Soualiga Today (2)

Soualiga News Today (4807)

Armed Robbery Foiled in Old Street Area. Two Suspects Apprehended

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - At approximately 2:00 PM on Saturday, December 2nd, 2023, the Sint Maarten Police Force (KPSM) responded swiftly to reports of an armed robbery at a jewelry store in the Old Street area of Philipsburg. The Police Central Dispatch received multiple calls alerting them to the presence of two masked individuals committing the crime.

In a commendable display of prompt action, several officers and detectives in the vicinity immediately rushed to the scene. Upon arrival, officers spotted engaged in a foot pursuit with the two suspects through the town area.

The first suspect with initials R.W. was successfully apprehended in the Back Street area, demonstrating the dedication of the officers involved. The pursuit of the second suspect with initials A.H. continued, ultimately resulting in his capture on Cannegieter Street, close to the Brick Building.

During the chase, law enforcement officers discovered and confiscated both jewelries stolen from the store and a firearm in the possession of the suspects. The recovery of these items not only aids in the resolution of this specific case but contributes to the overall safety and security of the community.

The Sint Maarten Police Force is particularly proud of the officers' vigilance during this busy season. Despite being a small but dedicated group, these officers have demonstrated their commitment to the safety and well-being of the community. The implemented strategy of heightened visibility and rapid response is already showing positive results in crime prevention.

The police force expresses its sincere gratitude to all members of the public who assisted during this incident. The collaborative effort between law enforcement and the community played a crucial role in the successful resolution of the armed robbery.

The arrested suspects are currently in custody, and further investigations are underway. The KPSM remains steadfast in its commitment to ensuring the safety of the residents and visitors of Sint Maarten.

The detectives are investigating this Armed robbery case are asking anyone who has information about these robberies to contact the Sint Maarten Police Force, at +1 721- 542 22 22 ext. 204 or 205 or the anonymous tip line on 9300 (free of charge). You can also leave a Private Message via their Facebook page: (Police Force of Sint Maarten – Korps Politie Sint Maarten).


Dept. of Statistics Commences with Labour Force Survey

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - The Department of Statistics St. Maarten is pleased to announce the commencement of its comprehensive Labour Force Survey, aimed at gathering vital insights into the dynamics of our workforce.

The Labour Force Survey is distinct from a Population Census, focusing specifically on employment-related data. Unlike a census, which provides a snapshot of the entire population, the Labour Force Survey delves into the complexities of our workforce, capturing details such as employment status, industry participation, and other critical labour market indicators.

This initiative is a crucial step in understanding the current state of our labour force, identifying trends, and informing policies that contribute to the economic well-being of St. Maarten. Residents are encouraged to participate when contacted, as their responses will play a pivotal role in shaping informed decisions for the future.

The Department of Statistics St. Maarten appreciates the public's cooperation in this important project. For further information or inquiries, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


The Joint Court officially opens a new branch on Saba

SABA (WINDWARDSIDE) – On Thursday, November 30, 2023, the Joint Court of Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten, Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba proudly opened its sixth branch, located on the beautiful island of Saba.

Vice President of the Joint Court of Justice on Sint Maarten, Mr. Wouters, shared his insights: 'During my visit to Saba, it became clear that both the local government and the population strongly felt the need for a permanent location for justice.

In recent years, the Court has gratefully used facilities in the government office and the Island Council Hall, for which we sincerely thank Governor Johnson and the entire island administration. However, in line with the principles of the separation of powers, where the legislative, executive, and judicial branches operate independently, it is crucial for the Court to be physically located in a separate facility.

Today, we are all witnesses: for the first time in history, we are opening a physical branch of the Joint Court of Justice on this beautiful island of Saba, also known as "the Unspoiled Queen." The Joint Court has deliberately decided not to open its branch in The Bottom but in the picturesque village of Windwardside.

This decision, although it may raise questions, is based on the importance of maintaining the separation of powers. By maintaining physical distance from the government, we can ensure the independence of the judiciary.

The choice of Windwardside was made quickly, especially because of the representative and practical building, central location, and ample parking. Windwardside, located in the heart of the island, will thus become a place where not only stories are shared but also justice is pursued.


Historic tour of German cruise ship’s medical facilities

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - On November 28, 2023, a group of medical professionals of St. Maarten Medical Center & the Ambulance Department of Ministry Public Health, Social Development & Labor toured the medical facilities aboard the German cruise ship Mein Schiff 4. The medical professionals were accompanied by the Director of Tourism May-Ling Chun.

This is the first step in an effort of the medical professionals to enhance better collaboration and cooperation within the cruise industry on St. Maarten where patient care is concerned.

This initiative was spearheaded by Dr. Stefan Luhrs of Bjὄrn Steiger Foundation of Germany, in collaboration with drs. Cylred Richardson, Department Head Ambulance of Ministry Public Health, Social Development & Labor.

Minister Ottley applauds the efforts of the medical professionals to enhance better collaboration and cooperation.

MinVSA PHOTO 2 Ambulance Service

MinVSA PHOTO 3 Ambulance Service

 MinVSA PHOTO 4 another group pix


PFP: Upholding Electoral Integrity and Fair Play in Sint Maarten Elections is Critical

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - The Party for Progress (PFP) raised serious concerns about the continued disregard for the election and campaign guidelines issued by the Minister of Justice on Sint Maarten. This issue not only questions the integrity of the electoral process but also poses safety risks.

“People have reached out to us, including candidates on other parties, regarding the placement of billboards and flags too close to or even in the roundabouts,” PFP Deputy Leader Marvio Cooks states. “The guidelines were verbally communicated to party representatives on November 13th, and published a couple days before postulation day. However, we see that legacy and even new parties have chosen to disregard the rule of not placing campaign material in the immediate area of the roundabouts.”

The published ministerial regulation specifies that materials can only be placed 10 meters before any entry point into a roundabout. This is done for safety reasons, as especially larger posters or moving items such as flags can cause a distraction for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.

"If you cannot follow simple election guidelines, which is a small thing, how can people trust you to do the big things, right?" PFP Party Leader Melissa Gumbs stated. "The #2 candidate on the DP slate, the #1 and 2 candidates on the UPP slate, and the #9 candidate on the URSM slate should all know better. All candidates have political history and knowledge, and even after warnings were given in the specially created KPSM/Party Reps election chat, we still saw even more posters being added inside roundabouts."

Gumbs and Cooks call on candidates to rectify their illegally placed billboards with haste.

“It would not surprise me if party board reps had communicated the order from KPSM to remove the billboards, but of course, you’d have to be operating as an actual team to do things that are, in essence, teamwork,” Gumbs concluded.

David Salomon, PFP's number 10 candidate was quoted saying "We cannot allow the desire to win at any cost to overshadow the need for safety and fairness in our elections. The people of Sint Maarten deserve leaders who demonstrate respect for the law and the well-being of the community."

This is not the first time PFP has raised questions about this issue. In fact, prior to Postulation Day, they had already sounded the alarm that billboards were being placed in the dead of night, providing an unfair advantage to those parties while the ones observing the rules were left to wonder what was going on.

“This win-at-any-cost mentality is not something that we do condone. Such tactics are not only unfair competition but also jeopardize the safety and integrity of our democratic processes. We urge KPSM, the Ministry of Justice and the public to be aware of and take a stand against such manipulative practices.”


Minister Doran makes a Game-Changing Development for the Football Federation

SINT MAARTEN (BELVEDERE) - Minister of VROMI, Egbert Doran, in a groundbreaking move has allocated a substantial parcel of land in Belvedere, to the Sint Maarten Football Federation (SXMFF) for their use.

This exciting development comes as a welcome solution to the Federation, which has been seeking this opportunity for some time now, to provide a proper and safe environment for their young players to develop and foster their talent, which will enable them to access international platforms.

“I am really happy to be able to finally make this happen for the Federation, because they have faced several challenges over the years in trying to secure a proper playing field,” Doran said. “The Football Federation was able to secure a piece of land in 2016 on Pond Island, but after the passing of Hurricanes Irma & Maria in 2017, the then Minister of VROMI commandeered that land, which is currently a Landfill and since then has left the Football Federation displaced and the sport of soccer in jeopardy. I am happy that I was able to right this wrong.”

This allocation of the land in Belvedere, Lower Princess Quarter, which took over a year to finalize, now represents the home and cornerstone of the SXMFF, has a sprawling size of 11.700 m^2 and with state-of-the-art facilities in the pipeline, this space will cater to both recreational players and competitive teams.

To ensure that football remains an inclusive and accessible sport for everyone, the SXMFF has also agreed to partner with three (3) schools located in the nearby areas of Middle Region, Belvedere, and Dutch Quarter, to extend a sporting program to them. This program, is to further expand the Federation’s current initiative, which has already resulted in local students being scouted and receiving scholarships to prominent Colleges and Universities overseas, where they are now pursuing their tertiary education.

“I want to use this opportunity as well, to applaud the President of the Football Federation, Mr. Sudesh ‘Johnny’ Singh, who has passionately been on a quest to develop football on the island,” highlighted. “He has through significant efforts, rallied several private sector partners, whom together have been able to bring professional international scouts to the island and has brought the sport to a level that now has the attention and opportunity to engage with FIFA.”

SXMFF in response, thanked the Minister for going the extra mile to make this long-awaited dream a reality for their organization, and explained that now their focus will be on the development of the land into a proper facility.

“We are hoping to include the construction of modern football fields, equipped with high-quality turf to enhance playing conditions,” Singh said. “Additionally, we hope to have other amenities such as changing rooms, spectator stands, and spaces for community events. The infrastructure will be designed to meet the standards of professional football, so that we can provide our players with access to the best playing environment and be able to host other professional teams from across the region.”

Minister Doran says he is thrilled to have been able to see this project to fruition, as it will have a major impact on the community. “Beyond its direct impact on the football community, the allocation of this land is expected to have positive ripple effects throughout the island,” he added. “Increased sports activities often lead to improved community wellbeing and local businesses will benefit from the influx of visitors and participants, that sports tourism usually attracts.”

He advises the public to look out for more community projects and homeownership programs which he will continue to work on, once given the opportunity to do so.



SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) – The Peridot Foundation stated in a press statement on Sunday: ‘Unite! Invest to prevent violence against women and girls’ is the United Nations theme starting November 25th, ending December 10th, 2023, marked as International Human Rights Day.

These sixteen (16) days of activism campaign for the awareness of gender-based violence is commemorated each year worldwide by civic organizations as well as government agencies. Violence against women and girls reportedly is the most widespread human rights violations.

Founder of the Peridot Foundation Drs. Gracita Arrindell said in a media statement on Sunday: “Locally, we see an increased trend in reported news not only of violence against women. Acts of violence against children especially girls is on the rise as well. Additionally, the cases of mental health patients are on the rise as well. While some cases make headlines, there are too many cases that remain unreported. As in many other countries who are already in the process, we also must gather data, have programs and funding in order to criminalize all forms of violence against women and girls.”

“Peridot Foundation’s awareness program of December 1st, 2023, features two very experienced speakers who are highly recognized in their respective fields of work. Our main speaker is Mrs. Tomaro Pilgrim, founder of Tomaro’s C.H.A.N.G.E a non-profit organization located in Delaware, USA. Together with her spouse and co-founder Mr. Osrick Pilgrim whose family hails from Sint Maarten, this organization successfully provided community and family centered support services that is instrumental in guiding families that helps strengthen, encourage and guide youth and their families. Mrs. Pilgrim who has a master’s degree in counseling as well as a master’s degree in human services was delighted in accepting our invitation to share her twenty years of experience in her field of work.”

Also featured on our program by popular demand is local psychologist Ms. Zoya Hyman. Ms. Hyman was Peridot Foundation previous guest speaker. For those persons who missed her presentation, we encourage your presence to hear her views and solutions on Friday December 1st, 2023. The date and time of this program will be announced in a subsequent release.

Gracita concludes: “Peridot Foundation encourages you to save the date, be informed, be engaged, be supportive and committed towards eradicating violence against women and girls.”


Swearing-in Ceremony of the Acting Governor, Dr. Emiko Bird-Lake

SINT MAARTEN (HABROUR VIEW) - “I bid you on behalf of my wife Janique and I, a good afternoon. Welcome to the oath taking ceremony of the Acting Governor of Sint Maarten,” His Excellency Governor Ajamu Baly said on Wednesday.

The Governor continued: “This will be the second Acting Governor of Sint Maarten. The first being the late Meester Reynold Groeneveldt, may his gentle soul continue to rest in peace. Mrs. Groeneveldt/His wife is with us this afternoon. Thank you for being here.

“The Governor is representative of the King in his capacity as head of the Government of Sint Maarten. Together with the ministers the Governor forms the Government of St. Maarten.

“The Governor is also representative of the Government of the Kingdom.

“The Acting Governor acts as Governor in the Governor's absence. This means that when doing so, in this case Her Excellency is fully authorized to exercise the office.

“In the quest for an acting Governor, Government sought to find someone with amongst others, the following characteristics:

  • An academic;
  • Good standing in the community;
  • Thorough knowledge of and relatable across all levels of our society;
  • A well-grounded person;
  • A person of integrity.

“These characteristics were sought after because in the role of Governor one has to be able to carefully and consistently stand objectively independent of political- and all parties.

“Safeguard the general interest of the Country and the Kingdom. Warn, advise, be consulted and if need be and hopefully on rare occasions, admonish. All of this while being available 24 hours a day 365 days a year. With all of this in mind the St. Maarten Government selected, the Kingdom Government nominated and His Royal Highness King Willem-Alexander, by Royal Decree appointed Dr. Emiko Bird-Lake as Acting Governor of St. Maarten.

“So, Dr. Bird-Lake though the task ahead may seem daunting, rest assured it is all for a good cause, namely the people of St. Maarten. And once that is at the forefront of all your decisions the path forward shall be clear.

“For you see the dual role of head of Government and representative of the Kingdom Government may seem to some to be a quagmire, but it is not, for the simple fact that at the core of both roles lies the responsibility and duty to serve in the best interest of the people of St. Maarten by promoting its well-being.

“This duty and responsibility is literally worded in the oath I will now administer to you Dr. Bird-Lake.”

Those in attendance for the oath-taking ceremony were:         

  • Prime Minister, Jacobs,
  • President of Parliament, Mr. Bijlani,
  • Acting Vice Chair of the Council of Advice, Philips,
  • Chairman of the Audit Chamber, Mr. Gumbs,
  • Council of Ministers,
  • Secretary General of the Council of Ministers,
  • Griffier of Parliament,
  • Head of the Dutch representation in Philipsburg,
  • Acting Commander of the Marine Detachment of St. Maarten,
  • Family and friends of the Acting Governor,
  • Members of my Cabinet and
  • Last but not least Acting Governor Dr. Emiko Bird-Lake

Swearing In Ceremony group




SXM in Solidarity with Palestine Group calls on Govt to retract decision to prohibit solidarity march

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - On November 9, an informal collective, identifying themselves as SXM in Solidarity with Palestine announced a solidarity march about the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza. This was formally announced to the Minister of Justice on November 10, in line with the National Ordinance on Public Manifestations, SXM in Solidarity with Palestine said in a press statement on Monday.

"For this march, organizers developed a safety plan to ensure that the march would be peaceful. This has been consulted with the local police forces who provided additional input to mitigate any potential risk. After a first meeting the organizers adjusted the plan and amended the request on the 16th of November.

"On November 19, the Minister of Justice prohibited the march from happening by Ministerial Decree. In the decision of the Minister of Justice prohibiting the march, it was not clarified whose rights would be infringed upon when the march would take place.

"The demonstration organizers lament the government's decision to prohibit the march, and is of the opinion that basic civil rights are denied to those who want to express solidarity with the victims of the genocide in Palestine, calling also for an immediate ceasefire. The organizers, who wish to remain anonymous due to their fear of further political persecution, also express their concern of the government's incapacity to guarantee freedom of speech in country Sint Maarten.

"We notified Minister Richardson and the police force of our intentions to hold a peaceful demonstration more than a week ahead of time, and together with the police, we even designed a safety plan. Our rights as citizens have been clearly denied, and this should concern all residents of the island and Dutch Kingdom authorities, no matter what your opinion on the reason for the announced protest.

"In their decision the Government stated to “have taken note of the concerning propaganda on social media related to the march on November 19, 2023.” Allegedly, “this propaganda promotes the destruction of property and the burning of national flags.”

"The organizers reject this claim and deny that any propaganda, especially any call for the destruction of property and burning of national flags has been part of the event’s promotion. Moreover, the term propaganda insinuates that there has been sharing of false information to mislead people into action, whereas nothing but facts have been presented in the announcement of the march. The organizers reiterate that we have always clearly communicated that violence, hateful messaging, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, support to Hamas or the atrocities committed by the Israeli State would not be accepted at the event. We hoped to be able to consult members of the Jewish community and collectively advocate against human rights violations.

"Organizers, after the decision, were made aware of a video in which a Sint Maarten resident burns an Israeli flag and that this could be the reason for the Minister’s decision. Since this video was posted before any announcement for the peace march was to take place, this is entirely unrelated to the intended protest and we were never made aware of its existence by the relevant authorities. To prohibit a demonstration because one person posting a video of himself burning an Israeli flag a month beforehand is ludicrous. That would be like cancelling Carnival because one person was drinking and driving a month before the annual event.

"As a reason for the prohibition, the Minister of Justice states that “the expected unrest as well as direct and severe risk for public order that this march could create in the community of St. Maarten, is of great concern. The decision, according to the Minister, is in line with “Article 5, paragraph 2, in conjunction with Article 2 of the National Ordinance on Public Manifestations” where it is further stated that “the Minister of Justice has the authority to prohibit a demonstration for the protection of health, in the interests of traffic and to prevent or control disorder.” Although the organizers understand that a demonstration could lead to some social unrest - after all not everybody has the same opinion - this in itself could not be a reason to restrict people’s right to express their opinions through demonstration. It seems that the Government is more concerned about keeping a false narrative alive, where there is no space to let any conflict come to the surface as this threatens an image of a “Friendly Island”.

"The Government of Sint Maarten seems to be confused on what their obligations are to the general population, and ministers do not understand what is happening in Middle East. They seem to think that we are dealing with a religious conflict, when in fact what the world is witnessing is a genocide. It is unfortunate that island residents concerned with the international situation will have to find recourse in the French territory. This is not about Arabs versus Jews, the largest demonstrations in the United States are organized by the Jewish community. The march, and we will demonstrate eventually, will be composed of people from all ethnic, religious and national identities, and all walks of life. Just like in the Black Lives Matter demonstrations of 2020.

The Government states that “the possibility of placing restrictions on the demonstration has been extensively reviewed. However, it is concluded that these restrictions will insufficiently take away the aforementioned expected unrest as well as direct and severe risk for public order.”

"The Government of Sint Maarten has not done everything in their power to respond to the alleged risks. A decision to prohibit a demonstration should not be taken lightly as the Government needs to ensure that the constitutional right to the freedom to demonstrate is upheld. If there are any concerns to safety and public order, the Government should take the responsibility of addressing these through other means, such as the prohibition of specific individuals to attend. Similarly, additional mobilization of police forces or even collaboration with the Dutch Marines to ensure safety of protestors and property could be an option. It should be clear, however, that the expectation was that only 80 to 100 persons would participate in this march.

"The rights to freedom of expression and assembly are crucial to uphold democratic values. While we recognize that it is important to address harmful misinformation and ensure public safety, open and respectful dialogue, considering all perspectives, is vital in maintaining harmony - especially in a multi-ethnic society as ours. Prohibiting this march is undermining the social fabric of the Sint Maarten community as supporters to the march feel restricted in their constitutional democratic rights and feel that their opinion matters less than others. Some would even feel like they are only good for paying taxes and are treated like secondhand citizens. This decision by the Minister of Justice is therefore about more than just the initial cause of the protest. This is about upholding the democratic values of our country and its social fabric. We find it worrisome to see how these values are being repressed and the opinions of specific community members are dismissed.

"We further find it astonishing that a Government that has on multiple occasions promoted decolonization and the discussion on slavery and colonialism, cannot make the link with the situation in Gaza being a direct result of colonialism. Western states continue to actively support the occupation of territories by foreign entities at the expense of civilian lives and livelihoods, resulting in grave human rights abuses and war crimes of the highest order.

"Keeping all the above in mind, the Government of Sint Maarten should retract their decision and allow the peaceful protest to take place. The organizers are open to further discuss any safety measures with the relevant authorities to allow people to call for a ceasefire in Gaza and join in grief for the many deaths this conflict continues to cause," the press statement from the SXM in Solidarity with Palestine concludes.

palestine gaza strip in 2015 678981 1280





Minister Omar Ottley commends Stakeholders for a successful Job Fair and Entrepreneurship Expo

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - Minister Omar Ottley extends his deepest appreciation to the Division Labor Affairs & Social Services and National Employment Services Center (NESC) for organizing an exceptional Job Fair and Entrepreneurship Expo on November 15th and 16th at the Belair Community Center. The minister was highly impressed with the impeccable organization of the event, which opened up more than 400 job vacancies, and even more enthralled by the tremendous turnout of jobseekers.

The two-day event saw an incredible presence of over 600 entrepreneurs and jobseekers. Minister Omar Ottley highlighted the significant achievement of the event, as more than 100 jobs were offered on the spot, providing immediate employment opportunities for individuals in need.

Minister Omar Ottley expressed his utmost support for the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development, and Labor. He commended the Division of Labor Affairs and NESC for their dedication and hard work in bringing together employers and potential employees through this successful job fair and entrepreneurship expo.

The minister eagerly looks forward to future job fairs and initiatives that will continue to foster economic growth and reduce unemployment rates in the community. With the collaboration of various ministries and supporting agencies, Minister Omar Ottley aims to create more opportunities for jobseekers and entrepreneurs, ultimately strengthening the economy and ensuring a brighter future for our citizens.

Subscribe to this RSS feed

Soualiga Radio