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SHTA Hosts Sick Leave Management Masterclass

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On Thursday May 25th, the St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA) and Medwork organized a sick leave management masterclass at the SHTA offices.

The masterclass aimed to equip attendees with comprehensive knowledge and practical tools for effectively managing sick leave processes. The masterclass was facilitated by Dr Joanne Siebel of Medwork, an authority in the field of human resources and employee management. Medwork, active throughout the entire Dutch Caribbean, is specialized in managing the psychological and physical aspects of well-being for employees in work surroundings.

Drawing from her experience gained at her company, Siebel emphasized the significance of creating supportive work environments and implementing proactive measures to mitigate sick leave challenges. Amongst others, the effects on sick leave management of the recently implemented new St. Maarten labor law were discussed.

The 31 attendees from a wide variety of hospitality and business sectors actively participated in discussions, sharing their experiences, and gaining valuable insights from their peers. Joanne Siebel’s expertise and engaging teaching style equipped participants with practical solutions to guide sick leave management within their organizations.

The St. Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association is committed to providing resources and educational opportunities to its membership and beyond. The masterclass on sick leave management serves as a testament to the association's dedication to facilitate a thriving business community on the island.

For more information, please contact our offices at 1-721-542-0108 or visit our website at


MHF Nurses achieve Mental Health Professional Certificate

SINT MAARTEN (CAY HILL) - After intense training over the course of eight (8) months, Mental Health Foundation (MHF) Nurses, Alvin Arrundell and Dione Trustfull, successfully obtained their Mental Health Professional certification from Rino Zuid in the Netherlands, MHF said on Monday in a press statement.

The courses were a combination of online learning and intense in class training, which took place in Aruba and Bonaire. The course was focused on continued development of general mental health skills, knowledge and attitude both in theory and practice such as, complaint-oriented VS diagnosis-oriented work approaches, long-term support in chronic psychiatric complaints with transcultural considerations, and non-verbal and experiential intervention techniques to name a few.

Arrundell and Trustfull were 2 of 32 program graduates across the Dutch Caribbean, including Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire, Saba, Sint Eustatius and Sint. Maarten.

The course was made possible through Rino Zuid and Mental Health Caribbean in Bonaire and is the outcome of the cooperation agreement between the Mental Health Institutes of the CAS-BES islands to improve the quality of mental health care for the Dutch Caribbean Community including continued education opportunities for their mental health professionals.

Funding for the MHF nurses participation was obtained through Samenwerkende fondsen Cariben (SFC).

MHF hereby congratulates Nurse Arrundell and Nurse Trustfull on their special achievement and extends a heartfelt thank you to SFC for their support.

MHF certificate staff ins1



Courtesy visit by technical team of Anguilla's Telecom Regulator to Minister of Telecom of Sint Maarten

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On May 24th, 2023, a delegation of technical experts from the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) of Anguilla paid a courtesy visit to the honorable Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Traffic and Telecommunication, Arthur Lambriex. This visit aimed to strengthen bilateral relations, foster collaboration between Sint Maarten and Anguilla, and discuss matters of mutual interest within the telecommunications sector, such as spectrum usage, and new technologies.

Part of the Aguilla delegation was Executive Director of PUC, Damien Harrigan assisted by Ardin Richardson, representatives of the ministry of infrastructure, communications, utilities, housing and tourism, Travis Carty and Jobern Gumbs. They engaged in productive discussions with Minister Lambriex his Francisco Lacroes Chief of Staff , the Interim Director of BTP, and the Head Technical Department of BTP.

During the discussions, Anguilla and Sint Maarten exchanged valuable insights on various aspects of the telecommunications industry, including regulatory frameworks, spectrum management, infrastructure development, and emerging technologies. The visit provided an opportunity for the PUC’s technical team to share their expertise and experiences in regulating the telecommunications sector in Anguilla, while also gaining insights into Sint Maarten's telecom landscape and procedures.

Minister Lambriex expressed his appreciation for the visit, emphasizing the importance of regional cooperation and knowledge-sharing in enhancing the telecommunications sector. Interim Director of BTP, Judianne Labega - Hoeve conveyed her gratitude to the Minister of TEATT and his team for welcoming their valued regulatory counterpart and was delighted with the opportunity to engage in a constructive dialogue.

Head of the Technical Department of BTP, Sidney de Weever was instrumental in bringing all different stakeholders to the table. He stated: “It was a great pleasure to host the Anguilla delegation and work closely together with them in the past days. We will continue to work together and focus on areas such as information exchange, joint spectrum measurement initiatives, and the harmonization of spectrum usage to ensure a more seamless and efficient telecommunications landscape within the region and delivering improved services to the citizens of both Anguilla and Sint Maarten.”


22-Year-Old Female Tourist gets Leg Severed in Shark Attack while Snorkeling

SINT MAARTEN/TURKS & CAICOS – A 22-year-old female American tourist from Connecticut on Wednesday severed her leg during a shark attack while snorkeling in the Turks & Caicos Islands with a friend.

The attack took place Wednesday afternoon at the Bone Yard dive site in Princess Alexandra National Park, a marine protected area. Thereafter, police and ambulance services were alerted and rushed the victim to Hospital in serious condition.

On Friday, the women were airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. There was no update on her condition.

The shark attack has been described by officials as a case of mistaken identity. It is presumed by a water sports activity company and other officials that the attack may have been caused by a reef shark who mistaken the woman for an animal it usually hunts as prey.

There have been four shark attacks prior to this one in the Turks and Caicos where all victims survived.

In September 2021, a male tourist was bitten on the wrist by a seven-foot lemon or tiger shark in shallow water near the Bright Reef snorkeling site.

In 2011, a 28-year-old snorkeler was struck by an unknown type of shark in the Middle Caicos where he received a laceration to his shoulder. The victim received 18 stitches and the tooth mark suggests it was a shark measuring up to six feet.

There was another incident in 2011 where a 35-year-old spearfisherman received a bite from a five-foot shark to his lower right leg.

In 2002 near French Cay in the southern Caicos Banks, a group of photographers were on-board a live-abord boat and were snorkeling. A 41-year-old tourist was bitten in the shoulder and upper arm by an up to seven-foot fray reef shark. The woman was rushed to the hospital and airlifted to Miami for further medical care.

The Bahamas has seen the most shark attacks with 35 since 1896. The last fatal shark attack in The Bahamas was a U.S. cruise ship passenger who was snorkeling in September 2022. The 58-year-old woman from Pennsylvania was snorkeling at a popular spot near Green Cay when she was attacked by a bull shark.

In 2019, there were two shark attacks in The Bahamas, and one was fatal. A southern California woman who was on vacation was attacked by three sharks near Rose Island, which is half a mile from where the 58-year-old woman was attacked.


DP Releases Video Preview of Vision for Future National Economic Development

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Democratic Party (DP) recently released a video preview of its vision for the future economic development of St. Maarten. This can be viewed by the following link:

The release precedes the party’s manifesto, which it plans to launch in the coming months, according to the release by the party.

“As election fever sets in, there is a lot of jockeying and posturing. Prospective candidates are coming unto the political stage and parties are profiling themselves, all as part of the political dynamics,” DP leader Sarah Wescot commented.

In her view however, most parties are yet to present their views on issues critical to the society of St. Maarten and added, “It behooves parties to make it clear where they stand on issues such as, healthcare, economic development, fiscal management, cooperation and our future in the Dutch Kingdom.”

“I am convinced that if especially the latter stance is made crystal clear, the discussions regarding debt refinancing/debt cancelation and new loans or reparation will take on a new dimension”, the DP leader continued.

There is nothing new in the calls for more economic development, such as diversification, new market niches, more tourists, new airlines, and bigger ships.

Sustainable economic development to spur the growth of our country, however, requires consolidation, collaboration, and capitalization.

The question today is how we connect all of the parts of any economic growth path.

“It’s no longer just about tourism or just about the marine industry, or about the infrastructure or about a new fiscal regime or a new currency for that matter, digitally or otherwise. It Is about identification and connectivity, consolidation, and collaboration, locally and internationally.”

“Our economy can be one of the most colorful ones. Think about it, a green economy connected to a blue economy, connected to a gold economy connected to a purple economy, a silver economy, a white economy and not to forget an orange economy.”

An overarching goal of this approach is that once we can prove that all areas, all colors tie into the sustainable development of our country, funding for many of these activities will no longer be an issue because St. Maarten will know where it wants to see itself in the next 10 years and beyond and give meaning to the term sustainability.

“New economic realities deserve new economic solutions. In realization of the sustainable development goals of all United Nations member states, and to which St. Maarten also subscribes, a new take on our economy is paramount. So, whether we talk decolonization, reparation, or debt cancellation, it is about sustainability”.

St. Maarten again stands poised to run with the ball of a colorful and coordinated economic development plan, in which the most vibrant and colorful economic sectors of our island are developed individually yet brought together masterfully in a refreshing and hopeful economic plan, the DP leader concluded.


Grisha questions Minister of TEATT on reported process/timing of issuing new “Taxi”, “T”, and “B” licenses

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - In an urgent letter to be sent to the Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication, the Hon. Arthur L. Lambriex on Monday, May 22nd, 2023, MP Grisha Heyliger-Marten will submite a number of questions to the Minister seeking clarity on his process or plans to issue new transportation licenses.

“Knowing that a moratorium was put in place for transportation licenses in 2014, I was very surprised to receive news from within the taxi sector that people are being approached by the Ministry to register for a license application. Taking everything into consideration, I am very concerned about the consequences that this process might have for the current taxi drivers who are already having difficulties making ends meet.

The Minister should be aware that globally, there are important geo-political shifts ongoing. The BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South-Africa) are expanding and considering introducing an alternative to the US dollar. This might have far-reaching and potential negative effects on our already fragile tourism economy, which we should be preparing for. That is why the timing of this license issue, in the middle of the low season, has me scratching my head”, the MP said in a press release on Sunday evening.

Heyliger-Marten stated that when it comes to people’s livelihoods, it is important for the stakeholders to be consulted in a timely manner, and Parliament to receive facts and figures about what exactly is going on. “As representatives of the people, Parliament needs to urgently receive clarity on the status of the “hulpchauffeurs” and how their positions will be regulated, according to the MP.

“Another crucial question is what exactly will replace the moratorium, if anything, and how this will affect all stakeholders involved. I therefore hope that Parliament will receive the answers to these and other questions as soon as possible”, Heyliger-Marten concluded.


Sarah questions government’s intentions regarding the permanence of Dr. Claude Wathey Statue

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - In a press release over the weekend, Member of Parliament (MP) and Democratic Party (DP) leader, Sarah Wescot-Williams questioned statements by the VROMI minister regarding the demolition of the old administration building and the imminent fate of the statue of the late Dr. Claude Wathey, co-founder and first leader of the DP.

“These statements have left me with more questions about government’s intentions for the statue of Dr. A. C. Wathey”, the MP stated.

“My preoccupation stems from statements such as, the statue might have to be stored; there will be a Wall of Heroes, but not as a replacement for this statue; there are plans in the work at the ministry of VROMI, but these cannot be revealed, so what is it?

“Via the parliamentary channels I have therefore asked the following pertinent questions: Has a storage location for the statue been identified? If so, where?

Has a permanent site been identified? If so, where? If not, when?

“These are questions that must be answered way beforehand, so as not to fall in the trap of the storage becoming the permanent home for the statue. I have the uncanny feeling that unless something is said, this is exactly what will happen. It is sad enough that it has stood at its current location for as long as it did, but that is water under the bridge.

“If we can have a groundbreaking for the demolition of a derelict building, removal and restoration of an icon’s statue need to do thoughtfully and respectfully,” MP Wescot further stated.

“On another note, I applaud the renewed attention for our heroes and icons, as this idea of a Wall of St. Martin heroes has been on the books at the Ministry of Culture for the longest time. Statues are an important part of our history and should remain so, because they each tell a story, reminiscent of past eras and the contribution of personalities,” the MP concluded.


Grisha calls out Presidium and Council of Ministers

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - In a press statement released on Sunday afternoon, MP Grisha Heyliger-Marten expressed concern for both the Presidium of Parliament and members of the Council of Ministers for not carrying out their respective duties adequately. 

The first example cited by Heyliger-Marten is the urgent public meeting regarding TelEm, which started on November 7th, 2022. The topics were the SOAB report, the complaints of the union regarding the CEO, and the status of the Fiber-To-The-Home project.

“We are now in May, so seven months later, and this urgent meeting is far from being completed. In the meantime, the issues have not been resolved or addressed by the Prime Minister. She said that this behavior displays a lack of respect for Parliament and its responsibility to the people, and the lack of concern for the TELEM workers.

A second example mentioned by Heyliger-Marten is the Urgent Public meeting with the Minister of Justice for a discussion regarding the flow and managing of the inmates at the Point Blanche Prison which was requested on January 19th, 2023. This meeting was called on January 25th, 2023 and adjourned. Since then, an injunction was filed against the prison and the Minister has not been efficient enough to come back and give Parliament an update.

A letter was also sent to the Minister of Justice on November 7th, 2022, in which Heyliger-Marten asked for copies of the advice from the Department of Legal Affairs, the CCSU, and the Council of Advice regarding the legal positions of the justice workers. These documents have yet to be received by Parliament.

The continuation of Public Meeting number 10 which started on December 16th, 2022 is a forth example of the lack of performance of the Presidium and Council of Ministers”, Heyliger-Marten stated in her press release. A date for the continuation of this meeting is still pending, and only today, May 15th, 2023, were the remaining two thirds of the questions posed received by Parliament by e-mail.

“This dismal performance is unacceptable, and further proof that the Presidium and Council of Ministers are not able to deal with the business of the people in an adequate and transparent manner. With all the urgent and pending matters that the country is facing and needs to deal with, it is high time that this coalition Government gets its act together. They need to be more open and transparent, and communicate more with the people”, Heyliger-Marten concluded.


Hurricane Pass Application Process Extended to June 17

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – The application process for the annual Hurricane Passes for the 2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season has been extended to June 17 due to unforeseen circumstances.

There are two types of passes, the Disaster Pass and the Hurricane Pass. No passes will be issued to business owners, only with some exemption categories as noted below.

The pass allows the bearer to access the public road to visit the place of business to assess possible damage to the property. No company passes will be accepted during curfew hours. This can only take place during certain hours that will be stipulated and announced by the Prime Minister in a curfew situation.

The Office of Disaster Management that falls under the Ministry of General Affairs is handling the application process for the passes on behalf of the Prime Minister.

An application form can be requested by sending an email to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Emails should include the following: Name of business or organization; A short description of activities of the business or the organization; Request for either disaster or hurricane pass.

When submitting the application, the following documents need to be attached:

-      copy business license fee paid (or receipt) for 2023 for businesses.

-      proof of 2023 registration at the Chamber of Commerce, for organizations.

-      copy valid Sint Maarten ID-card of applicant.

-      Nafl. 50,- in leges stamps per application (to be obtained at the Receiver’s Office or the Simpson Bay Public Service Center), this is a non-refundable handling fee; a copy of a digital payment transfer is accepted as well.

-      One (1) passport picture for new applicants, to be sent in JPEG-format to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the name of the person clearly indicated.

The application form has to be completed and submitted to the offices of the Fire Department & Disaster Management – in print form, to the attention of the secretary located at Jackal Road 5 (Office hours Monday-Friday 9.00AM to 4.00PM), Cay Hill, by June 17, 2023, with all necessary documents attached.

Applicants will be informed by email or telephone when to pick up the pass at the aforementioned address.


Emmanuel: “I will not permit false narratives, justice system to be weaponised against me”

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – Member of Parliament (MP) Christophe Emmanuel is incensed by yet another deliberate political effort to discredit him, rig an election, and, ultimately, stifle his voice which has been in defense of the people of St. Maarten, telling them the truth and holding the powers that be accountable. And while these actions against his person are frustrating and disruptive to one’s everyday life, his family's physical mistreatment by justice officials during a house search on Wednesday elevated his feelings from frustration to anger.

He characterized Wednesday's events as the most recent attempt to shape and control not just false narratives but also representatives of the people of St. Maarten in the legislative branch. "Here we go again. The plot is predictable. We have already seen this film, Emmanuel added.”

He said the Prosecutors Office, RST, and Landsrescherce are mistaken if they believe he will permit them to create and spread false narratives to start his persecution. The MP has stated that he will not obstruct the legal system from carrying out its proper course and cooperate fully, but he will continue to be watchful for the fabrication of stories to support unfounded "suspicions". He emphasized that his entire tenure as Minister was investigated and all decisions and actions as Minister were already fully covered. Now here comes a next search for his tenure as Minister.

The MP clarified that the alleged "suspicions" drawn from the search warrant indicate that this action is not new, just an extension or continuation of what started before. The timing appears to be driven by reckless and vindictive remarks made on the floor of Parliament during the last few months by members of the current Council of Ministers. While Ministers feel they have immunity on the floor, MP Emmanuel pointed out that the legal system uses what they say and how they say it in an effort to "pick off" members on St. Maarten one at a time. “But just like before, I will stand tall against the storm,” the MP said.

The way his relatives, who are minor children, were treated and impacted throughout the search particularly incensed MP Emmanuel. He related how his adolescent cousin was yanked so hard by the wrist by one of the authorities present, that she had to be taken to the doctor to be checked for a sprained wrist, while the aggressive nature and approach of other officials traumatized his even younger cousin who is currently going through his FBE exams.

“We now have to try and get a reprieve for that child from his exams and their mother, who is beyond angry, has to consider pressing charges for abuse against her girl child. This abuse of power and over-aggressive nature of these people coming into our homes, not considering our family and children is infuriating and downright illegal. If there is anything that shook me to my core it is that. They do not appreciate the negative residual affects they have on our families with their Gestapo tactics,” the MP said.  

The board of the NOW Party (Nation Opportunity Wealth) in its statement said that its leader (MP Emmanuel), is fully prepared to fight any battle should it ever come to that. The board said that this is just another example of how the justice system is being weaponized in unprecedented and cunning ways against political opponents to fill an agenda and create a police state rather than maintaining law and order in a democratic country. Justice is not served when it is driven by a political and/or dubious agenda. Families and children are now becoming victims of this charade. The attack on democracy and on our people is clear. It has to stop,” the NOW board said.

“The government had already clearly indicated their intentions to somehow hit back at the only MP who dares to challenge them on their governing term. They cannot intimidate MP Emmanuel into going along to get-along. They cannot silence the MP with threats and innuendo. So their next tactic is to imply that there is new information from an investigation almost eight years ago. This plays right into the hands of justice entities whose mission it is to go after politicians who have no fear in calling out the flaws in the justice system, beginning with the prosecutorial branches.”

The board added that it is very ironic and telling that the Prosecutor’s office has not moved on the accusations of blatant fraud in government, statements that came from a High Council of State, but finds the time and resources to enact a new search based “suspicions” on an investigation concluded and for which the MP was already prosecuted and exonerated. “No one gets away it seems and history is repeating itself once again.”

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