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Grisha reflects on IPKO in the Hague

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - In a press statement released on Wednesday evening, President of Parliament, Member of Parliament (MP) Grisha Heyliger-Marten provided an overview of the main topics discussed during the Inter-Parliamentary Kingdom Consultation (IPKO) held in the Hague from September 27th -30th, 2022.

In her closing statement at the IPKO, Heyliger-Marten said that the Sint Maarten appreciated the deliberations and looks forward to continuing the dialogue and coming to concrete actions on the topics discussed.

“All delegations came up with suggestions or solutions to the topics discussed. Now is the time to come to put these into concrete actions”, she said.

With regards to the unsolicited advice of the Council of State regarding the application of treaties within the entire Kingdom, MP Sarah Wescot-Williams suggested to create a specific department for Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten.

This is to ensure the involvement of these islands in the treaty process from the start, according to Heyliger-Marten. “The democratic deficit is clearly visible when it comes to treaties, and this needs to be addressed”, she said. When it comes to the process of consensus laws, the discussions centered around the moment when consensus has to be established, as well as the role of the Parliaments in this process, Heyliger-Marten said.

“This was a concern of all four countries, and we had honest and transparent discussions about this issue. We really need to find a way to give content to the true meaning of consensus. Perhaps we should consider regulating a clear process in which these Kingdom laws are handled”.

Heyliger-Marten also reflected on the presentation of the book “Ongemak” by prof. dr. G.J. Oostindie and dr. W.P. Veenendaal at the second day of the IPKO. “One of the things that stuck out to me was the fact that the authors, while acknowledging the democratic deficit and proposing ways to address it, also stated that amending the Kingdom Charter was difficult, and that changing it should not be a priority or disregarded altogether”, she said.

According to Heyliger-Marten, this statement seems to ignore the execution of the “de Graaf” and “van Raak” motions, which will both lead to amendments to the Kingdom Charter. “The democratic deficit cannot be adequately addressed without changing the Kingdom Charter”, she stated.

“The CCAD was established in 2020 for that reasons, and the Committee has already committed to making proposals to change the Kingdom Charter. The Dutch House of Representatives also sees the need for dialogue-based change, and has instructed its Government to organized a Kingdom Conference with the six Caribbean islands in 2023. So it is clear that change is inevitable, and it definitely will come sooner rather than later”, Heyliger-Marten stated.

With regards to the topic of colonialism and slavery history, Heyliger-Marten considers the deliberations during IPKO a good first step in the dialogue about an extremely divisive topic.

“The Sint Maarten delegation expressed the need to continue this dialogue more in-depth during the next IPKO and come to concrete agreements on a way forward”, she stated. Heyliger-Marten concluded by stating that the missions of the Sint Maarten delegation is and continues to be “making IPKO work for the people who we represent by coming up with more solutions and taking more action.”

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U 2 Can Move annual Sip & Chat to host a distinguished array of speakers

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Commenting on the event, Member of Parliament (MP) Sarah Wescot William, founder of U 2 Can Move remarked that we are in the month of October, a month during which we honor our elderly, pay tribute to our teachers and observe breast cancer awareness, and she took the opportunity to salute these 2 groups of persons in our community, for their past and present contributions in shaping our nation.

As part of the October breast cancer awareness program, U 2 Can Move will host an evening of informative speeches and motivational presentations, U 2 Can Move founder, MP Wescot explained and added: “I can’t stress enough how important it is to look after our health and listen to our bodies.”

“Medical institutions, government and the business sector on St. Maarten have again partnered with foundations such as the Positive Foundation to offer free screening to women, focusing on breast cancer and other cancers. I implore persons to make use of these opportunities.”

I look forward to the day when screening will become mandatory for illnesses that wreak havoc, such as cancer. With the tools available to us, we can prevent much of the devastating effects that undiagnosed and untreated cancers can have, added MP Wescot.

“Early detection not only saves lives, it allows for a more dignified and meaningful life for those fighting and living with cancer.”

U 2 Can Move promotes one of the three important elements of health, namely exercise and activity, which together with diet and nutrition contribute to the overall wellbeing of individuals and the community at large.

“During the event on Saturday, we have several dynamic speakers and presenters, amongst whom Dr. Chobanjan and Ms. Energy Evans. We will be hearing about the disease vitiligo and have a talk about natural herbs. A fashion display and poetic rendition will complement these talks.”

The event to be held this Saturday at the John Larmonie Center from 6 to 9 pm is free, but donations to the Positive Foundation are most welcome.

” I just want women and men to realize what a difference early detection and diagnosis can make and I want the community at large to understand that preventative care benefits us all and will in the long run benefit the country financially and socially. With this in mind, I commend the voluntary organizations and businesses that play their part in ensuring a healthier St. Maarten, especially for those otherwise deprived of such”, MP Wescot-Williams concluded.

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CPS Starts Rollout of New Updated COVID-19 Pfizer Bivalent Vaccine Booster on Thursday

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – The Collective Prevention Services (CPS), will commence with the rollout of COVID-19 Pfizer Bivalent Booster on Thursday, October 06 for persons 60+ as well as health care providers and essential workers. The booster is entirely free of charge and voluntary.

The COVID-19 Pfizer Bivalent Booster will be administered at CPS Offices at the Vineyard Building Office Park in Philipsburg from 08:30 AM to 12:30 PM and 1:30 PM to 3:30 PM every Thursday.

The next group eligible for the booster is the under 60s with underlying conditions starting on Thursday, October 27. Persons 12+ will be eligible from Thursday, November 03.

You must bring with you your vaccination card and a form of Identification (ID), and you must wear your mask while inside the clinic.

COVID-19 remains a reality for Sint Maarten. The disease has not gone away, and people are still falling ill.

The virus that causes COVID-19 has been changing over time into various variants. In order for the vaccine to be relevant and up-to-date and protect you from serious disease, Pfizer has come out with the bivalent COVID-19 vaccine booster dose.

The bivalent COVID-19 vaccines are different compared to previous doses in that it includes a component of the original virus strain to provide broad protection against COVID-19 and a component of the omicron variant to provide better protection against COVID-19 caused by the omicron variant.

These are called bivalent COVID-19 vaccines because they contain these two components. The bivalent COVID-19 vaccines may also be referred to as “updated” COVID-19 vaccines booster dose.

COVID-19 vaccines continue to help protect against severe illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19 disease. As the virus changes and your immunity naturally decreases over time, you may lose some of that protection, and therefore it is very important for you to get the latest booster. The booster jab should keep any symptoms mild and prevent you from ending up in the hospital.

For more information, you can call CPS 914, 542-1122 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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MP Emmanuel: VSA Minister must explain SMMC construction delay, letter of intent

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Independent Member of Parliament (MP) Christophe Emmanuel announced on Tuesday that he had sent a letter to the Minister of Public Health regarding the recently signed letter of intent (LOI) between SMMC and contractor FINSO. He called the development "amazing and embarrassing" in light of previous statements made by SMMC, FINSO, and the Minister as well as the fact that FINSO has not mentioned that hospitals it is building in other parts of the world are experiencing delays.

It should be plainly evident to the average observer and the people of St. Maarten that the government operates with no regard for its responsibility to be accountable and transparent to the people who elected it, that much is already known. Therefore, the continued delays with the hospital and airport projects should not come as a surprise to anyone; rather, they are just additional proof that this government is irreparably damaged, according to Emmanuel.

The MP was reacting to a “carefully crafted, cunning and misleading” press release from the government on Tuesday announcing that SMCC and FINSO recently signed an LOI “regarding the adjusted terms for the construction of St. Maarten General Hospital (SMGH) in the presence of Minister of VSA Omar Ottley, marking the next step in the continuation of the project.”

MP Emmanuel said that line is remarkable in two instances: First, it is misleading in the sense that it implies that the LOI is a planned “next step” in the construction of the hospital, which it is not. Secondly, he noted, the Minister of VSA who has always said that he is not part of the contractual business between SMMC and FINSO, has placed the government of St. Maarten firmly in a seat of contract negotiations between the two entities. He pointed out that this also confirms what MP Rolando Brison said on radio a few weeks ago that the Minister is aware of the financial situation surrounding the hospital project.

“So from now on, the Minister cannot use the excuse of not being privy to information, to not answer questions about the hospital. The obvious question is why was a LOI needed? Is this a financial issue or a supply issue? If only the latter, why a LOI? Is the project going to cost more or less? Has additional financing from the stakeholders been requested? If yes, how much and from whom? Is SZV giving more money? If yes, how much? The press release announced a new opening date for the new hospital of 2025. That means barring any other setbacks, it would have taken almost 10 years to construct a hospital on St. Maarten,” MP Emmanuel said, adding that FINSO is apparently not being held accountable for anything.

Additionally, the MP said, a (LOI) is a document outlining the general plans of an agreement between two or more parties before a legal agreement is finalized. It is not a contract, he said, it is problematic to legally enforce even if it should signify a serious commitment. “That alone begs many questions about what exactly has to be done by whichever party in order to formalize a binding contract. How long will that process take? The public should know what its government is signing them up for,” Emmanuel said.

He continued: “The Minister and SMMC keeps using the excuse of material supply issues due to the pandemic and now the war in Ukraine. In the meantime, other major projects on St. Maarten has started and completed, entire new airports in the region has started and completed, huge new commercial buildings on St. Maarten has started and completed, new hotels on neighboring islands has started and completed, new housing projects on other islands have started and completed. So how is it they didn’t suffer the same delays while going through the same pandemic and same war in Ukraine? How is it we have a hospital and an airport that is taking near a decade to start and complete?”

If you keep up with international news, you might be aware that FINSO employees recently staged a walkout due to their mounting worries about the future of the business. They stated that despite the company having three succeeding CEOs, none of them had offered a future employee plan. Additionally, they were troubled by the ongoing sale of FINSO assets. Following the statement of the CEO of the parent firm (Fincantieri Spa) that he intends to invest primarily and only in core business activities, their worries increased. For the benefit of those who are unaware, FINSO is a division (subsidiary) of the Fincantieri Spa Group, whose primary activity is shipbuilding. Has the VSA Minister sufficiently investigated this company's long-term viability,” Emmanuel asked.

The MP also questioned how FINSO can claim to have so many problems with constructing a small hospital on St. Maarten when in the last month alone, it has been contracted to execute a hospital project in Sardinia, Italy and will inaugurate another in Chile in 2023 which started in 2020 an continued throughout the pandemic. These hospitals, according to media reports in those countries, will have over 500 hospital beds, with one of the facilities being larger than 16 football fields.

“Those projects are flowing, how are they not affected by supply issues? Both of them are scheduled to be completed before 2025. But on St. Maarten, we are waiting almost 10 years a hospital that can fit umpteen times in the spaces those two will be constructed. Somebody please make this make sense,” Emmanuel said.

“First the airport is now up to 150 million with no explanation and delayed once more apparently, we are still waiting for clarification on that. Now SMMC barely got past the pouring of the foundation and we are left to wonder where has the approximate US $100 million the contractor has received thus far has gone; apparently, into the most expensive foundation in the world.”

“We get a press release with all sorts of innuendos about an increased workforce in January 2023 and renegotiation of terms. This from a company that has consistently failed to maintain and pay the workforce and subcontractors under its umbrella for the past few years. The Minister of VSA needs to explain to the public what these new terms of the LOI are, provide complete financial disclosure, and assure the people of St. Maarten that he is comfortable that this will finally end the embarrassment that is the hospital project once and for all. As usual once I get my answers I will inform the public since we cannot count on this government to recognize and fulfill its obligations to its citizens,” MP Emmanuel concluded.  

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PSG Prepares for Sustained Growth in Cargo Division. Employs First Female Crane Operator

PORT ST. MAARTEN – Port St. Maarten Group (PSG) is preparing for sustained growth of incoming cargo at the Captain David Quay located at the Dr. A.C. Wathey Cruise & Cargo Facility.

In the coming years, local construction and building sector indicators reveal a very active period with a number of projects continuing to come online in 2023 and beyond. The cargo sector is a vital part of the nation’s economy and hard and soft investments are needed.

Diana Nicholson is PSGs first female trainee crane operator. She started her training in August 2022 and has been working in the safety and security department at PSG since 2018, but from very young, always had an interest in operating heavy machinery.

Nicholson’s advice to young females is: “Don't limit yourself to what society tells you is best for you, especially when it is based on a gender stereotype. Follow your intuition, dream big and do not be afraid to pursue those dreams, and if your dreams don't scare you, then you're not dreaming big enough. Dream Bigger!”

Kimba Thomas is the second trainee crane operator who applied at PSG and was selected due to his number of years of experience operating heavy equipment for construction companies in St. Kitts & Nevis, England, Africa, Antigua, St. Lucia, and Sint Maarten.

PSG Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Alexander Gumbs said he is now very pleased to have a female form part of PSGs talented crane and cargo team. “We are always working to promote our staff to the next level as part of our business human resource development and instilling of organization citizenship.

“Our seasoned operators will be training the new recruits in the coming months testing and sharpening their operating capabilities. All operators will be going through additional training in the fourth quarter by certified technicians out of the U.S.,” PSG CEO Gumbs said on Tuesday.

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Leader of the US Party: Self-fulfilling Agendas over Principles seems to be the Order of the Day

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Leader of the United St. Maarten Party (US) Mrs. Pamela Gordon Carty in an invited comment said, “The Chair of Parliament should reflect 15 members of Parliament. It’s unfortunate to continuously see immaturity, power plays and politics taking precedence over running the country.”

“The position of Chairperson of Parliament is a position that is neutral and should be carried out with the outmost respect. Running a country is a serious matter and personal issues should not be intertwined with the execution of this task,” said Gordon - Carty. “The appointment of the chair is voted on by all members of parliament and not exclusively coalition members. It is unfortunate that with all the serious issues facing the country at this time, personal agendas and party politics is taking priority ahead of the people’s business,” continued Gordon -Carty.

Gordon-Carty weighed in on the very public spat between the Leader of the UPP, MP Rolando Brison and the Chair of Parliament MP Grisha Heyliger - Martin that has dominated the air ways and social media over the past few days.

“There is something seriously wrong with the NA /UPP union, the issues being debated, stem from a lack of principles. Principle positions seem to be applied as a matter of convenience and that has eroded the stability and integrity of the coalition.”

The USP leader lamented that ministers being falsely praised for the execution of task that they are appointed and paid to complete, and photo-ops with civil servants executing their duties, is not the definition of governing. “Deviating attention from the critical issues facing the country to non-existing achievements as a means of distracting the population from the sea of ongoing negative matters has been this coalition’s modus operandi lately.”

Gordon- Carty said, “Instead of focusing on wanting to be the longest sitting government the focus should be placed on upholding the constitution and achieving progress for the country. Fact is that no laws has been presented and passed by the coalition members of parliament other than the three laws that in effect hurt our people by decreasing their spending power and by extension stagnated the rebound of our economy. This government has failed the people and the coalition partners in parliament have failed to uphold the core principles of our constitution.”

“I am not impressed, but rather disappointed in the execution results of this government thus far, much more could have been and should be done,” said Gordon-Carty. “The lack of principles, integrity and transparency, sly behavior, cunning attitudes, and the falseness being displayed is unbecoming of true leadership. I am calling on the population to not lose hope, things can change, your constitutional rights can be upheld, and your life and living conditions will improve when you elect the USP slate of capable and committed candidates under my leadership and place them in the position to lead this country.”

Gordon-Carty pointed out what she termed as empty promises and nice talks currently being used to erase and account for all the mishaps, justifying the disappointing manner in which the people’s business has been handled thus far. “The best interest of the people does not describe what has transpired in the Jacobs cabinet. Emotionally misguiding the population by means of a reverse psychological approach of sympathy, pity and fake humility only adds insult to injury.”

“It is time for the NA/UPP coalition to show some maturity, accountability and respect towards those that placed them in their positions and the country as a whole. Your job is to uphold the core principles of the constitution, and work in the interest of the people, not misinterpret and use it in the best interest of your coalition. That approach is obviously flawed and has not produced any positive tangible results for the country. The turmoil and utter failures that have spawned out of that approach speaks for itself,” concluded Gordon - Carty.

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PSGs CEO Gumbs, Act. Minister of TEATT Ottley Met with Cruise Executives from Carnival Corp. Brands

PORT ST. MAARTEN – Port St. Maarten Group (PSG) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Alexander Gumbs and Acting Minister of Tourism & Economic Affairs Hon. Omar Ottley, recently met with a number of cruise executives in order to generate more business for the destination.

Carnival Corporation & plc as a long-term partner of PSG are working on positioning cruise ships from the nine brands which will create new opportunities for the destination for the upcoming cruise seasons.

Acting Minister of Tourism & Economic Affairs Hon. Omar Ottley stated, “Fruitful discussions were had with the Carnival Corporation & plc and Princess Cruises executives.

“The discussions with the executives were based around opportunities for additional calls for Princess Cruises which is looking to have a stronger presence in the Caribbean, and it is our goal to make sure St. Maarten remains at the forefront of the cruise industry.”

“Exciting times are ahead as we fine tune the details whereas a cruise port, we will pick-up more port calls from the Carnival group. The nine Carnival brands, eight of them currently visit the destination on an annual basis.

“Our deliberations also allowed us to connect with the President of Holland America Line Jan Swartz and President of Princess Cruises John Padgett,” PSG CEO Gumbs said on Tuesday.

Princess Cruises had an exclusive event for the unveiling of their most advanced ship to date the Sun Princess. During this event Gumbs and Minister Ottley had the opportunity to connect with Carnival Corporation & plc recently appointed CEO Josh Weinstein.

Sun Princess is a next-generation ship and is the first ship in the fleet to be powered by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). This cleaner burning fuel will significantly reduce air emissions and marine gasoil to minimize the cruise companies’ environmental footprint.

Gumbs said that the discussion with Padgett had a strong note to the Environmental goals outlined by the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) 2030 carbon vision.

Gumbs added that PSG has been strengthening its compliance department which has been transitioning to include Environment, Social & Governance (ESG) principles aligned with the recently completed high level vision plan.

Sun Princess is the third ship to be honored with the Sun Princess® name, adding to the legacy of the first ship sailing from 1974 to 1988 and the second ship sailing from 1995 to 2020. At that time, she had the largest number of balcony cabins and the cruise companies’ first 24-hour cafe.

Sun Princess embarks on its inaugural cruise in 2024. The vessel will weigh in at 175,500 tons with an overall length of 1,133 feet. The next-generation ship will have 2,150 guest cabins and have a guest capacity of 4,300.

“Weinstein during our discussions showed full confidence in the cruise industry where it concerns its full return and benefits for the industry and destinations,” PSG CEO Gumbs pointed out.

Carnival Corporation & plc is the world’s largest leisure travel company with 92 ships sailing under nine cruise brands including Princess Cruises, famously known as the line of the Love Boat, and Cunard which built the world’s biggest ocean liner at the time, Queen Mary 2.

Carnival Corporation & plc’s 120,000 employees worldwide serve more than 13 million guests a year.

Carnival Cruise Line is the company’s biggest brand with 22 ships, operating 1,500 voyages annually, calling on ports from Cozumel to Ketchikan. The fleet’s largest ship, Panorama, can accommodate 4,008 guests.

The company’s portfolio of global cruise line brands includes Holland America Line, Seabourn, P&O Cruises (Australia), Costa Cruises, AIDA Cruises, and P&O Cruises (UK). Carnival Corporation also operates Holland America Princess Alaska Tours, the leading tour company in Alaska and the Canadian Yukon.

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MP Wescot: Time to renegotiate the cuts in workers’ benefits comprehensively

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The government is expecting that its proposal of law to sanction its unlawful act of paying out vacation allowance will be passed by Parliament on Monday, Member of Parliament (MP) Sarah Wescot Williams said in a press statement on Sunday evening.

“As can be recalled the government paid out vacation allowance in June to civil servants.  There is currently a law in place that cancels the vacation allowance payment, as well as reduces vacation days and overtime payments”, MP Wescot Williams explains. 

The government has found all types of arguments to cover up the fact that it acted against the law, but its argument regarding its legal right to do so without the approval of parliament is really neither here nor there. 

No one can contest the fact that the annual vacation allowance payment is very much appreciated by civil servants and for varying reasons. Arguments such as persons needing to pay school fee and get school stuff etcetera are valid and definitely not overstated. 

“That many people on Sint Maarten are hurting is also not an exaggeration. I experience it every single day.”

In the view of the MP, the government needed to inform parliament of its intentions, provide a financial overview, and ask for parliament’s approval to go ahead and pay out the vacation allowance in the absence of a legal basis. 

MP Wescot emphasized, “They did not!  They paid out the vacation allowance and now want the parliament to approve this law retroactively. Even now the government has not provided the financial paragraph for this payment, and I have in the past addressed the ambiguous situation with respect to the CFT’s (Ed. Committee of Financial Supervision for Curacao and Sint Maarten) advice on the matter. 

But even more concerning is how the government is handling or rather not handling the 12 ½ percent cut in the salaries of the other workers. Other workers meaning those who work for semi-government institutions. The cutting of the salaries of the other workers is part of the law that maximizes the so-called top incomes.  The government, on instructions of the Dutch government, has amended the so-called top incomes law, but went only as far as amending the law to meet the requirements of the Dutch government, explained MP Wescot. 

‘While the Prime Minister is pushing to get the law passed to cover their tracks of paying out vacation allowance to civil servants without the required parliamentary approval or authorization, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance are seemingly on a campaign to fix (for the lack of a better word) the payment of vacation allowance to the other workers, such as teachers employed by school boards and many others.” 

Again, it seems to be expected of parliament to sit back and wait and see when and how the government will deal with the top incomes law and address how school board employees and others will get the relief that civil servants got through the payment of vacation allowance. 

The top incomes law as far as it relates to the 12 ½% cut in salary benefits states that every institution that applied the law should publicize how. To give an example, if school board X chose to apply the 12 ½ percent cut by amongst others not paying vacation allowance and for the rest cut other benefits, school board X should make that known. 

“Up to now, I as a member of parliament have no information as to how any semi-government institution has complied with the law”. 

“Some might have cut the vacation allowance of their workers, others might have not, and I have stated from day one that the rationale behind a 12 ½ percent cut in workers’ benefits at the time when this was demanded and done, was flawed economic reasoning. This should therefore be undone as soon as possible for all workers, in its entirety.” 

To facilitate this, the parliament of Sint Maarten in approving the laws labeled temporary, gave the government the authority to cancel these laws by a decision of the government, formalized in a national decree. To undo both laws that slashed workers benefits with 12 ½%, the government has the mandate to do so by national decree. 

“Rather than muddying the waters with actions by individual ministers, the COM (Ed Council of Ministers) should collectively make a strong case for reinstating the workers’ benefits that I maintain were imposed on Sint Maarten more out of frustration with the government’s actions towards The Hague than any sound economic arguments”, MP Wescot concluded.

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TV15 keeps the ball rolling with launch of SXM Sports on TelTV+

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - Well-known sports commentators and sports personalities, Herbert Martina and Dennisio Duzong are the latest addition of TV15’s line up of locally produced and aired broadcasts from the channel’s Orion Production Studio, Backstreet.

The pair are teaming up for the weekly sports program, SXM Sports, with the aim of touching on all the major sporting events and developments on St. Maarten in the past seven day.

The premier episode of SXM Sports will be aired at 8:30 pm this Friday evening, formal introductions from presenter, Mr. Martina, and reporter, Mr. Duzong.

The pair will give a wrap up of some of the sporting events that have recently taking place and other events that are coming up. The program will be re-broadcast the following day, Saturday, at 1:30 pm for those who may have missed the earlier broadcast.

Program producers say on the show tonight, some important local sports personalities will be featured and some interesting insights will be given into the development of local sports generally. There insights will be a regular feature.

Earlier in the week, TV15 launched a local news program that is being aired each evening. Producers say with the addition of the SXM Sports each week, more attention can be given to impressive sporting achievements that are up to now going unnoticed on St. Maarten.

TV15 operator, Mr. Ricardo William, predicts a strong following for Mr. Martina and Mr. Duzong, both of whom are themselves involved in sports. Mr. Martina lists Basketball amongst his favorite participating sports while Mr. Duzong is more comfortable in cycling pursuits. Both have commentated on live sporting events on St. Maarten and are equally at ease covering and speaking about all sports activities.

“In the opening program, SXM Sports will be touching on a number of sports, including softball, basketball with a very special mention in swimming, that everyone should watch out for in terms of the mark our sportsmen and women are making not only here on St. Maarten, but overseas as well,” said Ricardo.

Ricardo says the 30-minutes broadcast is powered by TelEm via TelTV+ and the Sports Department.

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SHTA Beach cleaner Project Used as Regional Best Practice by CHTA

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - In a regional digital conference organized by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) this today Thursday pertaining to the regional challenge of Sargassum seaweed, St. Maarten's efforts were highlighted by means of a best practice panel. The country received regional acclaim for its multi-partner Beach cleaner project spearheaded by the St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association (SHTA).

SHTA's secretary and Beach cleaner Foundation President Ricardo Perez was invited to be part of a multi-island panel discussing solutions to the seasonal influx of Sargassum seaweed. This natural phenomenon is not just a challenge for the beach tourism dependent regional economy, but also to its biodiversity. In addition, the Foundation coordinates educational sessions from time to time with the equipment operators and others providing information about turtle nesting protection and awareness.

The Beach Cleaning Foundation’s President Mr. Perez gave a presentation conferring how St. Maarten has been combating the Sargassum issue since the beach cleaner’s arrival in 2021.

In the wake of hurricane Irma (2017), SHTA commenced a fundraising campaign to acquire a beach cleaning machine. In conjunction with the St. Maarten Nature Foundation, procedures were developed to make sure the truck would safeguard St. Maarten nature to the best of its ability. 

Donations of ANWB the Netherlands, Rotary Club of St. Maarten, Rotary Mid Isle, Port St. Maarten and owners of Oyster Bay Beach Resort and Coral Club made it possible to achieve the milestone of securing the machine. For this special cause, producer Kässbohrer Geländefahrzeug AG (Germany) generously supported the acquisition as well.

Several of the aforementioned partners founded a not-for-profit Beach cleaner Foundation making the Cherrington 5500 beach cleaning machine available for island wide use. For this cause, Windward Roads continues to offer transport and personnel for any entity desiring the Beach Cleaner for a full day of operations at cost price. 

For more information about the beach-cleaner please contact SHTA at +1 (721) 542-0108.

shta beach cleaner at work

 

 

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