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Governor Holiday Farewell Address to the Nation

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – His Excellency Governor drs. Eugene B. Holiday delivered his farewell address to the nation on Wednesday, October 2022 in the House of Parliament.

His speech is as follows:Madam Chairlady,

Members of Parliament,

Good day and

Special greetings to the people of Sint Maarten.

Five days from today, on Monday October 10, 2022, my term will come to an end. It is in that light that I appear before you today to bid you farewell as Governor of Sint Maarten.

I bid you farewell also on behalf of my former colleague and friend, former acting Governor, the late Reynold Groeneveld who regrettably is no longer with us. With your permission Madam Chairlady, I request a moment of silence in honor of his dedicated and distinguished service to Sint Maarten, as the first acting Governor of Sint Maarten from October 10, 2010, to May 24, 2022. …….  

I was appointed Governor of Sint Maarten by Kingdom decree of September 20, 2010. On September 30, 2010, I took the oath of office before her majesty Queen Beatrix. And I accepted the function as Governor of Sint Maarten before, you the people, through the Parliament of Sint Maarten on October 10, 2010.

On that historic day, Marie Louise and I set out with you on a new journey into unchartered waters.

In my acceptance address on October 10th, 2010, I stated:

My fellow St. Maarteners,

Today we stand at the portal of our new Country Sint Maarten. From personal experience I can inform you that the road to this moment was not smooth. But we made it. With the knowledge I acquired during that journey I can equally inform you that the challenges ahead are immense. The tasks ahead of us are great. We will have to build critical institutions for the functioning of our parliamentary democracy, ……….. from the ground up. …………..

In that regard, there rest on us a great responsibility; a responsibility to build and nurture a stronger Sint Maarten for future generations. With that great responsibility we also have a great opportunity. …… How we address this challenge and approach this opportunity, will determine our success in the discharge of our responsibilities? So far, my remarks of 2010.

Considering the challenges and opportunities, I in taking on my responsibilities as your Governor from the onset established: Excellence in Governance to Serve you the People of Sint Maarten as my vision. A vision aimed at working with government and parliament to provide you, the people of Sint Maarten, the highest possible standard of governance. A vision which I pursued during my two terms in office. I did so with an unwavering belief in and appreciation for Sint Maarten, our people, and our potential; a belief which I continue to have.

During the past few weeks various persons have extended best wishes and thanks to Marie Louise and me for the work we have done. Your well wishes have been heartwarming, and we are grateful for your words of support. It has been an honor and privilege to serve as your Governor for the past 12 years. Throughout my tenure I have been able to depend on the support of many in our community and for that I hereby express my heartfelt thanks to the people of Sint Maarten. Your interest and support have been my primary source of inspiration and motivation.

As I started preparing my address, it dawned on me that our country is as old as my service as Governor. I was there from the very beginning.  I was in the delivery room for the birth of our Country, of Sint Maarten as a country within the Kingdom. And in the past 12 years I have witnessed the stages of growth and the growing pains, I have experienced and shared in the moments of joy and the moments of disappointments, and I have offered guidance, gave encouragement, and where and when necessary warned.

Looking back at my 12-year tenure, it has been an extraordinary journey.

I remember the contacts with many persons in our community through national events, through the Governor’s new year receptions, through my working visits at schools, visits with the elderly, to government departments and others. These are moments and experiences Marie Louise and I will always remember fondly. It was at moments like those that I always emphasized the importance of maintaining a standard of excellence. In that regard the youth has always been my focal point which led to my introducing the Governor’s Youth Awards for Excellence to encourage our youth to always strive to be the best they can be, in preparation for their service to our country. 

Challenges

My 12 years tenure saw many challenges: economic, political, constitutional, and natural. The little remaining water of the Great Salt Pond between the administration building and the Parliament House were often troubled, the transatlantic waters between Philipsburg and The Hague were more often than not stormy, the waters of the Atlantic Ocean brought us the strongest hurricane on record in 2017, the coronavirus pandemic of 2020-2022 flooded our shores like a Tsunami and the 2021-2022 global inflation has been engulfing our purchasing power like a tidal wave. In short, we have had our fair share of challenges. It is my belief that we, like the generations before us, can and will draw from these challenges for the betterment of Sint Maarten.

Screening of candidate ministers

My work as Governor began de facto with the September 17, 2010, elections. Following the elections, I invited the political leaders of the parties that won seats in Parliament for consultation. In so doing, I began my first oversight and guidance of the government formation process resulting in the appointment and installation of the first Council of Ministers of Sint Maarten. That very first formation process was a signal of what was to come. There were some objections to the screening of candidate ministers and there was ship-jumping. From the inception I made the screening of candidate ministers an integral part of the government formation process. It is a standard which is non-negotiable. And because of my persistence the national decree regulating the screening of candidate ministers was signed in 2013. The screening of candidate ministers has remained a bone of contention for some, to this day. The level of contention and objections was only increased in October 2014 when the Kingdom Government issued an instruction by Kingdom Decree regulating the screening of candidate ministers and charging me in my capacity as Governor with the execution of the Kingdom Decree. This caused further controversy in the already strained relations between Philipsburg and The Hague.

For the building of any nation, of our nation, it is essential to set and pursue the highest possible standards of Governance. Ensuring that the holders of public office meet certain integrity and national security standards is fundamental to guaranteeing the quality of government needed for the development of our country. I therefore applied a consistent approach to the screening of candidate ministers at every government formation during my tenure. That was possible thanks to the cooperation of all the formateurs and Prime-Ministers who worked with me during my tenure. I therefore commend them for that and trust that we will continue to uphold that standard.

Political Challenges

Politically, my first and most of my second term were characterized by addressing instability and/or continuity in government. During my twelve years in office there were 4 elections (2014, 2016, 2018, and 2020). I oversaw and guided the formation of 7 Governments (2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2020) and 3 interim governments (2015, 2018, and 2019). Some of the most contentious moments during my Governorship often came following the fall of governments and the call for early elections. The 2012 fall of government was baptized the carnival coupe. The 2013 political conflict was dubbed the Mexican standoff. I established a panel of judges to resolve the constitutional crisis following the 2015 fall of government. My decisions to ratify the call for early elections by the government in 2017 in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma and by the government in 2019 were called into question by officials on both sides of the Atlantic. In that regard I wish to note that the right to vote and be voted for is a democratic standard; it is one of the most sacred rights in our parliamentary democracy and it is our greatest obligation to provide the opportunity for voting to take place.

Looking back, I cannot imagine that there is anyone who would say that the political discord and partisanship of the past 12 years is the standard we want for our political process. As a country it is our obligation to self-correct and steady the political ship as we journey into the next phase of our country’s development. An obligation that calls for us to rise above the narrow confines of our individual interests to the higher and broader concerns of our society. This realization is critical because it seems that too often public and private policies are driven by politics and factors other than those that are in the interest of the people. 

External Shocks

In addition to the issues of instability and/or continuity in government my second term was characterized by the impact of hurricane Irma and the ongoing impact of the Corona virus pandemic. The magnitude of both crises resulted in the need and declaration of state of emergencies, including a hard lock down of the country in the case of COVID-19. The damages caused to our infrastructure and to our financial and economic foundation are substantial. They have weakened the financial position of businesses and households and left our government cash strapped. And the effects are expected to last for a long, long time to come. These two crises are game changers for our country. They emphasize the vulnerability, the limitations, but also the resilience of our people and island. Three factors which we can, which we should, draw from to build a stronger more sustainable Sint Maarten.

National Strategy and partnerships

These external shocks remind us of the urgent need to take stock of the challenges, risks, and threats, to the sustainability of our nation. Critical in this regard are the education gap, poverty, climate change, energy transition and digital transformation, among others. Issues which I have highlighted through my Governor’s symposia to encourage development of a cohesive national strategy. A standard necessary for the long-term development and viability of our nation. Considering the global nature and external linkages of the issues mentioned it is essential that our national strategy focusses on strengthening existing and creating new partnerships within the Kingdom and in our region. Partnerships based on the understanding that global challenges require interkingdom and transnational solutions. We must therefore continue to seek to broaden our geopolitical scope and to foster deeper relations and cooperation with our regional neighbors and partners. Throughout my tenure I have as a result made several official visits to the US and various Caribbean neighbors, from Trinidad in the south to the Dominican Republic in the west to foster geopolitical and trade ties. It is my hope that these and future actions will result in Sint Maarten’s participation in the OECS and Caricom. 

Progress

In the face of our challenges I have seen the flaws of our country but have been gratified to see that there have always been people, politicians and others, ready to roll up their sleeves to find solutions and a path forward. In the face of political discord there were always persons who rose to the occasion to perform their civic duty. To organize fair and orderly elections where our people would go to the polls peacefully. Thereby providing the foundation for the functioning of our parliamentary democracy and progress.

As I indicated in my acceptance address, we would have to build critical institutions from the ground up. Today anchored on the hard work of our dedicated professionals we have reason to say that we have made important strides forward. Encumbered with the challenges we faced; we tend to overlook the progress we have made. It is in those moments that I remember our men and women who every day suit up to keep this country running, our civil servants, our police officers, our teachers, our firemen, our nurses, our doctors, our supermarket workers, our garbage collectors and in contrast to what many think politicians and many others. If there was any doubt as to who constitutes the backbone of our country, COVID-19 reminded us. Because of them and others I can proudly say that Sint Maarten remains one of the best places in the world to live. That is not to say that all is well and that we do not have more work to do to secure the welfare and wellbeing of all residents. It is instead to say that we must aspire not to be one of the best but rather to be the best country in the world to live. And it is to remind us that behind every corporate and public sector decision someone is being impacted and with that the quality of life on Sint Maarten.

In charting our path forward as a people, it is essential that we have a full understanding of our history and heritage. In 2012, I was therefore proud to affix my signature to the national ordinance to declare Emancipation Day a national holiday. It is the celebration of the freedom of all the people of Sint Maarten. It shows the courage of our people to face our complicated history. It is a symbol of our love for freedom, it is a moment in our history very worthy of commemoration and for all Sint Maarteners to stand and get behind.

Looking back on the past twelve years, I reflect with pleasure on our observances and celebrations of Emancipation Day, Sint Maarten Day, the national Day of Prayer and the National Thanksgiving Day when we joined in friendship and unity and reflect our Sint Maarten spirit and nature.

In my acceptance address twelve years ago, I stated:

My fellow Sint Maarteners,

It is my conviction that a bright and positive future lies ahead if we can develop a people centered vision for Sint Maarten.

I still hold that conviction.

Today 12 years later we stand at a transition point in our young history as a country. We are witnessing a changing of the Guard as my successor, Mr. Ajamu Baly, prepares to take office on October 10, 2022. In doing so we can look ahead with and build on the experiences of the past twelve years.

Madam Chairlady, Members of Parliament,

To the people of Sint Maarten, I wish to remind you that our nation is as good as we are and that it will go as far as we take it. We know what worked and what failed.

We know that political instability, ship-jumping and putting personal over public interest failed us.

We know that unity, solidarity, and cooperation served us well. We know that our systems of checks and balances served us well. Let us therefore embrace the future with that knowledge and stand together. Let us support and stand behind my successor.

In closing, as I said on October 10, 2010, Marie-Louise and I set out with you on a new journey into uncharted waters. In those twelve years a lot has happened. It has been my honor to serve you as your first Governor and thus constitutional head of Government on behalf of the King. A true privilege as a son of the soil and patriot to help build Sint Maarten in its formative years as a country within the Kingdom.

I have been able to perform my duties thanks to the support of many persons over the years. And to all of them I hereby extend my sincere thanks. In particular, I wish to publicly thank the staff of my cabinet, members of my extended cabinet who I could always call on, the members of the Governor’s transition committee for their tireless work, the civil servants in government who I have been able to count on, the chairpersons and members of parliament, the prime ministers and ministers who I have worked with, my siblings who were always there in the background and you the people of Sint Maarten. You, your interest kept me inspired.

Finally, I am grateful to my wife, Marie Louise, my sounding board, right hand, confidant, and most valuable support.

And after all is said and done, I know that I made it through by the grace of the Almighty God. Because as the first Governor of our new country most things were a first for me and history will show that on several occasions Sint Maarten broke new constitutional ground. And I always turned to God for wisdom, courage, and direction. 

Thank you,

God Bless You,

And May God Bless Sint Maarten and Protect its coast.

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Richard Santaga wins 2023 SHTA Event Calendar Photo Contest

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Out of 16 submitted pictures for the 2023 Event Calendar Photo Contest, a winning picture was selected today by the St Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA).

The association congratulates Richard Santaga with his beautiful photograph capturing four colorful sailing boats on a sunny St. Maarten day. The SHTA would like to thank all candidates who participated in the contest and sharing their art.

With his winning picture, Mr. Santaga wins a weekend stay at The Azure Hotel & Art studio, donated to this special cause by the Hotel.

Santaga’s picture will be one of the 12-month images on the Event Calendar 2023, features also in VISIT Magazine, the official in-room magazine of SHTA, exclusively distributed to SHTA member hotel rooms.

To qualify, the photo needed to portray the island’s attractiveness through landscapes, culture symbols or art. Amongst other sent in photos, displaying the iconic Front Street, nature, night views portraying the lively St. Maarten nightlife, beautiful beaches and many more impressive locations.

The Calendar is used throughout the island and beyond for sharing the island’s liveliness. To reserve your free copy of the Event Calendar 2023 please do so at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Lions Partner with PSS in Support of Eyeglasses Recycling Program

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Lions International have recognized the urgent need for corrective lenses and collect usable glasses in their communities to support the Lions Recycle for Sight Program. Refractive errors can be easily corrected with eyeglasses, yet millions living in low- and middle-income countries around the world lack access to basic eye care services.

Here at home, the St. Maarten Lions Club have been for years collecting used eyeglasses for shipment to Lions International Recycling Center in Ohio, United States. Health & Wellness Committee Chair, Lion Jimmy Challenger: “Due to external market shocks, including the COVID19 pandemic, shipping prices have increased, making it more costly for our Club to continue its efforts to send collected used eyeglasses. We contacted Postal Services St. Maarten, now a partner in service, covering part of the shipment expenses.”

Director of Postal Services St. Maarten (PSS), Ms. Marinka Gumbs: “Eight boxes containing a combined number of approximately 1,908 used glasses were shipped and we can confirm that they arrived safely to their destination at the Lions International Recycling Center in Ohio for processing. As PSS continues to further improve its services to the community of St. Maarten, from time to time we participate in community projects that add value. We know that these recycled glasses will someday aid in improving someone’s sight and enable them to go about their daily lives with clearer vision.”

Lion Jimmy Challenger continued: “This Lionistic year’s theme is “Seeing Through the Eyes of a Lion”. We thank St. Maarten Postal Services for their contribution, supporting this initiative. We are also pleased to inform the community that Postal Services St. Maarten is now an official collection point for dropping off used eyeglasses. We encourage everyone to support as we aim to improve the quality of life of vision impaired persons here at home and throughout the world.”

The St. Maarten Lions Health & Wellness Committee Members, remain available for any additional information that may be required on collection points throughout the island.

LIONS recycle eye glass box

Picture of Eye Glasses Drop Box placed at PSS St. Maarten.

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SER Sint Maarten presents 2021 Annual Report to the Prime Minister

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Social Economic Council of Sint Maarten (SER) presented its 2021 Annual Report to the Honorable Prime Minister, Silveria E. Jacobs on Wednesday, September 28. SER Chairman Damien Richardson and Acting Secretary-General/Senior Policy Advisor, Sharon Arnell presented the report to Jacobs. The 2021 Annual report provides the history of the advisory body dating back to May 2011, as well as an overview of the activities, achievements, and financial information.

On May 1st, 2021, the SER celebrated its 10-year anniversary. The SER was established on October 10, 2010, by organic law, the National Ordinance Social Economic Council (AB 2010 GT no.19). However, the advisory body became operational on May 1st, 2011. The year 2021 proved to be a challenging year for the SER, the Board was appointed in February 2021, however, due to various factors the board meetings resumed in August 2021.

Despite the delay and limited activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the SER provided the government with three solicited advices, one regarded the Draft National Ordinance changing the National Ordinance Sickness and Accident Insurance in relation to adjusting the wage limits and the other advice concerned the one-time minimum hourly wage increase.

Both advice requests originated from the Ministry of Social Development, Public Health, and Labor. The SER also conducted research on the Cost of living in Sint Maarten. This advice request was received from the Minister of General Affairs. In addition to the three (3) solicited advice from the government, the SER received three (3) advice requests from Parliament. The advice requests received were from Member of Parliament, the honorable M. Gumbs of the Party for Progress (PFP), Independent Member of Parliament, the honorable S. L. Duncan, and from Parliament’s committee of Kingdom Affairs and Interparliamentary Relations submitted by Member of Parliament the honorable S. Biljani.

The SER has documented its history as the advisory body accomplished a few milestones despite its challenges. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic the SER managed to keep its activities going, the board meetings and stakeholders’ consultations were conducted online as were meetings with international organizations and the SERs within the Dutch Kingdom.

“As an advisory and consultative body of employers’ representatives, employee representatives, and independent experts, the Social and Economic Council aims to help create consensus on socio-economic issues,” SER said in a press release. SER’s advice is guided by the objective to focus on social prosperity in its widest sense with the aim to provide the country and its citizens with a good quality of life. This includes not only material progress such as increased affluence and production, but also social progress such as improved welfare and social cohesion. For more information on the 2021 Annual Report and the history of the SER, please visit our website www.ser.sx

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Hurricane Ian Disrupts Cruise Ship Call

PORT ST. MAARTEN – Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) Norwegian Getaway has cancelled its port call for Tuesday, October 4th due to the passing of Hurricane Ian and its impact on Florida.

Norwegian Getaway was scheduled to depart Port Canaveral on September 29 on a nine-night voyage.

Other destinations impacted by the cancellation are Great Stirrup Cay, Antigua, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, and the Dominican Republic.

A number of cruise lines have altered their planned itineraries at homeports such as Port Miami, Everglades, Tampa, Jacksonville and Baltimore, due to the passing of major Hurricane Ian and the damage that it has caused throughout certain parts of Florida.

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Alarming amounts of single-use plastics collected during ICC 2022

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On Saturday September 25th, more than 100 volunteers attended this year’s International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) at Little Bay Beach & Pond, near Belair, hosted by the St. Maarten Pride Foundation, in collaboration with Environmental Protection in the Caribbean Sint Maarten (EPIC). A total of 1480.5 pounds of trash was collected, of which 692.4lbs were glass and plastic bottles. This was excluding heavy construction material also found during the cleanup.

Massive amounts of plastic bottles were found hidden amongst the mangroves surrounding Little Bay Pond. “It looks like a never-ending sea of plastic,” various volunteers commented, who ventured knee-deep into the pond to pull out litter and debris. EPIC will continue cleanup efforts on Sint Maarten in the months to come. Communities who would like to organize a cleanup are encouraged to reach out to the Foundation.

Volunteers collected data using the Clean Swell app, recording the items they found and also separated plastic and glass bottles during the cleanup, which were picked up by Meadowlands for recycling. Riddhi Samtani, who coordinated the event on behalf of the PRIDE Foundation and EPIC, said: “Thank you to all who spent their Saturday morning to support and volunteer at this year’s ICC! Today you helped clear large amounts of litter to protect our environment and assisted in ensuring that we have the data at hand to advocate for more environmental protection and activities.”

Many community groups, businesses, and students from schools supported by volunteering for the cleanup such as: Hillside Belair Foundation, National Recovery Program Bureau (NRPB), St. Dominic School, Learning Unlimited, Alpha Leo Club, Interact Club, St. Maarten Academy, Milton Peters College, Cay Hill Community Council, Police Force of St Maarten, staff members of the Ministry of VROMI and many other individuals.

EPIC partnered with the Hillside Belair Foundation who started the cleanup in the Belair neighborhood to collect additional litter in their community, later joining the wider group. Meadowlands provided assistance with waste collection and supporting volunteers to better access littered areas. Several businesses also donated prizes toward the cleanup to reward volunteers; which will be presented to winning teams next week.

The International Coastal Cleanup, an initiative by the Ocean Conservancy happens annually on a global scale. Going back to 1986, the Ocean Conservancy estimates that 350 million pounds of trash has been removed from global beaches and waterways since the event began. Sint Maarten has been participating in the International Coastal Cleanup annually for over 20 years.

The cleanup is also part of EPIC’s “Why do we litter? – Sint Maarten” project funded by R4CR. During the cleanup volunteers collected valuable data to identify littering challenges in various neighborhoods on Sint Maarten. With this data EPIC aims to formulate recommendations and sustainable actions to improve waste management on Sint Maarten.

Updates about this project and additional cleanup dates can be found on EPIC’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/epicislands. For more information or inquiries into collaborations, please contact the Project Coordinators at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

EPIC Sint Maarten is a non-profit organisation founded in 2007 with the mission of protecting the Caribbean environment through research and community-based action in Sint Maarten. This project, “Why do we litter – Sint Maarten?”, is funded by the Government of the Netherlands under the Sint Maarten Trust Fund, implemented by Resources for Community Resilience (R4CR), administered by VNGI, and overseen by the World Bank. For more information about EPIC’s work visit: www.epicislands.org.

EPIC garbage in the trees

 

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Ombudsman organizes round table discussion on poverty and data gathering

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The lack of data and its effects on proper and effective government planning and policies has been identified in various Ombudsman reports. In the Home Repair report, published in 2019, the overall lack of data in reference to post disaster recovery planning was identified as bottleneck.

In its verdict of 1 November 2022 regarding the temporary national ordinances, in connection with cuts to the employment benefits of (semi) public sector workers, the Constitutional Court also alluded to this fact in relation to the lack of a poverty line. Specifically, the court noted that Sint Maarten has not established a poverty line.

The court therefore assumed in its ruling that the subsistence threshold or poverty line is lower than the statutory minimum wage, although it is not certain to what extent this corresponds with reality, due to governments lack of concrete data.

In a recent survey conducted by the Ombudsman in preparation for the aforementioned court proceedings affected persons were requested to rank their present quality of life (the degree to which an individual is healthy, comfortable, and able to participate in or enjoy life events).

Approximately 50% of all persons affected by the national ordinances participated in the survey. 87 % of respondents indicated that their quality of life was poor or average, (just) 14% indicated that their standard of life was good or very good. While not a scientific poll, the survey paints a troubling picture, which is an indication of the level of (hidden) poverty on our island.

To discuss these topics, the Ombudsman is organizing a round table discussion on poverty and data gathering on Monday, October 3, 2022, at the Simpson Bay Resort Marina and Spa (Royal Ballroom). The central question during the discussion will be: ‘What type of data is required, to influence proper decision-making on poverty?’

Professionals have been invited to share their perspectives on the subject: the department of Labor Affairs and Social Services, department of Statistics (STAT), Sint Maarten Anti-Poverty Platform, Sint Maarten Development Fund (SMDF) and the Social Economic Council (SER). Various stakeholders, including government departments and civil society, have been invited to participate in the discussion a well.

The Ombudsman is looking forward to a productive discussion and the participation of all invitees on these important topics.

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PJIA AIRPORT WELCOMES ARAJET. NEW FLIGHTS BETWEEN SANTO DOMINGO (SDQ) AND SXM

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - On Tuesday September 27, 2022, Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIAE N.V.) officially welcomed Arajet Airlines to St. Maarten with a symbolic inaugural ceremony. Arajet will have two (2) weekly flights between St. Maarten (SXM) and Santo Domingo (SDQ), offering non-stop services from St. Maarten to the Dominican Republic. On Tuesdays and Saturdays, the airline will be using a Boeing 737 MAX-8 with a seat capacity of 185. This venture serves as a part of Arajets’s growing network out of the Dominican Republic.   

Ben van der Klift, CFO of Princess Juliana International Airport comments: “Today, I’m very pleased and honored to welcome Arajet to our airport and the island of St. Maarten. Arajet is an important addition for our hub function to increase St. Maarten's connectivity in the Caribbean. In addition, the entire island will benefit from this route development. There will be more tourists coming to our island and the people of St. Maarten have even more choices when they want to fly to Santo Domingo.” 

Victor Pachego Mendez, CEO for Arajet reacted, “We are excited to start operations to Princess Juliana International Airport. St. Maarten is one of the top destinations in the Caribbean, and the launch of direct, low-fare flights from the Dominican Republic will attract more tourists, increase connectivity, and offer our guests the opportunity to experience our warm and distinctive Dominican customer service, flying in an environmentally friendly fleet of a new and modern 737 MAX-8.” 

Acting Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transportation & Telecommunications (TEATT) Omar Ottley said, “The Dominican Republic and St. Maarten share in a long history of trade relationships and the family ties that bind us, has favored both countries for many years. The Dominican Republic has a vast number of travel enthusiasts whose visit will further enhance our economic model as we continue to grow.

Arajet’s decision to include St. Maarten as a preferred destination as it expands its airlifts throughout the Caribbean is a true indication of its trust in our Country’s service cultural standard. We welcome Arajet and its staff and thank the Airline’s management team for placing its confidence in our island. We look forward to a mutually beneficial relationship with the hopes to see increased airlifts over time,” concluded Ottley.

image 27

L - R: Chief Strategy & Business Development Officer Arajet, Nacim Yala

Acting Minister of TEATT the Honorable Omar Ottley

 

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KIDZ AT SEA SXM COASTAL CLEANUP PROJECT OFFERS “DISCOVER SCUBA DIVE” YOUTH DAY

SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) - Kidz at Sea’s SXM COASTAL CLEANUP program invites St. Maarten youth of the ages 12-21 years old to a DISCOVER SCUBA DIVE pool day on Saturday the 8th of October 2022.

Come join us for a FREE introductory session which will last about 3 hours.

Guided by our dive instructors you will learn the basic skills of SCUBA diving and get to practice breathing underwater in the swimming pool.

The Nature Foundation Sint Maarten will be on hand for an environmental discussion, highlighting points on how we can collectively reduce single-use waste.

There will be several different start times during the day. Space is limited, so please note that advance REGISTRATION is a MUST, and can be done via WhatsApp on +17215267463 or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. .

This community outreach is part of Kidz at Sea’s “SXM Coastal CleanUp” program which teaches a growing team of local youth how to scuba dive and perform underwater cleanups, to maintain a clean environment free of hurricane debris and litter so that our marine life, as well as our population, can enjoy the beautiful natural habitat that our island has to offer.

This project is part of R4CR’s rebuilding of a stronger and cleaner Sint Maarten under its Trust Fund (administered by VNGI and overseen by The World Bank).

KIDZ AT SEA POOL

KIDZ MICR0816

 

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US Party submits a Law to Curb High Unemployment Rate among Young People

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On Thursday September 22nd, 2022, the Leader of the United Sint Maarten (US) Party Mrs. Pamela Gordon-Carty accompanied by party President Mr. Cecil Nicholas and Secretary Mr. Khalil Revan presented a new law to curb the high rate of unemployment amongst young people to the Chairlady of Parliament MP Grisha Heyliger Marten.

The US Party Leader Mrs. Pamela Gordon-Carty continues to fulfil her promise by submitting laws to parliament despite not having representation in parliament after expelling MP Chanel Brownbill from the party.

“This is the third law that the US Party has submitted to parliament in recent months and it shows our commitment to improving the lives of the people in country St. Maarten,” said Gordon-Carty.

The proposed law will focus on recent college graduates and students seeking employment for the first time. The goal is to lower the unemployment rate among young people and give incentives to businesses that hire young adults.

“As a business owner for over 26 years and as an Accountant and Tax expert, I have a good understanding of the challenges faced by businesses on St. Maarten,” said Gordon-Carty. “As business owners we are facing challenging times, but we are also strong contributors to the well-being of the country. Unemployment contributes to the deterioration of the country’s social fabric and places added pressure on families and government. This proposed law will alleviate some of that pressure by incentivizing businesses through tax breaks, a win-win for everybody.”

“The proposed law entails that all businesses on country St. Maarten from large to small (excluding micro) be subjected to a yearly mandatory quota of hiring a first time youngster between the ages of 18 to 26 that is unemployed, or a recent graduate whether on island or coming home from studying abroad. As an incentive businesses that comply will be able to declare 35% of the young adult’s annual salary as a ‘donation’ and get reimbursed. Functions that require a particular expertise is also included as long as the young employee is a graduate in that area and was born on St. Maarten,” continued Gordon-Carty.

Gordon-Carty thanked the public for their continued support and encourage them to continue to interact with her party as it goes a long way in helping them to prioritize and focus on submitting laws that can have immediate and long term impactful effects on their daily lives as well as improve social conditions in the country. The business community were also encouraged and invited to interact with the party via its Facebook page United St. Maarten Party to express their sentiments and share constructive advice. “It is time for us to seek solutions together in order to secure a bright future for the country,” concluded Gordon-Carty.

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