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WITU hosted a successful Zumba event

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - President of the Windward Islands Teachers Union (WITU) Stuart Johnson expressed his profound appreciation to everyone that attended the first WITU Zumba event hosted for its members and the community. 

The WITU Zumba Event was held on the Boardwalk on Saturday Morning. 

"I wish to thank everyone that showed up as we celebrated World Health Day and continue with our variety of activities in the WITU calendar of events," Johnson stated. 

Minerva Marlin-Cooper, the Assistant Secretary General of WITU, led the special Zumba Activity.

Johnson singled out the U 2 Can Move group, which came out massively on early Saturday morning in support. 

"We will continue to bring a variety of activities throughout the year for our WITU members besides being an unbreakable pillar of support for our members," Johnson concluded.

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Ruby Labega Primary School gets a new outdoor water cooler

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On April 5th, 2022, the Rotary Club of Sint Maarten- Mid Isle, handed over the newly installed water cooler at the Ruby Labega Primary School. This was to coincide with Rotary’s Theme for the month March: “Water and Sanitation”.

During the month of March, we are celebrating our commitment to create healthier communities by supplying clean water and sanitation facilities to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. Through water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) programs, Rotary’s people of action mobilize resources, form partnerships, and invest in infrastructure and training that yield long-term change.

Present at the presentation were President- Elect Quincy Lont and Treasurer Tony Da Cunha. Representing the Ruby Labega Primary School were Adjunct Principal Mrs. Gustina- Lake and some students.

The staff and students from the Ruby Labega Primary School expressed their gratitude for the much-needed water cooler.

The Rotary Club of Sint Maarten- Mid Isle would like to wish the staff and the students from the Ruby Labega Primary School much enjoyment with their newly installed water cooler and hope that they can enjoy a healthy lifestyle by drinking clean water for several years to come.

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SCDF rolls out massive Soulful Company lineup

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF), in collaboration with its sponsor Motorworld, unveiled the lineup for its “Soulful Company” concert on Wednesday filled with international and local artists that only spiked the excitement of Carnival loves on social media throughout the day.

Soulful Company, a concert focused on R&B/Soul from the US and the Caribbean, along with Hip-Hop elements, will be held on Monday, April 25 in Carnival Village. It will feature four international recording artists and five of St. Maarten’s best young vocalists.

Taking the stage that night will be R&B crooner Ginuwine, reality star and rapper Trina, who will make her first appearance in St. Maarten, Grammy Award Winning Hype Man Fat Man Scoop and the prince of Caribbean Soul Romain Virgo. Complimenting this headlining group will be local vocalists Malaika Maxwell, Tamillia, Keila Michelle, Kenyo and Roxsy with her band.

“This is a brand, a concert that we have worked hard to develop,” the SCDF said. “We want to present a Carnival product with something for everyone and we are happy with the support that this growing event has been receiving. This lineup features great international entertainers with successful track records and our best local vocalists. It will be an amazing event,” the SCDF said.

Tickets for Soulful Company are available in advance at Van Dorp and Levi’s on the French side for US $25. The ticket price will increase to $40 the week of the show and at the gate.  

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Fat Man

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Virgo

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Ginuwine

 

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SZV SUBMITS 2023 DRAFT BUDGET

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The 2023 draft budget of Social & Health Insurances SZV was submitted to Minister of VSA, Omar Ottley on March 31st, 2022, before the deadline of April 1, as stipulated in the law. Director of SZV, Glen A. Carty presented the budget to the Minister, which sets an important tone on the future of SZV, and the sustainability of the health care funds.

“Given the fact that the healthcare reserves are in a dire state, the evident economic stagnation, insured health care needs and health care environment, a more direct approach to improvement was sought. The core of the budget is the new ‘Beyond 3.0.’ strategic plan of SZV, which is translated in the proposed performance agreement of the Director of SZV.

Besides sustainable funds, the revamping of the business processes, digitizing workflows, enhanced customer solutions, empowering staff, and SZV’s own office building, also find a place in the updated strategic plan. These activities are being executed, optimized, and monitored in our three-year Transition Program. Every employee of SZV will have a role to play in the future of SZV.” – Director SZV, Mr. Glen A. Carty

Notwithstanding SZV’s continued efforts to find new and more efficient ways of doing business, the need for health reform remains an important attention point due to the fact that the current situation of the healthcare funds is financially not sustainable.

SZV and the Government of St. Maarten, with the required cooperation of various stakeholders, are establishing strategies that can minimize structural shortages within the upcoming years.

The budget includes a multi-annual projection prepared for all the funds, including the general operations, which runs through 2028. As such, the forecasted budget includes, the automation of the healthcare and premium systems, investment in collection compliance projects, (outdated) legislation reviews and proposed amendments, increased wage limits, medical referral cost savings, and the pharmaceuticals savings project, to name a few.

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Minister Ottley to request the COM to approve the indexation of the hourly minimum wage

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor (Ministry VSA) Omar Ottley found it necessary to index the minimum hourly wage for the period 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2021. This decision was based on the fact that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) has increased over those years without the minimum hourly wage being adapted accordingly.

This long-standing loss of purchasing power has affected particularly those workers earning the minimum wage, who have been struggling to keep up with the rising costs of living.

Prior to taking this decision, the Minister requested and received advice from the SER on the matter. Minister Ottley has signed off the advice for the indexation of the minimum wage and will now seek the approval from the Council of Ministers.

If the advice is approved by the Council of Ministers (COM), it will then be submitted to the Council of Advice to render their advice.

The public at large will be duly informed when the one-time increase will go into effect.

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Sint Maarten Lions Club Improves the Lives of Six persons through Eyeglasses

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Since 1925, Lions Clubs worldwide have been improving the quality of life for visually impaired persons in their communities through their vision-related programs. The Sint Maarten Lions Club is no different as they continue to promote the recycling of used eyeglasses, free eye exams (conducted during past Health Fairs), and contributions towards the cost of new eyeglasses.

Just recently, the Club donated funds to six persons of different ages to assist them in purchasing their much-needed eyeglasses.  

Sint Maarten Lions Club President, Lion Linette A. Gibs: “We are serving from the heart with kindness, knowing that these six persons are able to see better and go about their daily lives with a clearer vision. Improved eyesight makes a huge difference, whether it may be attending school or going to work or retired seniors just simply wanting to enjoy reading or looking at a movie.”

Collaboration with three Optical locations on the Dutch side of the island, namely SXM Optical located on Walter J. Nisbet Road, The Vision Center on Bush Road, and All Your Glasses on Union Road, was crucial in ensuring quick turnaround time for appointments and eye testing procedures for these six persons.

Through fundraising activities – including the Father’s Day Car Raffle slated to be drawn on June 19th, 2022 – the Sint Maarten Lions Club is able to allocate proceeds towards Vision Projects, Youth Development Programs, Senior Citizens Recreational Activities, as well as Food Basket Distribution to persons in need of support.

Club President Linette A. Gibs continued: “We trust that the community continues to support our Fundraising Initiatives like the Car Raffle which provides resources for our Club to keep on serving our community at large through meaningful Projects that positively impact the lives of many. We appreciate and value your support through our 51 years of existence. I take this opportunity to also thank The Vision Center, SXM Optical, and All Your Glasses for their prompt, efficient delivery of service to these six persons and their continued commitment to our joint Vision efforts.”

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NV GEBE Updates the Community and encourages its customers to continue making payments

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - In full transparency, NV GEBE informed the general public on March 17, 2022, that it experienced a cyber-attack caused by the “BlackByte” ransomware, which unfortunately impacted its computer systems, NV GEBE said in a press statement on Thursday evening.

NV GEBE is currently in the midst of both an active investigation and an incident response phase. Therefore, NV GEBE is not in a position to provide any detailed information on the matter at this point in time.

Please be advised that all efforts are focused on minimizing the impact of this situation and bringing our computer systems back online. Our electrical and water distribution networks were not impacted and thus NV GEBE will continue to serve you the community of St. Maarten.

Unfortunately, this is not a rapid process. NV GEBE appreciates your continuous understanding and patience while we diligently work to bring our systems back online.

NV GEBE recognizes the concerns of the public regarding payment of bills with GEBE being close. While the offices remain closed, we encourage our customers who use online banking system to make payment via online banking or via direct deposit. When doing so, please ensure that your contract account number is included in the transaction so payment can be applied to the correct account holder. Once our system is up and running again, we will verify your payment (s) and you will receive your receipt(s) via email as is customary.

Please note the above mention is only for those that pay via their banking system, as the NV GEBE MyLogin is still inaccessible.

NV GEBE's Temporary Establish Way of Working

Application Move in / Move out

  • Customers who want to close their accounts can come to our office with a copy of a bill,

ID and letter requesting termination of Account.

  • Customers who are moving from one location to another can come to our office fill in

the application form and bring along an old bill.

  • Customers requesting a new connection can come into our office and fill out the

application form.

  • Customers who would like to make an installment plan can come into our customer

service office, Philipsburg, bring along ID and old bill. 

Payments

  • If you have been disconnected, you can make payment online. Please state your name

on the bill or your contract Acct Number. Bring / send us proof of Payment via our

WhatsApp number 5883117 or go to our live chat and send us proof of payment. You

will be reconnected.

  • If a customer would like to make payment for a bill, they can also go online and make

payment, or go into the Bank and make payment. (This only applies to customers who use online banking)

  • Customers who have not received a bill and would like to make payment, we are

advising you to make a payment of your estimated monthly amount online.

Our Help Desk and Customer Care can be reached on 1 721 546 1100 / 5461160 or via WhatsApp message or direct call on 588 3117 with regards to the services mention above.

NV GEBE encourages its customers to continue making payments as we gear back to normalcy.

Interim Manager, Merrill Temmer thanks the employees of NV GEBE for their hard work and dedication to the company. He further stated that many organizations are becoming increasingly vulnerable to cyberattacks that can inflict extensive damage which we at NV GEBE have experienced and would like to remind the business community to remain vigilant.

Once again, we thank the customers for their patience and understanding and assure you that we are doing our best and working expeditiously to restore normalcy to the company.

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Johnson points to no agreement with Government and WITU

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - President of the Windward Islands Teachers Union (WITU) Stuart Johnson revealed his position on the proposed cost-cutting measures which are affecting the working class of St. Maarten, Johnson said in a media statement on Tuesday.  

"It seems there have been a lot of discussions and ad hoc decisions but there is no agreement solidified with WITU,” Johnson said.  

The WITU President submitted a correspondence addressed to Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs outlining WITU's firm stance.  

"While I am appreciative that the base salary of our members and by extension all workers involved remains, the fact is we have no solid agreement on the other proposals," he said. 

In Johnson’s letter dated Tuesday, March 29th, 2022, six questions were asked to the Prime Minister,

  1. What is the projected duration for the proposed cost-cutting measures?
  2. Is the proposed cost-cutting measures only applicable for 2020 and 2021 as the Government of St. Maarten has indicated no liquidity support from The Netherlands is required for 2022? 
  3. Are you open to a formal agreed position with WITU for the handling of the vacation allowances of 2020, 2021, and all subsequent years?
  4. Are there other measures such as increasing of taxes or conditions that will directly impact our membership? If so, please indicate what are those measures and their respective duration? 
  5. What is the update regarding the outstanding Cost of Living Adjustment 2012 to present Payment? 
  6. What does the COHO Country Package for Education entail? 

Johnson noted that, "the ongoing proposed cost-cutting measures are having an effect of monumental proportions which is negatively impacting the quality of education for our students."  

He continued, "I recoil in fear on the deep impact these proposed cost-cutting measures will continue to have if there is no solid conclusion or true empathy to the people of St. Maarten.”  

The WITU President further stated; "If you continue to devalue educators and stifle the working class there will be no middle class anymore." 

In reiterating his position, Johnson declared, “I remain deeply concerned about the quality of education for our students and the welfare of our educators as these proposed cost-cutting measures continue to directly have an impact on our country.”

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NAGICO and Lions Club team up with local author for Book Drive

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - NAGICO Insurances donated 100 copies of a children’s book to the Lions Club, for their Book Drive, which is aimed at encouraging and developing a love for reading amongst our youngest readers, under the theme: “Readers Make Great Leaders”.

NAGICO was excited to be part of this project, as we believe reading is fundamental and helps to develop a person’s imagination and creativity.

“Reading helps to expand, shape and sharpen our minds, so instilling this in our children at an early age will help to spark an interest and encourage them to develop a love for reading,” NAGICO said in a Press Release. “When approached with this project, we decided to use the opportunity, to support one of our local authors in the process.”

The recently published Children’s book, Nuri’s Super Dad was written local author, Roy ‘Quinton’ Marlin.

“This is my first book, I have always wanted to write a book but never knew just how to get started,” he explained. “I was inspired and guided by another local author and was able to draw reference from my own personal experiences with my daughter, who is also the main character.”

Teacher Betty Ellis, who was the coordinator of this project congratulated Marlin on his accomplishment and thanked NAGICO for their continuous contributions.

“We approached several businesses to partner with us on this Book Drive because especially as an educator, we see more and more how important it is for children to be introduced to reading and education at an early age,” she said. “NAGICO did not hesitate or need any convincing to partner with us and we would like to thank them for this. We are also proud of that we can also use this opportunity to showcase and inspire our own local talents, because this also is proof to children everywhere, that you can do anything you put your mind to.”

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Interactive map for Sint Maarten Launched by SHOWME

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - During the SMILE event on Sint Maarten, SHOWME Caribbean launched the interactive map for Sint Maarten. The map is an online presentation of the island of Sint Maarten and shows hotels, activities, restaurants, and a lot more.

The map lets visitors explore the island pre-visit and during their stay on a mobile version. A unique feature is the ‘insta-hotspots’ pin which shows the best place to take a good Instagram photo. The map is free and can be found on www.showmestmaarten.com

SHOWME Caribbean presented the map during SMILE, an SHTA conference for innovation and sustainability, to the Sint Maarten Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication​​​​ Roger Lawrence​ as well as to May Ling Chun, director of the Sint Maarten Tourism Bureau.

The map is a gift to the island because one of the founders of the SHOMWE Caribbean, Jacco Steffens, is from Sint Maarten. The company will produce more interactive maps for Sint Maarten, they are currently working on a map for Philipsburg.

The interactive map, also iMap, is built for tourism purposes. Like Google maps, the pins on the map indicate where a hotel, activity or marina is located and when clicked it shows a picture, text and information.

Other than Google Maps this map selects only tourism spots and extends the experience with aerial 360 photos and videos. Businesses not shown on the map can register via a form on the map. The imap will be featured on websites offering services on Sint Maarten as an extra feature on their website.

The mobile version, including GPS location, will help visitors to explore the island during their visit. By selecting favorites, tourists can preselect the activities and hotspots they want to visit.

Soon, the map will also be available in hotel lobbies on kiosks as shown on SMILE as a service to hotel guests.

The interactive map of Sint Maarten can be found on www.showmestmaarten.com.

 

 

 

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