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Festival Village Renamed after National Cultural Icon Jocelyn Arndell

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Sint Maarten’s Carnival Festival Village on Pond Island has been renamed, the Jocelyn Arndell Festival Village, after the person who contributed significantly to the identity, development, and progression of Sint Maarten’s culture.

On Tuesday evening May 3rd, 2022, during a ceremonial launch, the unveiling of the Jocelyn Arndell Festival Village sign took place at the entrance of the Festival Village.

The event which was hosted by the Honorable Minister of VROMI Mr. Egbert Jurendy Doran, also saw in attendance His Excellency the Governor of Sint Maarten, Drs. Eugene Holiday, Honorable Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs, Chairlady of Parliament Grisha Heyliger-Marten, Honorable Minister of Education Culture Youth and Sport Drs. Rodolphe Samuel, Honorable Minister of Finance Ardwell Irion, Honorable President of the Collectivity Louis Mussington, Chair of Parliament Aruba and Curacao as well as Members of these respective Parliaments, Mrs. Ingrid Arndell, wife of the late Jocelyn Arndell and family, other invited family and friends of the late J. Arndell, St. Maarten Government Buildings Foundation SOG President Kurt Ruan and St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation President Alston Lourens.

The event started with words of welcome by the MC for the evening Mr. Fernando Clark, followed by a prayer by Mr. Harold Richardson.

This was followed by the Sint Maarten Song which was rendered by Mr. Leroy Brooks, known as King Beau Beau.

A heartwarming tribute was rendered by the Honorable Minister of VROMI Egbert Jurendy Doran.

In his speech, the Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure (VROMI) Egbert Doran highlighted Arndell’s hard work, dedication, and contributions in his function as a Civil Servant as well as towards the cultural development of Sint Maarten often going above and beyond the call of duty to serve his country.

The Minister stated that in 1970 Mr. Jocelyn Arndell and his team were the initiators of the cultural village and festivities that have brought us to where we are today in terms of it being Sint Maarten’s largest cultural festivity.

Minister Doran who quoted the late Martin Luther King’s words: “Everybody can be great because everybody can serve” and also encouraged everyone to play their role in serving Sint Maarten.

“If Mr. Jocelyn Arndell had not served, we would not be standing here today,” the Minister stated.

One of the biggest highlights of the evening was the crowd-moving renditions given by four (4) surviving members of the Tanny and the Boys band, of which Mr. Arndell who loved music with a passion was a member for decades where he played the guiro, the marimba, and the accordion.

Representing the family, Mr. Arndell’s son Everard (Ebby) Arndell, stated that his father, although--not seeking any--received various recognitions and awards throughout his lifetime, but that the naming the Festival Village in his honor, was like “lighting the candle on top of his cake.”

He expressed his gratitude to Minister Doran and the team and stated that if he had the opportunity to tell his father that the Festival Village was named after him, his father would have asked him “which great mind came up with that idea?”

The evening continued with more speeches and encouraging words given by The Honorable Minister Samuel, Mr. Kurt Ruan, and Mr. Alston Lourens.

During the unveiling of the sign that stated “Jocelyn Arndell Festival Village”, a beautiful rendition by Mr. Isidore York and Dow’s Musical Foundation was given.

The event closed off with a rendition by King Beau Beau with his song Sint Maarten Sweet, together with the Flag Lady Aishira Cecilia, who was joined by Roadmarch Queen Singing Olivia, Groovy Soca King Magicx, and the 2022 reigning Carnival Queens Talya Panthophlet and Doraniya Pascal.

The Honorable Minister Egbert Jurendy Doran wishes to thank the Council of Ministers, his Cabinet, the Secretary of VROMI and his Team, the family of Mr. Jocelyn Arndell, all participants in the program, and all who made it possible for the event to have been an astounding success.

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350,000+ Cruise Passengers for First Four Months of 2022. Ship Occupancy Increasing for Slow Months

PORT ST. MAARTEN – So far for 2022, Port St. Maarten has catered to 350,507 cruise guests who visited the destination via 282 cruise ship calls for the first four months – January to April - of the year.

Port St. Maarten Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Alexander Gumbs said on Thursday that the cruise industry continues to deal with the challenges brought on by COVID-19 and now more recently high energy costs attributed to a combination of global economic factors, supply chain issues and the war between Russia and Ukraine.

“We remain confident for the coming months as we approach the slow season. As we enter this period, multiple cruise ships are being scrapped or sold thereby limiting the tonnage in the Caribbean Basin.

“Our performance has been positive. Occupancy onboard cruise ships have been slowly increasing as more people decide to take a cruise in the coming months. In comparison with figures for the first quarter of this year, cruise ship occupancy levels were hovering around 45 per cent, but we have been experiencing an average of above 75 per cent, and currently some vessels are already nearing 100 per cent occupancy.

“We continue to remain focused and planning in a strategic manner along with the cruise industry and other stakeholders as we overcome the challenges that we all have been confronted with for the past two+ years.

“By August 2022, according to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), all cruise lines who are members of CLIA should have their ships back in operation. This is also good for St. Maarten as it can translate into more cruise ship calls to the island in the coming months leading into the 2022-2023 high season,” PSG CEO Alexander Gumbs said on Thursday.

In January the island received 92,491 guests and 88 cruise ship calls; February 82,233 and 79 calls; March 116,773 and 72 calls; and April 59,010 and 43 calls. In 2021, the destination received 243,450 cruise guests and 383 cruise ship calls.

CLIA, the leading organization that represents the global cruise community in its Cruise Industry 2022 Outlook Report, said that CLIA ocean-going cruise lines have welcomed more than six million guests onboard since resuming operations in July 2020.

“Cruise tourists, and the money they spend, create jobs and opportunities for local communities around the world. Every 24 cruisers create one fill-time equivalent job. Cruisers spend an average of US$750 per passenger in port cities over the course of a typical seven-day cruise. Six in 10 people who have taken a cruise say that they have returned to a destination that they first visited via cruise ship.” - CLIA

The cruise industries leading public health protocols have facilitated the resumption of cruise tourism around the world, which has put people back to work and reinvigorating local and national cruise tourism economies.

CLIA says more than 75 per cent of ocean-going member capacity of cruise ships have returned to service and taking guests to destinations around the world. Nearly 100 per cent of cruise ships are projected to be in operation by August 2022.

CLIA ocean-going member cruise lines are projected to debut 16 new cruise ships in 2022, including five LNG-powered vessels and nine expedition ships.

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Divi Little Bay and Oceans at Divi Little Bay joins volunteer.sx to facilitate volun-tourism

SINT MAARTEN (LITTLE BAY) - As part of its ongoing Divi Cares initiative, Divi Resorts is proud to announce that Divi Little Bay Beach Resort and Oceans at Divi Little Bay on St. Maarten have joined forces with social initiative platform www.volunteer.sx (a program of St. Maarten Development Fund (SMDF) and NPOwer) and Pack for a Purpose, an organization aids travelers to make a difference in the local community by saving room in their suitcase for needed supplies.

This joint effort have as its first beneficiaries New Start for Children Foundation, a local foster home for children, and SECDA, the umbrella organization of St. Maarten’s independent daycare centers. To see what supplies are needed and join to help, island visitors can visit either of these portals: www.packforapurpose.org/destinations/caribbean/sint-maarten/divi-little-bay-beach-resort or https://www.volunteer.sx/o/Divi-Little-Bay-Beach-Resort-Sint-Maarten.

“This addition to volunteer.sx, St. Maarten’s national volunteer bank, is part of our strategy to offer visitors a structured way to get involved with building and supporting our island. We have seen over the years that visitors are no longer just interested in sun, sand and sea but want to leave a positive impact. This joint effort offers visitors the chance to give to worthwhile initiatives on St. Maarten. We are staunch advocates for working together, building on the strengths of each other in the nonprofit organization NPO sector that is why we reached out to internationally established Pack for a Purpose,” said NPOwer’s Jose Sommers.

“Pack for a Purpose is thrilled to welcome Divi Resorts as a participant on our website,” said Rebecca Rothney, Founder and Chairperson for Pack for a Purpose. “We are also delighted to be adding a new country, the island nation of St. Maarten. We are honored to promote the wonderful work that they do in their community.”

Pack for a Purpose is a non-profit organization that positively impacts communities around the world by assisting travelers who want to take meaningful contributions to the destinations they visit. The supply lists for destinations on packforapurpose.org are provided directly by the local community-based projects that receive and use the supplies, enabling travelers to make informed decisions and take items that meet the needs of those who will be using them.

“It’s an easy way to make a huge difference! We’re asking travelers to save a little space in their suitcases for some much-needed supplies. Once you arrive at the resort, all you have to do is drop those items off at the front desk and you’re done. It’s that simple,” said Divi Little Bay Beach Resort and Oceans at Divi Little Bay on St. Maarten General Manager Anne-Marie Brooks. “We’ve worked with the New Start for Children Foundation many times in the past, so we’re overjoyed to have another opportunity to support this wonderful cause. Plus, SECDA is another great organization that supports children in our community by providing opportunities for them to thrive and learn in pre and afterschool programs.”

“It’s easy to donate and you’ll make a priceless impact in the lives of local children and families,” said Marco Galaverna, President & COO of Divi Resorts. “To help travelers choose St. Maarten as a destination, we’re offering 30% off both Divi Little Bay and our newly launched Oceans at Divi Little Bay.”

From now until June 1, 2022, vacationers can take advantage of these discounted rates for travel throughout 2022:

  • Divi Little Bay Beach Resort, St. Maarten – $209 per night (room only), $226 per person, per night (all-inclusive)
  • Oceans at Divi Little Bay, St. Maarten – $249 per night (room only), $250 per person, per night (all-inclusive)

To check availability, travelers can visit www.diviresorts.com/specials or use promo code 30OFF. Reservations can also be made by calling 1-800-367-3484 (toll-free) or 1-919-419-3484 (international).

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MP Sarah Wescot-Williams breaks down the COHO proposal ahead of IPKO

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - When the Inter-parliamentary Kingdom Consultations (IPKO) discussions get underway this Wednesday, the elephant in the room will be the draft consensus Kingdom law to establish a body for reform and development for the three Caribbean Dutch countries of Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten, the COHO, Member of Parliament (MP) Sarah Wescot Williams said on Monday in a media statement.

MP Wescot quickly adds, “Not to say that the topic will not be tabled. The draft COHO law is subject of debate in the tripartite meeting of the 3 Caribbean countries on Tuesday, as it will be in the 4-party IPKO meetings.”

The parliaments of the four countries are all at different stages of handling this law, with all eyes however on the Second and First chambers, as this is where the votes will eventually fall.

“In essence the question is, are the parliaments for or against the present draft; what are they against and what if there is no consensus to be reached?”

Some proponents of the law or parts of the law, equate this COHO law with much needed reforms. Others see in the law the materialization finally of much needed developments.

It is from this premise that MP Wescot addresses the draft COHO law.

In the MP’s opinion, the origin of the COHO construct was not one to aid in the development of the countries. It was “plain and simple a way to push through a plethora of matters via a (new) type of higher supervision.”

“We have seemingly forgotten that the forerunner of the COHO was the CHE, the Caribbean Reform Entity, an entity that would supervise and report on the agreed upon reforms, that initially even included the infrastructure of the country, which was later rescinded”, MP Wescot stated.

“The CHE was strongly opposed to, as its infringements on the constitutional order of the Dutch Kingdom were as glaring as day. All this taking place in a strained political environment between Kingdom partners and this strained political environment was exacerbated by the Covid 19 pandemic that had all 4 countries in its grip.

It must be said though, that for emergency relief, especially in the health area, the Netherlands sprang into action towards its smaller Kingdom partners without hesitation.

“While it is a well-known fact that the initial reform entity was rejected based on its far-reaching usurpation of the countries’ responsibilities and autonomy, the spirit of this construct has however remained in the COHO.”

The country packages were agreed upon between the Netherlands and the respective countries via the mutual agreement format of article 38, sub 1 of the Kingdom charter. This type of agreements, which has become all too common, escapes parliamentary scrutiny and their use needs to be revisited, in the opinion of the MP.

“The Sint Maarten government pussyfooted around this entire matter, with different parts of the ruling government on completely opposite trajectories, leading to some very embarrassing moments, such as partially denying the UN petition filed on behalf of the parliament of Sint Maarten, the embarrassing moments in the Kingdom Council of Ministers’ meetings.”

“Most recently in a closed-door technical meeting with the Prime Minister in attendance, parliament was told how well St. Maarten did in defending its position, only to be followed by a public central committee meeting where we heard again how the government’s hands were twisted to arrive at a consensus between the 4 governments.”

Who can be against reforms, right?

But in the opinion of MP Wescot, “the country package is a far cry from a national reform agenda based on goals and objectives and priorities. The country package is a hodgepodge of reform areas, some urgently needed, others desirous, yet others demanded from us and then some random actions, without any motivation or prioritization.”

“The COHO project is a clever way to force the hands of the governments of the ACS countries. It is a form of higher supervision without the legalities for higher supervision and this in my view does not contribute to sustainability”, MP Wescot adds.

“I foresee major issues when it gets to the financing of the reform packages, without a clear financial picture from the side of the COHO. Not to mention the further negative development of our debt position.

While it is true that in the country package some long-stalled agreed upon reforms (e.g., tax reform and financial reform) again see the light of day, unfortunately the country package is not a comprehensive and synchronized set of measures based on a vision for the country going forward.

Blanket reforms such as those dictated by the country package needed to be preceded by a plan, mapping out the envisaged development goals and the future outlook.

In the opinion of MP Wescot, the budget of the government will now be vetted based on the reform package of the country and these ties the hands of government considerably. “It’s an overarching control of the budget and infringes on the budget right of the parliaments.”

Parliament’s oversight role will be relegated to “rubber stamping”, as by the time the budget reaches parliament, the implementation agenda, projects, and capital investments will have already been inked.

“The now added role of the CFT is also cause for concern, as there will be overlaps and there are still too many ambiguities.”

While the World Bank’s management of the Trust Fund is very bureaucratic, the existence of the (temporary) NRBP ensures the “couleur locale” and this is evident of how -even for a temporary organization, if it is to be sustainable- the foundation need to be implanted locally. The same can be said for the COHO construct. Any other set-up therefore needs to be devised with attention for sustainability and capacity building and in MP Wescot’s opinion, the country package/implementation agendas need to be redrafted.

Many of the issues that we face with the WB Trust Fund construct are going to repeat themselves with the temporary work organization as well as with the COHO.

Problems such as 1) reaching agreement on how and when to proceed,  

2) having the necessary local capacity to act as counterparts, 3) lack of a public national plan in which all of this takes shape.

“In addition to all of that, if the government continues to roll out whatever and the population, stakeholders and the different sectors are not being involved in what the government is doing, is going to create an atmosphere of mistrust and polarization nationally.

The powers delegated to the COHO organization belong more in a type of Development and Investment Bank structure with all the necessary checks and balances that any such institution demands; a structure for development that better fits small islands, ensuring that checks and balances are in place and all accountability has teeth.

In terms of our national development, what this current approach, both organizational and reformational totally overlooks, are the inherent vulnerabilities of small island developing states”, the MP further stated.

The MP quotes:

“On the front line of multiple world crises -including climate change and debt, SIDS face chronic structural challenges and vulnerabilities that are becoming more interconnected and intense over time. They rely on external financing to help prepare and recover from these crises. The climate crisis is more expensive for SIDS. Debt is more expensive for SIDS. Infrastructure is more expensive. Assistance from partner countries doesn’t stretch as far.” (UN-OHRLLS)

What is absent in all of this?

Where is the 3-prong sustainable development triangle of Environment, Economy, and Social Development? Where are the sustainable development goal indicators and targets for St. Maarten? Where are our long-term priorities?

“It’s not for the lack of plans per se, as we have had numerous plans for tax reform, we have (had) plans for education, for financial reform, we have a plan for universal health insurance, we have a status report of our youth in collaboration with UNICEF. Were these even made known at the tabling of the country package”? the MP queries in her remarks on the draft COHO law.

“I can only hope that we can have an open discussion with the other parliaments of the Kingdom on this draft law that was birthed during a time of mistrust, impatience and antagonism, at least in the case of St. Maarten and that the consensus principle will be upheld throughout the process”, MP Wescot concluded.

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CDFHA “Get ready, get prepared” and attend Hurricane Preparedness Information Sessions

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – The Department of Community Development, Family & Humanitarian Affairs (CDFHA) which falls under the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labor (Ministry VSA) is hosting its “Get Ready, Get Prepared” information sessions on hurricane preparedness Tuesday May 3-31, 2022, from 6:30pm – 8:00pm.

Further, the objective of the project is to: (1) Increase community/residents’ awareness on the different aspects of hurricane preparedness; (2) empower residents with knowledge, tools, and skills to engage in advanced planning and effectively prepare and respond during or after an emergency or disaster.

The weekly sessions will take place in the following locations: (1) the Seventhday Adventist School, Cole Bay (Tuesday May 3, 2022); Government Administration Building, Great Bay (Tuesday May 10, 2022); Belvedere Community Center (Tuesday May 17, 2022) Dutch Quarter Community Center (Tuesday May 24, 2022); St. Peters Community Center (Tuesday May 31, 2022) from 6:00pm-8:30pm.

Each session consists of six (6) presentations that cover the following topics: “Safety and security”, “preparing minors for hurricanes”, “Hurricane forecasting”, “Shelter management” “insurance”, “First aid/CPR”, and “Stories of resilience”.

For more information, please feel free to send CDFHA an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or contact any of the following Help Desks: Cole Bay Help Desk 1721-5204315; St. Peters Community Help Desk 1721-5203418; Dutch Quarter Community Help Desk 1721-5207651.

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Emmanuel says he remains in total opposition to COHO. Calls it a divisive tool in the Kingdom

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Independent Member of Parliament Christophe Emmanuel’s position towards the COHO remains the same as it has been from day 1: complete opposition to the entity which he says will obviously infringe on St. Maarten’s autonomy and relegate the government and Parliament to the sideline.

“There can be no talk of good faith from the Dutch government if they continue to seek control over the budgets of the countries while holding the “no liquidity support” ax over our necks. It is disingenuous and blatant political blackmail,” the MP said. “I will call it as I see it,” he added.

He said he is not impressed with vague statements coming from some Members of Parliament who supported the COHO full-throat, but are now apparently convinced that the entity is bad for the country. “I am not impressed because if they believe it is no good, then say so with conviction and act accordingly,” the MP said.

“We see the Parliament of Curacao passing a unanimous motion against the COHO in its current form. But we fail to understand that the Dutch government, through COHO, will not negotiate its way out of overall control of reform projects. Neither will they drop any measure that holds liquidity support over the heads of these islands.

“It is an exercise in futility and colonialism by a different name. It is a divisive tool within the Kingdom. Here we have a country, the Netherlands, that wants to pride itself on human rights, democratic principles and a united Kingdom. But they are dividing this same kingdom by implementing an entity on one group of people in the same Kingdom.

“Saba and Statia doesn’t have a COHO, not a single province in Holland has a COHO, but you choose the people of St. Maarten upon which to utilize this colonizing tool that is anchored in ‘do as we say or else’. That is exactly what this is. If the Netherlands cannot genuinely assist us in crossing the street to get to a safe place, then let us go,” the MP said.

He said he intends to once again express his position at IPKO as he had once before when he told MP’s of the Kingdom that COHO remains unclear and foreign to the people of St. Maarten. “As time has passed and State Secretaries change, COHO has not. This entity is entirely unnecessary if the government of St. Maarten allows the civil core to execute local governmental reforms without severe political interference.

The government, he said, has not presented an alternative plan, not even an economic plan, for this country. In the meantime, State Secretary Alexandra van Huffelen and BZK is willing to take St. Maarten’s concerns about infringing on its autonomy and laws into account only after the COHO law is passed. “When translated this means never,” Emmanuel said.

“The government and Parliament will lose control over our national budget and this means we lose our country,” MP Emmanuel stressed. “The Prime Minister of St. Maarten will have to answer to BZK and even to a State Secretary.”

The CFT, already a restrictive body on St. Maarten, will be given more budgetary oversight powers including having to report to the COHO on whether or not there are obstacles included in the annual country budget that could hamper implementation of the country packages or other COHO projects. Should the COHO agree that such obstacles are clearly apparent, this will form the basis to decide whether or not to continue with liquidity support.

“The direct involvement of BZK with COHO is very worrisome because this is de facto the Dutch governments running the Caribbean countries through the COHO construct. If there are objections, it is the same COHO and BZK that ultimately decides what is in line with the execution agenda for the country packages. The will and intentions of local politicians will not be considered in our own country,” Emmanuel said.

To date he added, neither the State Secretary nor the Council of Ministers of St. Maarten can say otherwise to these facts. He said it is clear that the Parliament of St. Maarten will have no power as the COHO will draft the execution agenda for the country packages and nothing will move forward unless the COHO so approves.

“Keep in mind COHO also retains the power to initiate projects on its own accord. So as much as the government thinks certain measures will not be included, that is not up to government and Parliament. If the COHO and its handlers feel like proposing a land tax for example, it can do exactly that,” Emmanuel said.

“We have no cohesive, solid position towards the COHO. I have preached from the mountain tops about everything we see happening today. It was clear where their “trajectory” was heading; direct to an administrative body, constructed in the Netherlands by the Dutch government, with the intention to finally control these islands by controlling their budgets. Any protest would be met with no liquidity. This is the trajectory the government of St. Maarten followed and that this MP will continue to oppose alone for as long as I have to,” MP Emmanuel concluded.

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One person arrested by French authorities as a suspect in human smuggling investigation

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Human Trafficking Human Smuggling Unit (UMM) of the Sint Maarten Police Force has been carrying out investigations into several human smuggling incidents since the middle of 2021, originating from Sint Maarten (Saint Martin) with the ultimate destination being the United States Virgin Islands (USVI).

The nationality of the people who were being smuggled often were Haitians, Venezuelans, and Brazilians. In the meantime, several arrests have been made of suspects who are believed to have played an organizing role within this smuggling organization.

Collaborating closely with the French police, a suspect involved in this investigation was arrested by the French police upon request of the human smuggling team of KPSM.

During one of these human smuggling incidents, the vessel used encountered problems and ultimately sank. One of the crew members went missing in the process and probably drowned. This investigation is ongoing and the UMM team is not ruling out more arrests. (KPSM)

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Grand Carnival parade on Sunday, May 1. Police prepare for street closures

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - This Sunday, May 1, 2022, the SCDF will hold its grand carnival parade. The parade will start on L.B. Scott Road and will end at the Salt Pickers roundabout behind the Police Station in Philipsburg.

It will be one of the last events held before the closing of this carnival period. As is customary, the parade will also be passing through Front Street.

In the meantime, the public is requested to refrain from parking their vehicles on Front Street as the vehicles may be towed away in the interest of public safety. It is anticipated that the first troops will be expected to arrive on Front Street around 12:00pm. In connection with the free movement of the carnival parade, Front Street will be cordoned off earlier in the day.

St. Maarten Police made it possible for churchgoers to use Front Street to get to the church on Sunday morning May 1, 2022. Worshippers can use Front Street to drop off the parishioners, but their vehicles will have to be parked on Back Street or any other parking locations. Law enforcement personnel have reached out to several of the church's pastors in order to make it easier for their congregation to get to their church service and back home.

Parishioners who are attending Methodist Church on Sunday, May 1, 2022, will be able to enter through school-streeg (next to Oranje-school) in order to access Front Street.

A request goes out to the church members who finish with the mass after midday, that they should use Soualiga road or Sucker-garden Road, to go exit Phillipsburg not to get caught up in traffic.

The St. Maarten Police wishes all revelers and the community a very safe final days of carnival. (KPSM)

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Minister of Justice Richardson a step ahead with professionalism

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On Friday, April 22, the Honorable Minister of Justice Anna E. Richardson paid a visit to a four-day workshop on ‘Civil Servant’s Rights & the Advising Process’ currently undertaken by personnel advisors of the Ministry of Justice from April 19 until April 22. The safety and protection of the St. Maarten community greatly depend on the efforts of the civil servants in the Ministry. As such, this workshop comes as a step forward in improving the Ministry’s personnel affairs processes and dealing with the issue that affects its most important asset; its employees.

“Since taking office in 2020, I have been focused on improving the various issues that have plagued this Ministry for more than 10 years. Concerns, regarding the existing staff and further staffing, are being addressed, firstly, with the completion of the Ministry’s Function Book which has now been published, and now via dialogue with the unions in order to regulate the legal position of KPSM and the National Detectives, and their new salary scales,” stated Minister Richardson.

The Ministry has been working diligently toward filling numerous key positions within the various departments. Among these, are the recruitment and selection of professionals for the Victim Support Services (VSS), the further processing of the organizational plan for the Executive Protection Unit (EPU), and the completion of training for 12 certified customs officers who were sworn in on April 22. KPSM has seen an increase in the police force over the past two years via the training and certification of their recruits, a practice that continues at present, and training for Point Blanche Prison guards is expected to begin in June 2022. Critical professional development projects are also being prepared to train personnel of various sections of the Immigration and Border Control Services, and in the interim, training qualifications required to recognize several educational programs formally, are being reviewed.

The workshop for the personnel advisors is the beginning of a new approach where cooperation between the executive services is being improved. Working in teams from the different departments will allow staff members to learn from each other and make better use of the power of collaboration which has been strengthened by Minister Richardson with the approval of the development and implementation of a digital platform. The platform will allow direct communication among the Ministry’s staff, where requests concerning allowances and other employees’ benefits can also be made.

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Royanna Baly makes history as first known St. Maarten-born Deputy Prosecutor

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On April 22, the community of St. Maarten learned about Ms. Royanna Baly’s appointment and participation in her first court session as Deputy Prosecutor. Baly has been working at the Public Prosecutor’s Office (OM) of St. Maarten since 2020 and is the first known St. Maarten-born person to have accomplished this milestone. She is now able to work on minor cases as Deputy Prosecutor.

Prime Minister Silveria E. Jacobs stated, “As St. Maarteners, it is time for us to continue recognizing the achievements and highlight the importance of our collective growth. This historical moment adds to our collective efforts required towards the continued building of our nation. It shows what our younger generation, with the right support structure, education, and love for country, can and will achieve for their personal growth and ultimately taking their rightful places as future leaders.”

The Government of St. Maarten hereby extends congratulations to a daughter of the soil, Ms. Royanna Baly and the OM on her first court session appearance, and being the first known St. Maarten-born person to achieve this milestone, thereby contributing to the positive future of St. Maarten.

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