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SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) – Leader of the People’s Progressive Alliance (PPA) Gracita Arrindell said on Thursday in a statement: “We are pleased to announce the appointment of Mrs. Leandra Cijntje- Leslie as our new Party President. In a recent board meeting the members, which included past President and Founder of P.P.A Party Mr. Don Hughes, approved the appointment of Leandra to this critically important function.

“Also welcomed to the party ranks as a new board member is Mr. Tones de Weever. Both new additions to the board comes at a critical time of the current electoral process. It is Time to pass the gavel to the next generation of political leaders who have Sint Maarten’s best interest at heart. As party leader I am truly grateful for this opportunity to introduce Leandra to the public of Sint Maarten.”

Arrindell said: “Politics of all levels and policies are two major interests of Leandra. For these reasons, she has committed to two goals, informing and emancipating people. She devotes herself to projects that are aimed at improving and making our society more sustainable, and that offers everyone an equal opportunity to develop. 

“She completed a Bachelor in International Public Management in The Hague. This has created a good foundation in international relations, political science, policymaking, economics, and organizational science. After which she completed an MSC in Public Administration. She minored in development cooperation/ and political communication. She furthered specialized in economics and governance, evaluating and creating public policy.    

“In addition to her schooling, she has always worked for a better society and people's position. Post-Hurricane Irma, She worked as an Operation Officer at the UNDP. The UNDP short project repair 76 roofs in the local community post-Hurricane Irma.  

“Aside from her passion for policy, she is also a proud entrepreneur with five years of leadership and management experience in her own cleaning company, IS Cleaning, in the Netherlands. ISCleaning opened in 2014 and relaunch as a VOF in 2016. Alongside her brilliant partners, she has brought new heights innovation to the cleaning industry.”   

Gracita continues: “Leandra’s future endeavors include the completion of her second Masters in Business Administration and to the creation of a foundation for St. Maarten that focuses on innovative policy solutions (Think Tank) in her fight to pursuit development and sustainability for the island of St. Maarten.”  

PPA leader concludes: “The board will have a very active role in the future of the P.P.A party going forward, with one of its goals to reconnect and maintain a structural and community based relationship with the citizens in the districts. We support Leandra as she plans on using the platform of PPA to further her political ambition. Her plans with the PPA is continuous it's growth and service to the community even after elections.

“It is time to refocus our efforts towards improving the living and working conditions of our districts, by extension, improving the lives of our people. P.P.A is here to stay and will steadily progress under the leadership of a new generation based on values such as hard- honest work. That is a legacy worth fighting for. Nothing good comes easy. We wish Leandra, Tones de Weever, their families and friends only the best going forward. Congratulations. God Bless you.”


St. Maarten Academy PSVE Hosts Successful Open House

SINT MAARTEN (CUL DE SAC) - The St. Maarten Academy P.S.V.E campus hosted its Open House on November 7th, 2019 from 8:00am - 12:30 pm. There was a total of 11 schools which participated with extremely positive feedback. In addition to more than 300 students, welcomed by a medley of songs on steel pan by student Tyler Percival, six grade teachers and parents spent the school day at the school’s facilities, listening to and participating in interactive presentations and exhibitions at some 14 learning stations.

Guided by the bell, attendees experienced interactive tours of the campus, ushered by students who served as the school’s ambassadors. Teachers and students from the various departments in the school showcased and promoted their respective content areas.

During the interactive tours, the school’s business department showcased two of their locally created business concepts, “Slushy Joe’s”, which sells frozen fruity drinks and “Abigail’s Flavored Popcorn”. These two business ventures received rave reviews as the samples they shared throughout the day were enjoyed. The two businesses were developed and managed by the business students and mentored by business and care teachers. The St. Maarten Academy PSVE, encourages the entrepreneurial spirit with its “Create your own product” initiative.

The attendees were very impressed with the presentations, the day’s organization and the programs being offered at the institution of learning. One parent stated that “they have been to other open houses in the past but have never experienced anything like what they experienced at this event.” A primary school teacher stated that “with all the negative news about the school in the media”, they never knew the school had so much to offer students. A former student, who visited in her role as parent, stated that the school upgraded tremendously in comparison to the time she attended the high school.

The coordinator of the event, Mr. Travis McQuilkin stated that it was important for the primary school students to understand and experience how it felt like to be at St. Maarten Academy P.S.V.E for a day, in which we call the “6 graders high school simulation day”. Therefore, we made arrangements for the students to spend the entire day going from class to class. In addition, the sixth graders got an insight into how lessons are given in the classes.

The principal of the school, Mrs. Lavern Nelson considers the event to be a great success since its objective was achieved. She stated that the objective of the Open House was to highlight the business campus’ core subjects and curriculum to the 6th graders, their parents and the general public. The intention, she said was for the group 8 students to experience the high school routine, by moving from learning station to learning station guided by the bell. She was very pleased with her entire staff for a job well done. “Open House was totally a team effort engaging our school board, our staff and our students. This was also a collaborative venture between the business community (Telem, Motor World and SZV) and the school. The partnership symbolizes a great working relationship between the school and the business community, as internship within the business community is a key component of the school's educational program.

The principal expressed gratitude to the school board, under the leadership of Mr. Roland Duncan, the business community specifically Telem, Motor World and SZV for donating keep sakes for all attendees, school managers, teachers and students of all primary schools that participated, the school’s students who served as ambassadors, Mr. Travis McQuilkin for coordinating and our very hard working staff for making our open house a success.

The vocational sector of the St. Maarten Academy was founded in October 1999. The school functions under the auspices of the Foundation for Academic and Vocational Education (FAVE), its School Board. The students in the first two years (Form 1 and Form 2) follow the Basic Secondary Education Program (BSE or BAVO), which offers 14 subjects. Since August 14th, 2018 the school received approval from the Honorable Minister of Education Mr. Wycliffe S. Smith to participate in the pilot of the CCSLC at the BSE level.

After BSE, students flow into PSVE or VSBO at Form 3 for a two-year program which ends with sitting an external examination at the end of Form 4. The sector program offered at St. Maarten Academy is Economy with specialization in “Administration and Commerce.” The two streams available are: Praktische Basisgerichte Leerweg (PBL) and Praktische Kadergerichte Leerweg (PKL) - Practical Basic Level (PBL) and Practical (PKL).

Parents, students wanting to enroll at our school can call 548-4821, or visit the school's Facebook page for more details.






CBCS Opens Financial Education Month

SINT MAARTEN/CURACAO - This month, the Central Bank of Curaçao and Sint Maarten’s (CBCS) organized its first Financial Education Month. For this project, the CBCS collaborates with Fundashon Negoshi Pikiña (FNP), a foundation with proven know-how, experience and success in the field of financial education and entrepreneurship.

The goal for this month is to discuss money matters as broadly as possible with a special focus on building financial resilience within the community. The role and importance of the CBCS to the financial system and the community at large will also be explored.

The Financial Education Month, from the 1st to the 30th of November, will feature events for primary, secondary and tertiary-school students, entrepreneurs and the general public. The first week will feature interactive lectures at several primary schools, delivered by CBCS personnel.

Topics that will be addressed are: 1) the history of money (bartering and the importance of money) 2) the different functions of money: medium of exchange, store of value, and unit of account 3) the role of the CBCS (e.g. the difference between a central bank and a commercial bank) and 4) does money make you happy?

These lectures are part of the bigger “Nos Komunidat” project by FNP, that includes lectures from entrepreneurs, employees and parents. In the third week of this month, the CBCS will support several activities within the Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW), since entrepreneurship education is a part of financial education.

During this week, primary school students who participated in the “Nos Komunidat” project, will receive a certificate of participation. Furthermore, there will be a motivational speech, delivered by Mrs. Swati Mandela, the granddaughter of Nelson Mandela.

The fourth week of the Financial Education Month will feature a debate night for secondary and tertiary-school students, who will be debating about 1) the economy 2) entrepreneurship, and 3) financial education.

In addition, CBCS in collaboration with the University of Curaçao (UoC), will organize a webinar on financial literacy and entrepreneurship. During this webinar, three UoC-students will present their research results.

They will have the opportunity to discuss these results with other students from the Caribbean region, Latin America and Europe. The CBCS’s aim with this project is to make a positive contribution to financial self-sufficiency and financially responsible behavior in the communities of Curaçao and Sint Maarten.

For more information on the Financial Education Month and other financial-education presentations organized by the CBCS, please contact the CBCS by e-mail at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Please visit the CBCS website at as well as the official CBCS Facebook page to stay informed of all events being organized.

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‘Mystery shoppers’ to tackle discrimination in housing sector

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Mystery guests posing as house buyers or prospective tenants are to be recruited in an attempt to stamp out discrimination in the housing market.

Various studies have shown that discrimination is rife in the sector, but no records are kept of how many complaints are received. A recent study in Utrecht found that 90% of letting agents were prepared to allow landlords to discriminate against tenants because of their sexuality or ethnic background.

Junior infrastructure minister Stientje van Veldhoven set out plans for the mystery guest scheme in a letter to parliament on Monday. She said there was a ‘serious problem that needs to be tackled forcefully’.

Landlords, estate agents or agencies that are found to be illegally screening out people looking for accommodation will be reported to their professional body. The government parties D66 and VVD, as well as opposition groups Labour (PvdA) and GroenLinks, have backed the plan.

However, researchers at Radboud University in Nijmegen have cast doubt on the effectiveness of the scheme. Mystery guests will only be able to show ‘intention to discriminate’ and not collect evidence of actual breaches, since they are playing out fictional scenarios, the researchers said.

Van Veldhoven acknowledged that the scheme had its limitations, but insisted it had a role to play in ‘raising awareness’ of the problem.



Pre-St. Maarten Day Kickboxing Championship Postponed. Organizer criticizes lack of support for local champ

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The planned pre-St. Maarten Day kickboxing championship scheduled for this weekend has been postponed, the organizer announced yesterday.

The event, titled ‘No Mercy Kickboxing’ and sanctioned by the World Full Contact Association (WFCA), a kickboxing association based in The Netherlands, was aimed at showcasing a number of local fighters, especially St. Maarten-born reigning Light-Heavyweight kickboxing champion of the world, Omarie Marsham.

The organizing body, Better Opportunity for Talent Foundation (B.O.F.T.), represented by promoter Mr. Milton ‘Bobby’ Ottley, made the decision to pull the event due to low ticket sales, which he attributed to another event being given priority to use the Festival Village on Saturday although he had booked the venue early.

“The Village was not booked before we made a request for November 9. Afterwards I was told that they are using it for an international show. This makes me feel that the powers that be are ignoring our youngsters. Marsham is a world champion and at all costs, he should have had priority. They pulled the plug without calling me to say, ‘Let’s see how we can compromise’,” Ottley stated.

As a result, he was forced to find another location and date for the event, but by then the damage was already done. The attraction of an internationally-acclaimed performer and other free events billed for this weekend shifted the focus from the championship fight, which, according to Ottley, had the potential of not only showcasing local talent, but opening up the market of sports tourism for St. Maarten.

“This event was a great opportunity to promote sports tourism on St. Maarten as it could have attracted visitors from the surrounding islands in support of their fighters. The line-up included not only Marsham from the south of the island, who has a professional record of five fights – three wins, two by knockout, with two loses – but there was also Nicolas Parlanti and female Featherweight category, Elsa Savitri Benichou, who would have been representing the north of the island.”

Marsham holds an amateur background record of 11 fights - 10 wins, seven by knockout, one draw and one loss, and would have been defending his W.M.T.A. World Title belt which he recently won in June in a faceoff against the hard-hitting Ritchie Siebring Aka “The Hitman” from The Hague, The Netherlands.

Other fighters billed for the event included Lennart Blijd from Suriname, Shanice Josephina of Curacao, as well as other amateur kickboxers from around the Caribbean.

Over the months, Ottley said he requested several meetings with government officials to resolve the issue, but to no avail. As such, he had no choice but to postpone the event to March next year. He had, however, applied for subsidy from the government to cover some of the incidental costs, and received confirmation that it will be given to the kickboxing federation, which he said he had no objections to. Up until Friday evening, the funds had not yet been released.


Rotary Sunset Inducts Two Members Bulbaai and James

SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) – Franjesca Bulbaai and Jason James were the two newest members inducted into the Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset on October 21. Francesja Bulbaai, sponsored by Rotarian Micheline Warner, and is employed at health insurance company SZV.

Jason James, sponsored by Rotarian Amanda James, and is also employed at the local health insurance company SZV. Governor Delma Maduro had the honor of inducting two of the club’s newest Rotarians.

The induction took place right after an impactful speech by Governor Delma Maduro on the importance of increasing Rotary knowledge to become a well-rounded Rotarian as well as the importance of engaging club members in efforts to improve membership retention.

Both Rotarians Franjesca and Jason have been identified as assets to the club and embody the motto of Rotary International, “Service Above Self”. From the onset, both Rotarians have made themselves readily available to assist in all projects, attend events and fellowships. They will continue to serve as great members of the organization.

The club would like to once again congratulate Rotarians Franjesca and Jason and look forward to their continued lifelong commitment to the club and their community.

The Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset meets every second and fourth Monday of the month at Carl N Sons Unique Inn and Conference Facilities in Colebay at 7:30pm. The club can be contacted via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or via the official Facebook page at


Police reminds public about Parking ordinance during St. Maarten Day activities

PHILIPSBURG - The busy St. Maarten’s day festivities is upon us, with this in mind, the Police Force of St. Maarten would like to remind the public about the parking ordinances, to insure the free flow of traffic during all the festivities this upcoming weekend

The traffic ordnance states that:

It is forbidden to stop vehicles:

  • in such a way that it impedes freedom of movement more than necessary or jeopardizes road safety
  • on cycle paths, and on footpaths
  • on a bridge
  • in or near a bend and at or near the highest point of a slope, all this unless the view remains sufficiently clear for other traffic
  • at a pedestrian or bicycle rider designated crossing point;
  • at intersections and junctions of roads within a distance of 5 meters from the intersection of the roadside or the extensions thereof.

The Police department is asking the community and visitors alike to keep the Traffic Ordnances in mind to make sure that St. Maarten’s day activities begins and ends on a high note.

KPSM of St. Maarten is without any doubt doing its utmost to protect you, your family and your property during the St. Maarten day celebrations as well as combat crime, police said in a statement on Thursday. (Sint Maarten Police Force)


Grand Reopening Car Show at Motorworld French Saint Martin this Saturday Featuring an Unprecedented 1.9% Credit Mutuel Auto Finance Rate

SAINT MARTIN (MARIGOT) - In celebration of the Grand Reopening of Motorworld’s French St. Martin location, Motorworld, Caribbean Auto and Audi will be hosting a major Car Show at the showroom located in Galisbay on this Saturday, November 9th. Dubbed Le ‘Grand Reouverture Salon De L’Auto, this family event exemplifies that Motorworld French St. Martin is back and, celebrating its economic resilience along with the community.

The French St. Martin showroom will come alive with excitement provided by live entertainment – featuring Kenyo Baly, local DJs, complimentary snacks, and refreshments, plus various activities for the entire family to enjoy. This Car Show also provides the opportunity to benefit from discounted prices and amazing sales promotions, with up to 5,000 euros off on select brands from Motorworld, Caribbean Auto and Audi. Upon purchase, customers also get to receive a free gift of their choice from one of the following items, such as a 43” Samsung Smart TV, Apple iPad, Samsung Galaxy A7 Phone or a 15” Laptop.

Additionally, loan officers from Credit Mutuel will be onsite to provide customers with details on a special auto loan rate of 1.9%, 3 months free auto insurance, as well as up to 100% bank financing – with zero down payment, once customers meet all the necessary requirements. To apply, please remember to bring along valid I.D., pay slips for the last 3 months, bank statements for the last 3 months, proof of address, tax notice, and a recent receipt for home rental and/or mortgage payment.

Motorworld Group invites the entire community to attend the Grand Reopening Car Show: “We are devoted to creating a fun auto shopping experience for everyone and, are happy to offer this at our Motorworld French St. Martin location. This great event is being organized at the perfect time, as we also kick-off the Pre-St. Martin’s Day celebrations,” shares Tariq Amjad, Managing Director, Motorworld Group of Companies   

Don’t miss the Grand Reopening Car Show/ ‘Grande Reouverture Salon De L’Auto at Motorworld French St. Martin on this Saturday, November 9th, from 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM.


ODM: Tuesday marked World Tsunami Awareness Day

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – National Disaster Coordinator/Fire Chief Clive Richardson said on Wednesday, that Tuesday, November 5 marked World Tsunami Awareness Day.

In the last century, Tsunamis according to United Nations (UN) figures, have claimed more than a quarter of a million lives, killing on average, around 4,600 per event, over the course of 58 recorded instances.

To mitigate disaster risks, the UNs Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) put forth a 15-year framework outlining seven clear targets to achieve substantial reduction of disaster risk and losses in lives, known as the Sendai Framework, adopted in Sendai, Japan, in 2015.

In 2019, the Day promotes the Framework’s target to reduce disaster damage to critical infrastructure and disruption of basic services, including hospitals and schools. 

Over 700 million people live in low-lying coastal areas and Small Island Developing States, are exposed to extreme sea-level events including tsunamis, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Investing in resilient infrastructure, early warning systems, and education is critical to saving people and protecting their assets against tsunami risk in the future.

By the year 2030, an estimated 50 per cent of the world’s population will live in coastal areas exposed to flooding, storms and tsunamis.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) describes a tsunami as a series of ocean waves generated by sudden displacements in the sea floor, landslides, or volcanic activity.

“In the deep ocean, the tsunami wave may only be a few inches high. The tsunami wave may come gently ashore or may increase in height to become a fast-moving wall of turbulent water several meters high.

“Although a tsunami cannot be prevented, the impact of a tsunami can be mitigated through community preparedness, timely warnings, and effective response.”

For a destructive force such as a tsunami, the only way is to be prepared. The Caribbean Region is a seismic zone and there are exposed coastal areas.

Fire Chief/National Disaster Coordinator Richardson added that Sint Maarten at the moment is in the process of adding additional resources to its disaster management system.

Additional funds Richardson said would also go towards disaster-proofing critical infrastructure, adding that the rebuilding and reconstruction process should be based on the primary principle of ‘build to last’ and ‘resilience’.

While tsunamis cannot be prevented, the Office of Disaster Management (ODM) would like to offer a source of information – visit - on things you can do before a tsunami that could save your life and the lives of your family and friends.  Go to the ‘hazards’ tab and select ‘tsunami.’  Prevention web is a knowledge platform for disaster risk reduction.

When a tsunami warning is issued, ‘take action!’ Move to high ground; stay out of the water, away from beaches and waterways.

According to the NOAA, a natural tsunami warning may be your first, best or only warning that a tsunami is on its way. Natural tsunami warnings include strong or long earthquakes, a loud roar (like a train or an airplane) from the ocean, and unusual ocean behavior.

The ocean could look like a fast-rising flood or a wall of water. Or, it could drain away suddenly, showing the ocean floor, reefs and fish like a very low, low tide. If you experience any of these warnings, even just one, a tsunami could be coming.

Some additional preparations that you should have in place are: Make an emergency plan that includes a family communication plan and put together a portable disaster supplies kit that is easily accessible and contains basic items you and your family may need in any emergency.

Include your pets in all your preparedness efforts. Since you do not know where you will be when disaster strikes, prepare kits for work and your car, too.  Meet with your family to discuss the plan and why you need to prepare for a disaster. Practice your plan and keep it up to date.

Be a role model. Share your knowledge and plans with friends and neighbors so they can prepare themselves and their loved ones.

The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 was adopted by the UN Member States on 18 March 2015 at the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan.

The Framework aims to achieve the substantial reduction of disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods and health and in the economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets of persons, businesses, communities and countries over the next 15 years.

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