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Detectives of the S.U.R are busy investigating several armed robberies at small grocery stores

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The detectives of the Special Unit Robberies (S.U.R.) have been kept busy investigating several armed robberies. In the last few weeks, there has been a noticeable increase in armed robberies. Remarkably, the suspects are mainly targeting the small groceries stores in the different districts.

In general, the suspects who commit these acts are usually two persons. They are sometimes on scooters and wearing masks.

Seeing this uptick, the police of Sint Maarten find it imperative to educate the public as well as the business owners in an effort to minimize the risk of being targeted by these

criminals. The best way to “deal with” with armed robberies is to prevent them.

An appeal goes out to the owner of the small supermarkets to take precautionary measures to protect themselves by not storing large amounts of cash in the establishment.

Understand that robbers commit crimes because they believe that the payoff outweighs any risk. Robberies usually take place when there’s a lack of planning for emergency situations and when poor cash handling is involved. Without the right security measures, many businesses unknowingly make criminal situations convenient for robbers.

The police will continue to do our part and we will continue to ask the community to assist. Only by working as a unit can we stop the individuals who go into the community looking for an easy payout by committing a robbery. Prevention is always better than finding a cure.

To help you do that, the Sint Maarten Force Communication department has put together some tips that can help your business from becoming a victim of robbery and also how to deal with them in the event a robbery does occur.

Armed robberies usually happen during opening and closing times, as well as lunch breaks. Why? “Opening and closing periods are particularly vulnerable times due to low staffing and

large amounts of cash on hand. Lunch hours are primary times for the same reasons.”

Practice safe cash handling Robbers are after cash, so take the necessary cash handling precautions to minimize risk and loss.

Here are some of the ways to do that:

Avoid having unnecessary amounts of money in your register. Only keep the

amount you need to conduct normal business, and either put everything else in a

safe or transfer to the bank.

Improve visibility having a checkout area that’s highly visible can discourage robbers.

That why it’s best to:

  • Avoid fixtures or signs that can obstruct views of and from the register. 
  • Cover your blind spots using mirrors or cameras. 
  • Invest in good lighting both inside and outside your stores.

(KPSM)

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Open invitation to TelEm Group “FUN Raiser” event Sunday

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - The TelEm Group Personnel Association is inviting company employees and members of the general public to a fun day of activities to help raise much-needed funds for three important organizations on St. Maarten.

The day set aside for the event is Sunday, June 26, 2022 from 5:00 am until 5:00 pm.

There will be a host of activities (Powered by TelEm personnel) including a Walk-A-Thon, a Car Wash, Food, Bake Sale & lots to Drink, Music, wet and dry activities for children and adults alike. There will be lots of shaded areas to beat the heat as well as wet-themed activities to keep children and adults cool also.

Event organizers say live entertainment is being provided, with expected performances by the DJ Tete (11am-2pm), King Vers (2pm-3pm) and Control Band (3pm-4.30pm).

Lots of parking will be available at the APS parking pot adjacent to the government building.

All proceeds from the various activities will be donated to the Art Saves Lives Foundation, Babe Ruth Baseball League and the Men’s Mental Health Organization.

“The FUN Raiser Team is really grateful to all TelEm Group staff who have already offered to donate their time and efforts to organize this fun charitable event,” says Marketing Officer, Adrian Lista, on behalf of the Personnel Association. The idea was well received from the onset and staff has been garnering donations, selling tickets, offering their services to assist in any way possible. This is a team effort and all hands are on deck to ensure it’s success.

“Everyone else can help by turning out to participate in the events with their friends and families and also by helping to spread the word about the event so that we can have maximum attendance,” continued, Adrian.

The organizers say the first event of the day will be the round-the-pond walk-a-thon starting at 5:00 am from the TelEm Group main building on Pond Island, for which a $10 ticket to participate in the event will secure a Tabata Fitness session, light breakfast and a walk-a-thon tee-shirt to mark the occasion.

By the end of the day, the organizers are hoping to collect some sizeable funds from donations to assist the three organizations, all of whom are deserving in their own right. The Art Saves Lives Foundation is helping to shine the spotlight on St. Maarten’s aspiring artists, many of whom want to pursue careers in the Arts. Thanks to the work of the Babe Ruth Baseball league in just one year of being formed, a team of talented players from St. Maarten may be making their way to the Bahamas in July to participate in the first ever Caribbean Babe Ruth tournament – just in time for the upcoming baseball season in August. Funds raised will also go to the Men’s Mental Health Organization to help with the group’s focus on mental health issues affecting men and boys in the St. Maarten community.

“Each of the group’s selected for donations from the proceeds of these events are playing a significant role in the positive development of different aspects of our youth in the community and each are deserving of any support we can give them,” said the group’s spokesperson, Mr. Lista.

“Everyone in the community can help just by turning out and having fun with the team of TelEm Group staffers who will be on hand to ensure a good time is had by all,” said Mr. Lista.

Persons, groups and corporate partners wishing to purchase tickets for the TelEm Group Fun Raiser event are asked to call 611 for further information.

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Saba Island Council in the Netherlands

THE HAGUE/SABA—The Saba Island Council is currently in the Netherlands for a series of meetings, work visits and the year congress of the Association of Dutch Municipalities VNG. Commissioner of Social Affairs, Public Health and Housing Rolando Wilson is also in the Netherlands and joins part of the program of the Island Council, in addition to his own program.

The Island Council delegation, consisting of Chairman and Island Governor Jonathan Johnson, Island Council Members Carl Buncamper, Vito Charles, Eviton Heyliger, Esmeralda Johnson, Hemmie van Xanten and Island Registrar Akilah Levenstone, started its working visit on Monday, June 20 and returns to Saba on Sunday, July 3.

The program includes meetings with the Permanent Committees for Kingdom Relations of the First and Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament, State Secretary of Public Health, Wellbeing and Sport Maarten van Ooijen and Vice-President of the Council of State Thom de Graaf.

Main topics that were discussed with the First Chamber (on Tuesday, June 21) and the Second Chamber (on Thursday, June 23) included: healthcare, connectivity, cost of living, the notary and banking issue, the number of seats in the Island Council, the Kadaster and the modernization of the Opium Law.

A number of work visit take place to various entities and organizations, such as the Weener XL Social Workplace in Den Bosch, the National Institute for Family Finance Information Nibud in Utrecht, Bazalt Housing in Zaltbommel, “Gezond en Gelukkig” (Happy and Healthy) organization The Hague, the Authority Consumer and Market ACM in The Hague, and the National Coordinator for Discrimination and Racism in The Hague.

The delegation will take part in the VNG year congress in Hoorn on Tuesday, June 28 and Wednesday, June 29. On Friday, July 1, the delegation will attend the annual commemoration of the abolition of slavery Keti Koti (Break the chains) in Amsterdam. On Monday, June 27, the delegation has been invited to be present at the round table discussion about the Dutch slavery past in the Second Chamber where Island Council Member Vito Charles will be one of the guest speakers. The delegation had dinner with Member of the Second Chamber Jorien Wuite of the D66 party on Monday, June 20.

SGIS Meeting with the First ChamberThe Island Council met with the Permanent Committee for Kingdom Relations of the First Chamber of the Dutch Parliament on Tuesday, June 21.

SGIS With the Second ChamberOn Thursday, June 23, the Island Council and Commissioner Rolando Wilson met with the Permanent Committee for Kingdom Relations of the Second Chamber.

SGIS At the Raad van StateThe delegation visited the Council of State on Tuesday, June 21, where they met with Vice-President Thom de Graaf and Council Advisor Ron van der Veer.

 

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Public and School Community Invited to Wire Bending Exhibition set for June 23

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Sint Maarten National Commission for UNESCO is organizing a ‘Wire Bending Exhibition’ on June 23, 2022. We are inviting schools and the public to visit the exhibition, which will be held at the Philipsburg Cultural and Community Center from 9 am-12 pm on the said date.  

At the exhibition, the outstanding wire bending artwork of students from Sr. Borgia School, MAC Browlia Maillard Campus, and the Oranje School will be on display. The students, under the supervision of Mr. Lambert Holder, have created works of art that they are very proud of and would like to share with all schools and the public. 

The wire bending project was piloted at the MAC Browlia Maillard Campus afterschool program in September 2017.  It was later introduced to the Oranje school afterschool program in January 2018.  It was then launched in the Sr. Borgia afterschool program in the school year 2021-2022. 

The National Commission for UNESCO is very proud of the work that is being produced by the students in the program and looks forward to introducing this wire bending program to other afternoon schools on the island. This ensures that this aspect of St. Martin's cultural heritage continues to live on. 

unesco another class grp

unesco class group

unesco class grp wire proj

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Nature Foundation and California Academy of Sciences meet with Minister of Education to discuss Science and Nature Education Project

SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) - Representatives of the Nature Foundation St. Maarten and the California Academy of Sciences visited the Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports, the honorable Drs. Rodolphe E. Samuel. The purpose of this meeting was to introduce the Minister to the St. Maarten Environmental Learning Seed Project, a new project born from the partnership between the Nature Foundation St. Maarten and the California Academy of Sciences.

The Environment Learning Seed Project is a pilot project that aims to figuratively plant a seed which will foster nature education and increased awareness of our incredible island biodiversity. It is expected that by planting this seed, our youth and by extension St. Maarten’s community will be more in touch with nature on the island and learn to make more environmentally conscious choices in their everyday lives. The Foundation hopes that this project, which is part of the California Academy of Science’s wide-scale Islands 2030 initiative, will be a stepping stone towards getting environmental education placed more permanently on the agenda.

The California Academy of Sciences, a natural history museum and research institution based in San Francisco, California, aims to regenerate the natural world through science, learning, and collaboration. Academy scientists specialize in a wide range of natural sciences. The team that visited the island has begun work to document St. Maarten’s biodiversity with the intention to share this information with relevant authorities to assist in their environmental decision-making processes.

“We have all come to realize that climate change is real, but it is not yet common knowledge that it is directly connected to biodiversity loss and how humans have treated and are still treating mother earth. We hope that with more attention placed on environmental learning, we can start seeing a shift in awareness and values which will lead to adjusted human behavior and lasting positive changes in our environment” explained Eudoxia Williams-James Education Project Coordinator at the Nature Foundation St. Maarten.

The project is divided into multiple phases. In the first phase, a gap analysis is conducted to get a better understanding of what we are teaching and learning in classrooms and beyond, how we experience nature currently, what resources are used and needed, what is working well, and in which areas teachers and students need more support.

At this assessment stage of the project, listening sessions are conducted with key stakeholders such as educators, students, parents, community members and organizations. The information gathered will be used by the Nature Foundation in collaboration with the California Academy of Sciences and local educators to “build on what is existing” through the development of learning resources that will be of value to schools. After analyzing the information gathered in the second phase, the team will be establishing commonalities and information gaps.

During the input and design phase, the Nature Foundation and the Academy will partner with local educators to co-create resources which will eventually become part of the schools’ learning materials. In the new academic year, a pilot phase of implementation will be initiated, and teachers can be supported via professional development workshops if needed.

Minister Samuel, who holds a degree in Environmental Biology and has done scientific research on local species in the past, expressed his support for this project and advised the joint partners that in addition to benchmarking where we are currently regarding environmental knowledge, it is also important to encourage the development of personal relationships between people and environment.

“Many on the island do not attribute certain values to nature,” said Minister Samuel, “because of their upbringing, their culture or the educational system followed. There should therefore be great focus on helping St. Maarten’s youth build a relationship and personalize their connection to the environment, because this will produce ownership and protection.” Minister Samuel also noted that although there have been many changes in our natural environment, there are still many untouched areas and there is a need to protect these areas.

All parties look forward to future collaborative efforts to educate St.Maarten’s youth and by extension the community at large.

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Prime Minister Silveria E. Jacobs Father’s Day Message

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Today we join the rest of the world in celebrating and honoring Fathers and Father figures. Let us as a community take this time to give recognition and show our appreciation and gratitude to fathers, and show them how much we value and honor them.

Fathers have an important role in our society and specifically within the family structure, as they play an important role in how a child develops and ultimately influence the future of St. Maarten. Over the years, the role of the father has evolved, not only are they providers and protectors, they have become equally involved in the nurturing of their children. This is not a role we should take lightly. Fathers have a role in creating safe and stable environments in which their children can develop, grow and thrive.

I know that there are many unsung heroes out there, fathers who are fully present in their children’s lives; fathers who are loving, supportive, and protective providers of stability that each child craves. I salute you for your commitment to be that role model, that tower of strength, who is able to embrace his feelings and emotions, thereby giving his sons and daughters the example of what it means to be a well-balanced male human.

I take this time to congratulate and salute all the fathers who recognized the value of your presence in and influence on your children’s lives. Strong, loving, compassionate children are needed to grow this nation. To those fathers who may not understand how deeply impactful your love, attention and support are for your children, it’s time to step up and take your role and responsibility seriously.

Fathers and father figures, you are an example for your children and especially for our young men. It is therefore a father’s duty to live a life for our children to follow. It is often said that a father is “A son's first hero, a daughter's first love.” As such, I urge all fathers to never forget the awesome responsibility entrusted to you when becoming a father. As a co-parent, it is imperative to ensure your child feels loved, safe, protected, supported, and encouraged to be free to be his/her own authentic self.

Today, I also take time to remember those fathers who have passed leaving a void in their children’s lives. I urge those of us still mourning that loss to take time to pay tribute to the wonderful father he was. Remember the lessons learned and know that his guiding spirit will always be with you.

On behalf of the Government of St. Maarten, I ask the community to join me in wishing all fathers both at home and abroad a wonderfully blessed and happy Father’s Day. Know that you are valued and needed in the lives of your children. May all fathers continue to have God's blessing and grace.

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GAS PRICE INCREASES ON SATURDAY WHILE DIESEL DECREASES

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Gas prices on the International Market continue to rise, consequently, there is a need to have prices change once again. The last price increase on St. Maarten was on April 11th, 2022.

The Ministry of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications (Ministry of TEATT) had hoped that by now the fuel relief would have been approved and brought into effect prior to any global increases, given the plight of the people.

Unfortunately, this was not possible within the intended timeframe and the Ministry could not delay the price change any longer. As such, the price of gas has seen an increase of 47 cents, while the price of Diesel has decreased with 13 cents.

As of Saturday, June 18, at 06.00 AM, the following changes will be made to the fuel prices at the pump stations: ULG Gasoline Naf.2.822 (Current Price), will change to Naf.3.294 (NEW PRICE); Gasoil (Diesel) Naf.2.693 will change to Naf.2.562 (NEW PRICE).

The Ministries of TEATT, Justice and Finance are working diligently on implementing the promised relief, which should be forthcoming in the week ahead.

The Ministry also wants to remind the public that the price of fuel is influenced by a plethora of factors outside of our control and that as a non-oil producing country, like many others, we will feel the brunt of these external factors.

Additionally, when we compare the increase in the USA where the average price has more than doubled, naturally, as an importing country of fuel, the price of fuel will also be affected on the island.  

“The Government is cognizant that this increase is a large increase, and we are doing everything in our power to prevent such. However, as mentioned previously, given the current level of the World Market Price, we have no choice but to increase same.

“We strongly advise persons to be aware of such, adjust their driving habits (I.e., limit speeding as this consumes more fuel, ensure car is tuned up, drive efficiently (as opposed to back & forth) and/or unnecessary driving. This will assist the amount of times you may have to fill up your tanks.

“In closing, these are challenging times, mainly and especially due to the War in Ukraine (or the Invasion of Russia into Ukraine) and these international developments are beyond our control. We hope and pray that things turn around quickly and that prices return to their normal levels,” according to a press release from the cabinet of the Acting Minister of TEATT.

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CPS provides advice to avoid dehydration due to very warm weather

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – Dehydration occurs when your body loses more fluid than you take in, and for the past weeks it has been very warm which can make you very thirsty.

When the normal water content of your body is reduced, it upsets the balance of minerals (salts and sugars) in your body, which affects the way it functions.

Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department within the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, is advising the community to make sure they drink lots of water and minimize heat exposure where possible.

Dehydration is usually caused by not drinking enough fluid to replace what we lose. The climate with respect to very hot days, at the beach, the amount of physical exercise you are doing (particularly in hot weather) and your diet can contribute to dehydration.

Anyone can become dehydrated, but certain groups are particularly at risk. These include: babies and infants – they have a low body weight and are sensitive to even small amounts of fluid loss; older people – they may be less aware that they are becoming dehydrated and need to keep drinking fluids; people with a long-term health condition – such as diabetes or alcoholism; and athletes – they can lose a large amount of body fluid through sweat when exercising for long periods.

Water makes up over two-thirds of the healthy human body. It lubricates the joints and eyes, aids digestion, flushes out waste and toxins, and keeps the skin healthy.

Some of the early warning signs of dehydration include: feeling thirsty and lightheaded; a dry mouth; tiredness; having dark coloured, strong-smelling urine; and passing urine less often than usual.

A baby may be dehydrated if they: have a sunken soft spot (fontanelle) on their head; have few or no tears when they cry have fewer wet diapers; and are drowsy.

The body is affected even when you lose a small amount of fluid.

CPS advises to drink lots of water to avoid becoming dehydrated.

Consult your physician if you think you or your child is dehydrated.

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FRANK ROTHWEILER STARTS AS INTERIM DIRECTOR AT SEHCF

SINT EUSTATIUS (ORANJESTAD) – “In the past weeks we have been informing you of our intentions to make structural changes to the organization of St. Eustatius Health Care Foundation (SEHCF). These changes are part of our commitment, as the Supervisory Board of SEHCF to improve our organization and as such contribute to the improvement of the healthcare system of St. Eustatius,” the SEHCF said on Wednesday in a media statement.

“We have held discussions and selected, Mr. Frank Rothweiler who has been appointed as interim board of director for at least one year. Mr. Rothweiler has lived in Curacao for over 30 years. He has extensive experience in the health care field and specifically experience in business development and strategic change.

“During his interim period, he will lead the St. Eustatius Healthcare Foundation in line with the new vision and mission and will provide the board, among others, with advice on a definite structure for managing the organization, as well as ensure implementation of actions stemming from the new vision and mission document.

“Mr. Rothweiler started at SEHCF last week, on June 6, 2022, and is looking forward to getting acquainted with the organization and with the community of St. Eustatius. We are also in discussion with a medical consultant who will assist Mr. Rothweiler and our doctors’ team with executing a medical analysis of SEHCF within short.

“We will continue to keep you abreast of our organization's developments and our efforts to improve healthcare for our community. Improving health care on St. Eustatius is a process everyone can contribute to. We, therefore, invite residents to share their experiences and suggestions with us. This can be done via our suggestion box in Queen Beatrix Medical Center or via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We encourage the community to follow us on Facebook for the latest developments and announcements of SEHCF,” the Supervisory Board SEHCF concludes.

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$15,000 up for grabs at InKnowvation: Small Business Fridays

Digital event series returns to help empower entrepreneurs across the Caribbean

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Leading telecoms provider Flow Business is encouraging entrepreneurs in St. Maarten and across the Caribbean region to take their business to the next level by participating in its next event series targeted at small businesses, with $15,000 USD in cash and prizes up for grabs.

Over three weeks, on June 17, June 24 and July 1, Flow Business will once again celebrate Small Business Fridays with its free series of InKnowvation virtual events showcasing inspirational keynote speakers and interactive workshops aimed at providing small business owners with the digital knowhow they need to grow and thrive.

“This is about the barber shops and salons, cafes and eateries, community shops, contractors, entrepreneurs, and all self-starters – whether you’re a team of 10 people or a team of one. These clients may be lesser in size when compared to clients in the enterprise space, however, the contribution of small businesses to our way of life can never be underestimated,” said Nicolas Collette, Vice President, B2B, C&W Communications.

The theme for the series is ‘Pivot to Success: Transforming Your Business for the Digital Age’ and three deserving start-ups will share $15,000 USD in cash and prizes as part of a business pitch challenge.

To take part, business owners should register for the events at flowbusiness.co/events, and they’ll receive instructions regarding how to submit their two-minute video pitch. Entries must be received by Sunday, June 19.

“We’re proud to support Caribbean entrepreneurs with the best connectivity solutions coupled with the essential know-how, practical help and direct investment that provides them with the opportunity to take advantage of this digital age, and ultimately, grow their business and our communities,” added Collette.

“More than 2,500 businesspeople participated in the last series, and we received over 230 entries for the pitch challenge, so we once again invite all small business owners and entrepreneurs to attend and take advantage of this valuable opportunity.”

The first virtual conference from the Cayman Islands takes place on June 17 with Frank Schilling, the founder of Name Administration Inc and Uniregistry, delivering the keynote address.

The second session from The Bahamas takes place on June 24 and the final session from Jamaica on July 1; Marc Farrell, founder of Ten to One craft rum company - which recently brought music artist Ciara on board as a co-owner - and Kadeen Mairs, founder of soon-to-be-listed microlending service Dolla Financial, will be delivering the keynotes respectively.

Other presenters include online business coach and Flow Ambassador, Keron Rose; chief executive officer of Jamaica-based online food delivery service QuickCart, Monique Powell; artist manager for musical acts Sheneesa and Ding Dong, Romecih Major; and TV host and content curator, Yendi Phillips.

To register for the free virtual sessions or the pitch challenge, interested parties should visit flowbusiness.co/events.

InKnowvation: Small Business Fridays is produced in partnership with Tech Beach.

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