it is! We all go through rough times at some point in our life, that’s inevitable and a normal part of living. So, just like it is normal to deal with a broken leg, it is also completely normal to deal with your mental health issue, and MHF can help you with that’’.

At the end of this campaign, MHF would like to publicly thank the sponsors of this campaign: Samenwerkende Fondsen Cariben, Philipsburg Pharmacy, The Dutch Representation Office, Claude CHACHO Peterson - SMCP Member of Parliament, FWG, Rotary Club of Sint Maarten-Mid Isle & The Windward Island Bank. But also the producer of the videos Peter Sagnia (Peter Sagnia Productions) and all the actors and MHF staff volunteers that made this project happen. 

We believe that this campaign was a big step into the right direction, but we are not there yet, so MHF will continue its efforts to provide the highest quality of mental health care to the people of Sint Maarten. Persons can keep up to date with events, future projects and activities through our Facebook page: @Mental Health Foundation Sint Maarten and our website:

Post My AM Shine





Children in care were subjected to widespread abuse, report says

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Children looked after in care homes or who lived with foster families have been subject to widespread abuse from the end of World War II to the present day, according to a new report which has been two years in the making.

A large number of children were ‘insufficiently protected’ against physical, mental and sexual abuse, the report said. Prior to the 1970s, the perpetrators were usually care home staff, members of religious orders and foster parents.

Later physical abuse between children became more prevalent, the report said. The researchers found one in 10 of the estimated 200,000 children who spend time in institutional care had to deal with a serious form of abuse.

Research commission chairman Mischa de Winter said that the report has revealed an ‘uneasy truth which is part of our history’. ‘If you read it all, you will be shocked,’ he said.

‘Who knew that deep into the 1970s blind and deaf children were dealt with severely to make sure they did not learn bad habits.’ ‘Who knew that children who would not eat were tied down and then had the food forced into their mouths, and were made to eat their own vomit,’ he said at the presentation of the research findings.


The violence, says De Winter, must be partly seen in the context of the times. In the post war years, children who were taken away from their parents because they could not look after them properly were seen as potential criminals who needed to be re-educated.

Nevertheless, this does not explain the systematic cruelty meted out to some children, he said. ‘Nowhere did it say you could abuse a child, or beat him with a belt, for years and years.’


The commission was set up by the cabinet to look into abuse within the care system in the wake of the inquiry into abuse within the Catholic church. The research is based on archive material and interviews.

In addition, 942 people registered their experiences via a special hotline. Welfare minister Hugo de Jonge said that ‘excuses, recognition and help’ are due for the people affected.

‘We cannot change what happened in the past,’ De Jonge and fellow minister Sander Dekker said in a statement. ‘It is important to do right by the victims of yesterday and to make sure that children in care today do not become the victims of tomorrow.’



BIP SXM kicks off Unreal Campaign at the Milton Peters College

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - “The Unreal Campaign is INTA’s public awareness initiative designed to educate teenagers (ages 14-18) about the importance of trademarks, intellectual property, and dangers of counterfeit products. The Campaign has successfully reached nearly 40,000 students directly since its launch in 2012.”

The Bureau for Intellectual Property (BIP SXM) has proudly partnered with the International Trademark Associations’ (INTA’s) Unreal Campaign to help create more Intellectual property (IP) awareness to the students on Sint Maarten.

The Director, Mrs. Vincentia Rosen-Sandiford gave the Unreal presentation to the MPC PKL-2 and TKL-3 students. The presentation touches on counterfeit products and their social-economic influence in a country.

In addition, BIP SXM provided information on intellectual property rights such as copyright. BIP SXM intends to give presentations to all the secondary schools n Sint Maarten. The goal is to educate as many students as possible.

With the help of 90+ INTA members, the Unreal Campaign Committee focuses on educating students through online and direct engagement initiatives in North America, Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe.

BIP SXM has been a member of INTA since 2017. Initiatives such as the Unreal Campaign allows BIP SXM the opportunity to play a more significant role in the Associations’ mission. During INTA’s Annual meeting held in Boston from May 18th to 22nd, 2019, INTA’s President David Lossignol announced that the age limit of the campaign will be expanded from age 14- to 23, says the Director who was in attendance.

On May 16th, INTA released a Multi-Country study on Generation Z’s purchase behavior and moral compass with regards to counterfeit goods. The findings of this study, the target group’s relationship with brands and attitudes towards counterfeit goods, has been a contributing factor in the decision to increase the age limit.

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