Soualiga Newsday Latest News Tue, 26 May 2020 22:44:35 -0400 en-gb Nature Foundation Reports Massive Tilapia Fish Die Off in the Great Salt Pond

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Nature Foundation St. Maarten received reports of a massive fish die off in the channel between Great Salt Pond and Fresh Pond in Philipsburg. On Monday 25th of May, upon arrival at the location an estimated amount of 1000 Tilapia fish already died in the area and were floating in the channel at the Great Salt Pond. A decrease of oxygen levels in the pond water probably caused the massive fish die off. 

The Nature Foundation St. Maarten expects that the lack of oxygen in the water due to rising temperatures, absence of rainfall and an increase of salt concentrations caused the fish die off. In order to survive all fish, use their gills to extract oxygen from water helping them to breath. With a decrease in oxygen in the water, fish will struggle to survive and eventually die. Other factors that can affect the amount of oxygen in the water are lack of water movement, excess waste or certain chemical run-off into the pond. 

“The cause of death of the Tilapia fish may be a result of the dry weather and heat the island has been experiencing. The depth of the salt pond is 3 to 5 feet deep. Thus when the water level is low the heat penetrates, the saline level rises and the oxygen level decreases. Tilapia fish live mostly in murky fresh water ponds. Thus, as mentioned before when the oxygen level decrease and saline levels rise, the fish start migrating towards the Fresh Water Pond where more oxygen is available. The fishes only reach up until the floodgates located opposite the Illidge road roundabout. The floodgates are blocked off so that only a certain amount of fresh water from the fresh pond is let into Salt Pond daily via these gates, causing the fish to die at this location” explained Chief Ranger Etienne Lake. 

The Nature Foundation is also urging the community not to collect or consume the fish from this location. “The water quality is thought to be poor in the Great Salt Pond and it will be impossible to determine how long the fish has been dead. Consuming these Tilapia could affect your health. The incident has been reported to the involved government departments (VROMI), cleanups will be conducted as soon as possible as decomposing fish could cause serious smells and possibly affect the water quality and fish die off further” mentioned the Manager of the Nature Foundation Melanie Meijer zu Schlochtern. The possibility of water quality testing is also being discussed and the Foundation will keep the public informed of any new information. 

A similar incident happened in the area in 2015 and 2013 when several tilapia die-offs occurred probably due to a theorized lack of oxygen in the water in the Great Salt Pond. The area of Great Salt Pond was used to produce salt for export off of St. Maarten in the past. The pond is also connected to the Rolondo Canal, which leads to Great Bay Harbor 

The combination of this incident and the rise of sargassum seaweed on the eastern beaches of St. Maarten are indicators that we have entered the summer season where higher temperatures and a lack of rainfall affect our environment. The Nature Foundation urges the community to stay vigilant in these times and ensure that they are not contributing to the waste water problem by allowing chemical or sewage run off to enter the natural waters of the island. Poor water quality dramatically affects the environment of St. Maarten. 

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]]> (Roddy) Soualiga Newsday Latest News Tue, 26 May 2020 19:14:00 -0400
Public Health MoU to be Signed Soon. Border to Reopen June 2nd

SAINT-MARTIN (MARIGOT) – The Prefecture of Saint-Barths and Saint-Martin stated on Monday that the next phase of de-escalation begins on June 2nd if there are no dramatic changes between now and then with respect to the public health situation on the island.

Fifth and sixth graders returned to classes on Monday which was another phase of the returning to the new normal. This also included the re-opening of beaches and allowing boating activities within the past week.

If the public health situation remains without any changes, the next phase of re-opening takes place on June 2nd when sailing and other nautical activities can take place, but also no more border controls - free movement across the border between north and south.

The aforementioned is dependent on a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) Public Health that is to be signed between the authorities of Saint-Martin and Sint Maarten in the next few days.

The MoU is being finalized by the relevant government agencies between the two Governments.

A meeting took place on May 22nd between the Regional Health Agency of the French side and the Dutch side Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour.

The MoU establishes a common doctrine between both sides of the island, guaranteeing monitoring and control of the public health situation. A follow-up meeting is planned for Tuesday, May 26th, to discuss testing strategies, and contact tracing among other issues.

]]> (Roddy) Soualiga Newsday Latest News Mon, 25 May 2020 00:56:30 -0400
CPS gives Safety Preventive Measures to 225 Construction Workers

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – The construction sector is one area that could restart works in the week of May 11 phase 1 based on the four-phased de-escalation Economic Re-opening Plan. This was enacted as local COVID-19 transmission numbers came down.

Every workplace must have a system of Safe Management measures, to prevent the re-emergence of community cases.

On May 16, nurses from the Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a government department under the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, namely, Nadine Richardson, Shardina Blomont-Frederick, and Alicia Torres and Valone Adams (volunteers), carried out their fifth COVID-19 safety preventive measures information session at the Bouygues Construction site at Pelican Key.

The health and safety of the nation remains a top priority for CPS.

The topics discussed was: what is COVID-19; the origin of COVID-19; signs and symptoms of COVID-19; the differences between isolation and quarantine; what you should do if you suspect you have COVID-19; why it is important to maintain the two meter social distancing; how to prevent contracting COVID-19 by avoiding touching M.E.N. (M=Mouth, E=Eye, N=Nose); proper usage and disposal of masks (surgical, cloth, N95); and the proper way to wash and sanitize your hands.

During the information sessions, information was also provided about why it is important to clean surfaces, door handles and telephones; and about the importance of removing jewelry and watches before washing your hands.

Pierre, Safety Manager at the construction site in Pelican Key, said that he ensures that all measures are taken to protect the workers and other persons that are at the work site, and that these measures are also maintained at their living quarters.

CPS urges businesses to implement safe management practices that will support the safe and gradual resumption of normal economic activities based on the de-escalation plan of the Government of Sint Maarten.

The aforementioned adherence and compliance to safety measures at the workplace supports businesses and creates a safe work environment for employees and customers with the aim to stop the spread of COVID-19 and any infectious disease.

We all must uphold good health and hygiene practices during this COVID-19 crisis.

MinVSA Construction COVID19 Presentation Preventive Measures

Construction workers in a classroom setting being informed by CPS officials about how to protect themselves from getting COVID-19.


]]> (Roddy) Soualiga Newsday Latest News Sun, 24 May 2020 17:11:00 -0400
Minister Samuel Back to School Advice

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - The Minister of Education drs. Rodolphe Samuel issued a public statement with words of advice and encouragement for parents and children who will be going back to school on Monday, May 25th, 2020. The minister encourages the parents to make sure their children have all the necessary protective gear at hand so that the children will be able to abide by all safety and health protocols.

In his statement, Minister Samuel asks for the cooperation of the parents and the students as they "will be part of something new." The minister explained, that many of the students who are in their final academic year will be going to school to sit exams while the students of the other classes will remain at home and continue with their education online. "The school can make use of the extra empty classrooms to accommodate the exam students." the minister said.

"In this way," the minister explains, "teachers can apply social distancing and keep the students safe while they do their test. The task of all of us on Sint Maarten, is to be attentive during these weeks, as we go about daily business."

According to Minister Samuel, school buses will be on the road again. "The traffic in the area of our secondary schools will be heavier than usual, as parents will also be taking their children to school and picking them up," the minister explained. "Buses might take a little longer to load and offload students. With fewer children per bus, you might have more buses on the road. It is important that bus operators, parents, and students apply the health protocol laid down by our professionals. New rules will be in place for the buses."

"Keeping everyone safe, is the most important task for us all." Minister Samuel said. "Everyone is expected to contribute to keeping Sint Maarten healthy. We have to think about ourselves and also on others too. If the students making use of the bus follow the rules, then the bus operators will have less work to do."

"If your child is taking the bus." the minister advises, "make sure you have the telephone number of the bus operator, the bus number, the route of the bus, and the time the bus will pass in your area."

The minister encourages parents to provide their child or children with a bottle of water and a little bottle of hand sanitizer before going to school. "This is to ensure that they all have their own, which will also save time," Samuel said." They should always have it at hand and not wait until they are asked and then have to start looking for it."

The Minister of Education encourages everyone to be cooperative. "Let us help each other to stay safe. Each student should have a little pack of tissue, don’t always wait until the school has it available. When your child return home, remember to apply the same precautions, let the child change its clothes, and take a bath before going through the house," the minister advises.

"As a student it is important to be vigilant at all times and pay attention to what is happening around you. It is important to keep your distance when you are with your friends. Think of yourself and your family at home. Think in advance about your self-protective equipment. Make sure to have a facemask when going to school, and a shield if possible. You are allowed to wear your protective gear in school. Always encourage your friends to wear protective gear as well. When at home, make sure to put your protective equipment where you where you will easily locate it," the minister said. "When receiving personal protective equipment for the first time, make sure to try them on, take a picture in it and see what it looks like. Get used to it at home so that you would be comfortable wearing it."

The Minister of Education urges the parents to be on time, when bringing their children to school and picking them up. Don’t give them the opportunity to hang around for a long time waiting for you. Take a picture of your child’s schedule and keep it in your phone.

Minister Samuel concluded his statement with the following message: "I want to take this opportunity to wish the students much success with their exams. To the parents, teachers, and bus drivers, I also wish them much strength, courage and I urge them to be safe at all times."

]]> (Roddy) Soualiga Newsday Latest News Sat, 23 May 2020 18:21:13 -0400
NOAA says up to 19 named storms, 10 could become hurricanes and up to six category 3+ major forecast for the season,-10-could-become-hurricanes-and-up-to-six-category-3-major-forecast-for-the-season&Itemid=504,-10-could-become-hurricanes-and-up-to-six-category-3-major-forecast-for-the-season&Itemid=504

SINT MAARTEN/CARIBBEAN - An above-normal 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is expected, according to forecasters with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service, said on Thursday. The outlook predicts a 60% chance of an above-normal season, a 30% chance of a near-normal season and only a 10% chance of a below-normal season.

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting a likely range of 13 to 19 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 6 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher). NOAA provides these ranges with a 70% confidence. An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which 6 become hurricanes, including 3 major hurricanes.

The combination of several climate factors is driving the strong likelihood for above-normal activity in the Atlantic this year. El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) conditions are expected to either remain neutral or to trend toward La Nina, meaning there will not be an El Nino present to suppress hurricane activity. Also, warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, coupled with reduced vertical wind shear, weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds, and an enhanced west African monsoon all increase the likelihood for an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season. Similar conditions have been producing more active seasons since the current high-activity era began in 1995.

“NOAA’s analysis of current and seasonal atmospheric conditions reveals a recipe for an active Atlantic hurricane season this year,” said Neil Jacobs, Ph.D., acting NOAA administrator. “Our skilled forecasters, coupled with upgrades to our computer models and observing technologies, will provide accurate and timely forecasts to protect life and property.”

As with every hurricane season, the need to be prepared is critically important this year.

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]]> (Roddy) Soualiga Newsday Latest News Thu, 21 May 2020 22:14:32 -0400
Parliamentary motion places emphasis on human rights in connection with Dutch COVID-19 financial assistance

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Parliament of Sint Maarten in its meeting of May 19th, 2020, passed the following motion regarding financial assistance for the country related to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the economy.

COVID-19 and its human rights dimensions.

COVID 19 is a test of societies, of governments, of communities and of individuals. Now is the time for solidarity and cooperation to tackle the virus, and to mitigate the effects, often unintended, of measures designed to halt the spread of the virus, according to the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner.

Respect for human rights across the spectrum, including economic, social, cultural, and civil and political rights, will be fundamental to the success of the public health response and recovery from the pandemic, the UN Human Rights Office points out.


The motion takes into consideration: That on May 13th, 2020, the Prime Minister of the Netherlands informed the Prime Ministers of Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten of a written draft proposal by the Dutch State Secretary of Kingdom Relations to provide financial assistance to the latter three governments aimed at mitigating the effects of the ongoing COVID-19 situation,

That the Dutch State Secretary of Kingdom Relations in his advice of May 13th 2020 indicated that acceptance of the proposal is due by Wednesday, May 20th, 2020, by 11 a.m. Sint Maarten time,

That the Government of St. Maarten has indicated to Parliament that most, if not all of the conditions proposed by the Dutch Government are equivalent to the ones already being proposed by the Government of St. Maarten

The Charter of the United Nations, and in particular articles 2, 73, 103, resolutions 742 (VIII), 747 (VIII), and 945 (X), the “Statuut voor het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden”, article 93 of the Constitution (“de Grondwet”) of the Netherlands, article 27 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)


The fact that the “State Party to said Charters, conventions and protocols is the Kingdom of the Netherlands,

The implications that the Kingdom of the Netherlands is ultimately responsible for guaranteeing that the Caribbean islands within the Kingdom are able to live up to their obligations under all international treaties and conventions to which the Kingdom of the Netherlands as State Party is a signatory,

That this ultimate responsibility of the Kingdom of the Netherlands does not negate the obligation of the Government of the Netherlands to comply with the international laws governing self-determination, decolonization, and the right of the people of Sint Maarten to a full measure self-government based on absolute equality with the Netherlands as colonizing power,

That the Government of the Netherlands voluntarily, unconditionally, and generously provides financial and other assistance to independent nations outside of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the Caribbean region and beyond,

In accordance with Article 67 of the Constitution of St. Maarten: “Parliament is authorised to represent the interests of Sint Maarten to the Government of the Kingdom and to the Parliament of the Netherlands.”


That the parliament is desirous of fully supporting the Council of Ministers of St. Maarten in its quest to secure financial and other assistance with the sustainable rebuilding and strengthening of the economy of Sint Maarten in the wake of hurricane Irma and the COVID-19 situation for the benefit of the wellbeing of the people of Sint Maarten,


  1. To support the government of St. Maarten’s response to the Kingdom Council of Ministers that most if not all of the content of the proposal was already in the planning to be addressed by the government of St. Maarten.
  1. That the conditions in said written proposal should only be accepted insofar that:
  1. they are not in violation of local Laws, Kingdom Laws, international charters, conventions, and protocols such as those mentioned in the considerations,
  2. they are equivalent to the proposals for solidarity that were already in process by the Government of St. Maarten,
  3. they should be, as has often been advised by the CFT: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely (SMART),
  4. the relevant union and labor representatives have been consulted.
  1. To remind the Kingdom Government of its obligations and responsibilities, as well as that of the Kingdom of the Netherlands as State Party to the international charters, conventions, and protocols as mentioned in the considerations of this motion; Parliament does this in accordance with Article 67 of the Constitution of St. Maarten.
  1. For the council of Ministers to continue dialogue with the Kingdom Government and other relevant partners within the Kingdom with the aim at securing the required COVID-19 related assistance based on the laws, charters, conventions, and protocols as mentioned in the considerations of this motion.
  1. To urge the Kingdom Government to cooperate with the process as listed sub 4 of this motion.
  1. For the Chair of Parliament and the Chair of the St. Maarten Parliamentary Committee of Kingdom Relations to engage relevant experts on the matters related to this motion to provide advice and assistance on conditionalities within the kingdom for mutual assistance within two (2) weeks.
  1. For the Chair of Parliament to bring this motion to the attention of the legitimate legislative, executive, and judiciary branches within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and the United Nations, as well as having it added to the agenda of the IPKO meetings scheduled for 2020,

And goes over to the order of the day.


Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

HC Bachelet bio

Michelle Bachelet Jeria

Who we are?

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN Human Rights) is the leading UN entity on human rights. The General Assembly entrusted both the High Commissioner and her Office with a unique mandate to promote and protect all human rights for all people. The United Nations human rights programme aims to ensure that the protection and enjoyment of human rights is a reality in the lives of all people. UN Human Rights also plays a crucial role in safeguarding the integrity of the three interconnected pillars of the United Nations – peace and security, human rights and development.

UN Human Rights provides assistance in the form of technical expertise and capacity-development in order to support the implementation of international human rights standards on the ground. It assists governments, which bear the primary responsibility for the protection of human rights, to fulfil their obligations and supports individuals to claim their rights. Moreover, it speaks out objectively on human rights violations.


UN Human Rights is part of the United Nations Secretariat, with a staff of some 1300 people and its headquarters in Geneva, as well as an office in New York. It has field presences that comprise regional and country/stand-alone offices. Furthermore, UN Human Rights supports the human rights components of UN peace missions or political offices and deploys human rights advisers to work with the United Nations Country teams.

The Geneva-based headquarters has three substantive divisions:

Thematic Engagement, Special Procedures and Right to Development Division (TESPRDD), which develops policy and provides guidance, tools, advice and capacity-strengthening support on thematic human rights issues, including for human rights mainstreaming purposes; and provides support to the Human Rights Council’s special procedures.

Human Rights Council and Treaty Mechanisms Division (CTMD), which provides substantive and technical support to the HRC and the Council’s UPR mechanism, and supports the human rights treaty bodies.

Field Operations and Technical Cooperation Division (FOTCD), which is responsible for overseeing and implementing the Office’s work in the field.

Dedicated services and sections, which report directly to the Deputy High Commissioner, handle core management, planning, coordination and outreach functions.


The High Commissioner for Human Rights is the principal human rights official of the United Nations. The High Commissioner heads OHCHR and spearheads the United Nations' human rights efforts.

]]> (Roddy) Soualiga Newsday Latest News Wed, 20 May 2020 19:42:55 -0400
Nature Foundation Launches First Eco-Bracelet to show support in Protecting the Environment

SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) - The Nature Foundation St. Maarten presents their first Eco-Bracelets which identifies the carrier as an eco-warrior and symbolizes their commitment to a clean and sustainable St. Maarten, the project is made possible through the generous contribution from the Caribbean Association of Banks (CAB) on behalf of their members.

The Eco-bracelet is made from recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) fabric, which is the primary material used for the production of water bottles around the world. Billions of PET bottles are discarded each year and a significant amount of them become littered in the natural environment, representing one of the biggest waste problems on Earth.  

The first edition of the St. Maarten Eco-bracelet displays the text “Nature is our Future SXM”, which is the slogan of the Nature Foundation, along with an outline of our beloved island. Each Eco-Bracelet includes a flyer explaining what it means to wear the bracelet, how you can continue to support the Nature Foundation and a map of Sint Maarten’s Marine Protected Area and dive sites. 

“We are very excited to introduce the first Nature Foundation Eco-Bracelet and are looking forward to the support of the community in wearing the bracelets. We hope that residents and visitors of St. Maarten will proudly wear the Eco-Bracelets to show their support for nature conservation and protecting of our natural environment” stated the Nature Foundation St. Maarten. 

Eco-bracelets can be ordered now on the Nature Foundation’s website;,  and will be available for scheduled pick-up beginning June 1st, 2020 and orders of 5 bracelets or more can be delivered already. For a contributing donation of $10 one eco-bracelet will be provided, which directly supports the protection and enhancement of St. Maarten’s natural environment.

To increase nature awareness among tourism, the assistance of the business sector is essential, therefore the Nature Foundation offers a retail option for businesses to reach the visitors of our island. Bracelet displays made from up-cycled materials by the Waste Factory will be provide for free by a retail order of 20 or more, for more information businesses interested in retail can contact

Organizations that manage the nature parks in the Dutch Caribbean (Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, Sint Eustatius and St. Maarten) face a structural shortage of financing to fulfil their nature management tasks, the Nature Foundation St. Maarten faces the greatest financial challenge.

On the other hand, nature is the basis for their economic and social development, as they are the key asset for the tourism sector, thereby creating jobs and generating funds for the government from related taxes. Nature also provide key attractions for tourism, cultural and recreational opportunities for residents, food, coastal protection, disaster protection and other services like climate and erosion control and key habitat for biodiversity. 

“The Nature Foundation, with the assistance of the WWF-NL, DCNA and the Wolfs Company, has been working very hard in order to create possibilities to increase sustainable funding for nature management, we are proud to launch the first step in the process, which is the Eco-Bracelet. We also would like to specially thank Ildiko Gilders, Maarten like St Maarten, Caribbean Association of Banks, the Waste Factory and Print & Sign Express for the involvement and their major contribution to make the Eco-Bracelet a reality” notated Nature Foundation’s Manager Melanie Meijer zu Schlochtern. 

The Nature Foundation St. Maarten manages and preserves the nation’s nature areas and natural habitats, provides education and awareness, and conducts essential research and monitoring of species and ecosystems. 

These efforts include Coral Reef Monitoring, Sea Turtle nesting Monitoring, the management of the Man of War Shoal Marine Protected Area, educational and outreach events, and much more. To learn more about what the Nature Foundation does or what you can do to help visit Every donation the Nature Foundation receives goes towards assisting the Foundation support and protect the environment of St. Maarten.

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]]> (Roddy) Soualiga Newsday Latest News Wed, 20 May 2020 11:09:04 -0400
SONESTA RESORTS SINT MAARTEN LAUNCHES PureCare. Will Utilize Anti-Pathogen Technology and Best Practices in their New Sanitization Program. On-Property Doctor and Hospitality Industry Health & Safety Expert Also Available

SINT MAARTEN (MAHO) - Sonesta Resorts Sint Maarten, comprising the all-inclusive, adults-only Sonesta Ocean Point Resort and the all-inclusive, family focused Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, Casino & Spa, today announce PureCare, the company’s new sanitization program ensuring the wellbeing, health and safety of their employees and guests, addressing the concerns of COVID-19.

PureCare has been developed following best practices from the World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), Sint Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA), the Government of Sint Maarten’s Ministry of Public Health, and validated by local experts for maximum efficacy.

Pioneering sanitization practices in the destination, Sonesta Resorts Sint Maarten will use a highly effective and long-lasting treatment, which involves a multi-step electrostatic application and coating process that works to immediately kill and prevent future pathogens from living on treated surfaces. EPA registered and FDA approved for direct contact food surfaces—making it ideal for the hospitality industry—the antimicrobial coating system has been proven to neutralize and constantly reduce pathogens by >99% on treated surfaces even after routine cleaning.

PureCare by Sonesta Resorts Sint Maarten will encompass all areas of both resorts including guest rooms, lobby areas, reception, meetings and convention spaces, fitness center, public restrooms, elevators, corridors, bars, restaurants, fitness center, spa, and kid’s club, as well as the back of house employee-only areas. 

The overall PureCare protocol will include initiatives as follows:
Employee Protocols
Team members reporting for work will pass over a chemical mat to disinfect footwear, go through a thorough disinfection process for clothing and personal effects, and undergo daily temperature checks. Staff will be assigned to fixed shifts that do not meet or overlap during changeovers to contain the spread of a possible infection. All staff will wear personal protective equipment (PPE) including, but not limited to, KN95 masks and gloves as well as face shields for designated positions.

Overall Guest and Employee Safety Measures
The resort has an on-property doctor and a Hospitality Industry Health & Safety Expert trained in mitigating the risks of spreading viruses. An appropriate set of procedures in accordance with Sint Maarten’s Ministry of Health and CDC guidelines is in place should an employee or guest test positive for COVID-19. Further, physical barriers will be placed strategically in high traffic areas including the lobby, restaurants and indoor common areas wherever safe social distancing cannot be maintained, defined at six feet, or two meters, as well as limiting the occupancy in elevators. Physical distancing between guests not traveling together will be encouraged, and guests are required to wear masks whenever appropriate social distancing cannot be maintained.

Welcome/Check in
Guests will be urged to utilize mobile check in and check out to limit front desk interaction, and for those not paying with a mobile app, we have new TAP credit card machines as a touchless option. An infrared surveillance system will take guests’ temperature upon arrival, and whenever accessing certain areas of the resort. Social distancing floor markers will be placed in all high traffic areas and new lobby furniture layout will further support social distancing requirements. Safety screens will be installed at all service desks and one check agent will be assigned at each station that will be disinfected after each shift. Check-in will be moved to 4pm to allow time for enhanced cleaning measures.

Guests will receive sealed welcome packages with contactless room access bracelets, and are further encouraged to use their Smartphones to stay up-to-date on resort information with the Sonesta Resorts Sint Maarten app. Guests will enjoy larger shuttles that will ensure safe social distancing, each fully cleaned after each use, and the exterior of guests’ luggage will be fully disinfected upon arrival.

Restaurants & Bars
The resorts will enable guests to use a QR code when viewing restaurant menus. A redesign of the resorts’ buffet restaurant will eliminate all multi-touch points, manage guest flow and maintain social distancing. All restaurant floor plans will be redesigned to optimize social distancing from groups or families not traveling together, and expanded, outdoor seating will be added to restaurants and bars. A dedicated sanitation staff will be assigned to disinfect tables and chairs and other touch points after each seating.

Accommodations & Hygiene
A welcome amenity kit will include facemasks, hand sanitizer and gloves for guests to use during their stay. All guest rooms will be fully treated with antimicrobial solution with electrostatic application. Non-essential items from the room will be eliminated including magazines, decorative pillows and other items. Pool towels will be placed in room to avoid contact with pool attendants. Guests will be encouraged to use their Smartphones to control their televisions.

Housekeeping staff will wear PPE including masks, face shields, gloves and shoe guards at all times. The staff will follow a strict sanitation procedure and check list to ensure a deep clean of high touch points in all guest rooms including lamps, light switches and electronic controls; handles and knobs on doors, thermostat, closets, drawers, and drapery pull handles; and bathroom surfaces including toilet handles, seats, shower/tub controls and sink faucets. Bath amenities, furniture, hard surfaces, safe, iron and ironing board and in-room beverage amenities such as ice bucket, mini bar, coffee maker will also be paid specific attention. Further, all multi-touch items including, but not limited to, telephones, TV remote controls and alarm clocks will be sanitized and sealed. A thorough steam cleaning and antimicrobial treatment will be done on mattresses and curtains between stays along with a deep clean of bed and bedding including all bed linens, duvet covers, pillow cases and sheets. A clean seal will be placed on rooms after inspection by a supervisor.

The Resort Experience
Lobby and all public area furniture and soft furnishings will be spaced safely according to social distancing requirements and treated with the antimicrobial coating system. Public touch points such as elevator buttons, handrails and door handles will be constantly sanitized, and public restrooms will receive an increased regimented cleaning with HALT, a hospital-grade cleaner. Hand sanitizer or disinfectant wipes will be available throughout the resorts, and at each elevator and the resorts are installing foot door openers where needed, to eliminate touch points and add additional safety measures.

The resorts will feature a larger man-made beach area allowing for comfortable social distancing. All beach and pool sun loungers are serviced with the antimicrobial treatment, are regularly disinfected between use and are placed six feet or two meters apart in sets, so groups traveling together can safely enjoy their time together.

The Serenity Spa will abide by all new hygiene and sanitation protocols, and appropriate social distancing measures, offering a new treatment menu reflecting enhanced safety precautions.

Sonesta Resorts Sint Maarten welcomes guests when they will be ready to travel offering peace of mind that all health and hygiene procedures are in place; a safe haven to ensure the future security and wellbeing without compromising comfort for an enjoyable vacation experience.

Sonesta St Maarten Resorts panorama


]]> (Roddy) Soualiga Newsday Latest News Tue, 19 May 2020 21:11:19 -0400
Minister Richardson to meet Justice Committee of Parliament to discuss draft Penal Procedure Code related to CFATF

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - On Tuesday May 19, 2020 Minister of Justice Anna E. Richardson was scheduled to have a closed-door meeting with the Justice Committee of Parliament, to discuss the pending approval of the draft Penal Procedure Code.

However, due to the requested urgent meeting of Parliament concerning government’s deadline to respond to the conditions posed by the Kingdom government as it relates to St. Maarten receiving financial assistance to cover the cost of the St. Maarten Stimulus and Relief Plan (SSRP), the scheduled meeting has been postponed until Friday, May 22, 2020.

Considering that to date, little headway has been made by various Ministers of Justice and various Parliaments in moving the handling of the Penal Procedure Code forward considerably, Minister Richardson has opted for a different approach by requesting the scheduled meeting of Tuesday May 19, 2020 to be held behind closed door.

Prior to Tuesday’s meeting being requested, the Minister and her legal team reviewed the proposed amendments made by Members of Parliament and considered the proposed amendment achievable. Minister Richardson is of the opinion that further discussions in a closed setting will allow for a more open exchange of views and will lead to all parties reaching consensus.

After which the discussions will then be brought to a public meeting for decision-making and will see the majority of Parliament vote to pass the law. “The deliberations on this draft Penal Procedure have been ongoing for some time now. It is lamentable that to date, the public discussions that were held did not produce satisfactory results. What we have seen is St. Maarten been given a public statement.

“Thankfully, despite being in the same space as it relates to the draft Penal Procedure Code, the FATF matrix was completed and sent on to the CFATF Secretariat in Trinidad and Tobago on April 30, 2020 to further confirm the passing and enactment of the Civil Code and the Penal Code in 2019,” said Minister Richardson.

St. Maarten having submitted the matrix puts the country on a positive rhythm with the FATF regulations and brings it closer to move out of the third round and into the fourth round. Minister Richardson looks forward to attending the CFATF Plenary session in November 2020, gaining a positive review for St. Maarten and thereby applying to move to the fourth round in May 2021 and having the public statement lifted for the country.

]]> (Roddy) Soualiga Newsday Latest News Tue, 19 May 2020 19:44:19 -0400
Minister of Justice visits Police Headquarters

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On Monday morning, May 18, 2020, the Minister of Justice Anna Richardson paid a visit to the Philipsburg Police Headquarters, the law enforcement agency said in a statement on Monday evening.

The Minister, under guidance of the Chief Inspectors B. Gout and D. Baptist together with Head of Operations Glenda Pecht, got a firsthand  opportunity to visit the police station in Philipsburg, the prison, dispatch center as well as other departments within the main police station.

As the new hurricane season is rapidly approaching, the Minister assessed the progress made on the work being done to the police station following the damages caused by the passing of hurricane Irma back in 2017.

The visit was a success and the Minister was pleased with the overall progress and will be making more visits in the future to continue to assess the progress and continuous growth of the organization. (KPSM)

min just visit to police

]]> (Roddy) Soualiga Newsday Latest News Mon, 18 May 2020 19:40:09 -0400
Bertha could form around mid-June

SINT MAARTEN/CARIBBEAN – Crown Weather over the weekend in a long-term outlook said that the next possible tropical weather development after tropical storm Arthur could be mid-June, and the next name in line would be Bertha.

“I think that the next chance for tropical development will be towards mid-June as the next upward motion pulse of the Madden Julian Oscillation pushes into the Atlantic. The current upward motion pulse of the MJO helped to form Arthur and I think that it will help to develop our next tropical system towards mid-June.

“One item of note is that June of 2005, June of 2006 and June of 2007 are all showing up as analogs for this coming June. This is notable because there was a tropical storm that formed in the western Caribbean and moved towards the eastern Gulf of Mexico & affected either the Florida Panhandle or the west coast of Florida in early June in each of those years (Arlene in 2005, Alberto in 2006 and Barry in 2007),” Crown Weather pointed out in its weekend analysis of upcoming weather activity.


]]> (Roddy) Soualiga Newsday Latest News Sun, 17 May 2020 00:57:34 -0400

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - On Friday May 15th, Social & Health Insurances SZV Director Mr. Glen A. Carty addressed near 113 SZV employees in an interactive video conference call. Over the past two months, SZV employees have been working remotely to maintain services to customers.

While daily virtual meetings have already become the norm at SZV, the virtual general staff meeting was organized to have an inclusive exchange with all employees on the global uncertainties related to COVID-19 and the impact on St. Maarten.

SZV employees chimed in during the virtual meeting with recommendations to continue offering online and phone services to customers, cost-cutting measures, the importance of using technology to improve data management, and syncing data with government entities to improve compliance.

Management updates, Q&A and employee recommendations were shared during the virtual meeting, as the organization finetunes it’s plans to transition to the “new normal” that COVID-19 has presented. Mr. Carty thanked and commended staff once again on their commitment, professionalism and teamwork to ensure that SZV could stay ‘open online’ and serve Sint Maarten during this pandemic.

In the midst of the COVID-19 lockdown, about 80% of SZV’s internal operations was restructured and fast-tracked to support staff working from home and online data management. As a result, customer services have remained accessible by phone, e-mail, website and SZV’s Facebook page.

On the topic of phased re-opening of the SZV office, Mr. Carty reiterated to employees that, “proper health and safety conditions come first, and we are busy making sure that this is in place before the first shift of staff can start working from the office routinely again. We will work in a combination of shifts and remotely. COVID-19 will no longer allow us all to be physically in the office at the same time anymore or to physically attend to hundreds of customers a day. We cannot get relaxed about the health and safety guidelines, we must embrace technology to help us keep ourselves, our families and customers safe.”

]]> (Roddy) Soualiga Newsday Latest News Sun, 17 May 2020 20:13:15 -0400
Police is implementing its phase 1 post-COVID-19 De-Escalation Plan. Two stolen vehicles recovered during controls over the past two days

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Police Force of Sint Maarten is busy implementing its post-COVID-19 De-Escalation Plan, the law enforcement agency announced on Thursday.

This action plan was laid out by the Minister of Justice, the Honorable A. Richardson during her press briefing on Wednesday, May 13th, 2020.

One of the operations flowing out of the action plan is maintaining public order during the set curfew hours and deterring car thefts and burglaries.

During the operational phase, police officers stopped and controlled several vehicles that were suspected of being stolen. During one of these controls, the officers stopped the driver of a Kia Sportage with the number plate M-325 on the W.J.A. Nisbeth Road on Thursday afternoon, May 14th, 2020.

During inspection of the vehicle the officers became aware that the VIN numbers were tampered with and certain parts of the vehicle were changed. The driver with the initials A.W. was immediately arrested and brought to the police station in Philipsburg where he is being held for questioning.

On May 13th, 2020 about 05.00 pm, the officers also stopped and arrested two (2) suspects for driving a Hyundai Grand I10 that was reported stolen.

While doing a safety search on the clothing of the passengers, a quantity of marijuana was found in his possession and it was immediately confiscated. The suspects with the initials T.H. and F.B.L. are being held at the station pending further investigation. The police will be intensifying these types of controls in the future. (KPSM)

]]> (Roddy) Soualiga Newsday Latest News Thu, 14 May 2020 20:12:07 -0400
Odds are increasing for a pre-season storm says weather watchers. Would be named Arthur

SINT MAARTEN/CARIBBEAN – A tropical disturbance near Cuba and the southern Bahamas has the attention of weather watchers and the National Hurricane Center (NHC) out of Miami.

Brian McNoldy, Senior Research Associate at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, on Tuesday said the aforementioned system has the potential to develop into a tropical or subtropical cyclone this weekend, and would be the first named-storm of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season.

A pre-season named storm is nothing new and if this system further develops, it will become the 6th consecutive year.

The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season starts on June 1st and runs through November 31st.


]]> (Roddy) Soualiga Newsday Latest News Tue, 12 May 2020 22:09:56 -0400
BirdsCaribbean Celebrates Local Birds with Online Learning and Activity Program “From the Nest”

SINT MAARTEN/SAINT-MARTIN - Looking for fun ways to learn at home? BirdsCaribbean has launched “From the Nest” with new activities every day. It is this year’s online version of the Caribbean Endemic Bird Festival (CEBF).

The festival is an annual event organized each spring by BirdsCaribbean. It brings people of all ages together, right across the region. Normally, partners host activities like birding walks, presentations, and art contests. The goal is to raise awareness about the 171 unique birds that live only in the Caribbean and threats to their survival. The festival begins on April 22 and is celebrated through May.

“The goal of CEBF is exactly the same, but this year we are celebrating in a completely different way – from our homes,” explained Executive Director of BirdsCaribbean Lisa Sorenson. “Due to the challenges of COVID-19 and restrictions on citizens’ movements across the islands, our partners are unable to organize their usual wonderful, vibrant events. At BirdsCaribbean we have created a “virtual festival” with online discussions and activities that are both fun and educational. Our partners have been playing their part!”

Colouring pages from the recently published Endemic Birds of the West Indies Colouring Book are making their debut online. A new bird is presented each day on BirdsCaribbean’s website, with details, puzzles, eBooks, and activities to keep children, teens, and adults busy! The artist who made the fine bird drawings, Christine Elder, recently streamed a live hands-on workshop on sketching hummingbirds, which attracted budding artists of all ages.

BirdsCaribbean partners are doing their own CEBF projects on their social media pages. Cuban groups and the University of Havana have joined to present an Endemic Cuban Bird of the Day on social media. Antigua’s Environmental Awareness Group (EAG) has a weekly theme under the hashtag #NatureStillOpen. They invite followers to share photos online. The group is also hosting a six-part webinar on “Birding for Beginners,’ which started on May 1.

BirdLife Jamaica is posting its endemic birds on its Facebook page and joined an online meet-up on the arts and environment organized by Kingston Creative. Puerto Rico’s Department of Natural Resources reached out to a 7th Grade Students for a talk about the island’s endemic birds and ornithologist, Dr. Adrianne Tossas gave a webinar, “Getting to Know the Endemic Birds of Puerto Rico.” The Bahamas National Trust’s Scott Johnson explored the mysteries of the legendary Chickcharney, an owl-like creature from folklore, in a fascinating webinar.

CEBF celebrations online will continue into June. Visit the to find From the Nest activities, or follow BirdsCaribbean and your local nature groups on social media.

birds Bridled Quail Dove Puzzle

Online puzzles of gorgeous Caribbean endemic birds, like this Bridled Quail-Dove, are available for kids and adults to enjoy at home.
 birds CEBF From the Nest
 Artwork created for the Caribbean Endemic Bird Festival 2020 Virtual Edition, called “From the Nest.”.



]]> (Roddy) Soualiga Newsday Latest News Tue, 12 May 2020 19:24:25 -0400
Ti Koko and Kush Kush, it’s also a storybook for many of us held up at home by COVID-19, by Shasa Lake

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - Ti Koko and Kush Kush by Patricia G. Turnbull is a storybook for boys and girls, ages 4 to 9, set on the lush bayside of Garden Bay on a tropical island paradise. Sounds familiar? If you have grown up on or near a beach, or wish that you did, this is sooo your story. If you’re from the countryside or city it’s also off to a magical place for your children, and you too. 

Ti Koko and Kush Kush is about “a happy little coconut tree and a friendly, wise yam” in a small community, reviews Nicole Phillip-Dowe on the book’s cover.

What happens on the bayside is not all happy, however. The little coconut tree is soon physically crushed by “Brogudoosh!,” a big new development thing that bullies its way onto the beach. The coconut starts to bawl, “I’ll never grow tall to stir the breeze and brush the sky.”

The breadfruit doesn’t know what to do, the calabash is crying. It’s Kush Kush yam to the rescue of Ti Koko and rallies the neighborhood: “Remember your roots,” she said, “or you will fall! You must stand on your roots to reach that high.”

Turnbull’s choice of the yam as a culture-bearer is brilliant. The yam has a royal origins legacy deep in the psyche of Caribbean people. It’s also a staple to “nyam” in our cuisine (yes, I’m a foodie), and a main survival food for over 300 years.

As for the coconut, respect to one of the oldest living natives of the region.

I’m always collecting children’s books for the beauty of the story and of the book’s design, which helps to make reading exciting in the home.

But I’m also thrilled that the book’s plants and trees bear fruits and vegetables that we can “culture” in our yard. They stay connected and care for each other in very difficult times. A storybook that may also be perfect for people held up at home by the COVID-19 pandemic—affecting island communities and countries on continents.

When I bought Ti Koko and Kush Kush for my girls, Amisha, and the youngest, Sanaa, it was because I loved its message in words and pictures. Strong roots define who you are, what you will become and keeps you grounded, literally.

Amisha was the first to say that she loves the book. The easy reading means that she can also be the proud big sister, acting as a storyteller to Sanaa anytime.

The colorful art by Reuben Vanterpool, exclusive for Ti Koko and Kush Kush, illustrates the poem-story’s talking plants and fruits, fishermen with their boat on the beach, farmers by moonlight, and children going home after school (hurricane Irma destroyed the original oil paintings).

This is the second oversize, hardcover book from House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP) that I’ve bought for children and fell in love with to my own amazement. I’m happy to know that a Caribbean publisher and writers in the region are creating such wonderful work. This happiness is shared as the joy in my voice when I read these stories to my children. 

Ti Koko and Kush Kush is available for Internet orders at www.SPDbooks (, Amazon, and from Van Dorp and other bookstores in the Caribbean and Canada.

nhp book cover

Ti Koko and Kush Kush, colorfully illustrated storybook by Patricia G. Turnbull.

nhp Photo2 art by ReubenVanterpool bayside TiKokoKushKush

Caribbean bayside artwork by Reuben Vanterpool in the storybook Ti Koko and Kush Kush by Patricia G. Turnbull. (Credit HNP photo)



]]> (Roddy) Soualiga Newsday Latest News Sun, 10 May 2020 08:05:07 -0400
Foresee Foundation Announces Video Release: Soualichi Story Origins and Purpose

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – Philipsburg, Sint Maarten –Foresee Foundation established Soualichi Stories as a way to preserve Sint Maarten’s rich and deep traditions of oral storytelling and also to draw Sint Maarteners closer during our period of social distancing.

In order to share more details about the origins, purpose and links between the “C’s” of the Foresee Foundation and essential elements of the Soualichi Stories series, the series team members collaborated on a new video released today, “Behind The Scenes, Insights from the ‘Soualichi Stories’ Team,” available on the Soualichi Stories website:

The video portrays the direct thoughts on the project from the Soualichi Stories Team, which includes representatives and leadership from the Foresee Foundation, along with its storytellers, the Soualichi Stories Project Coordinator, and other partners.

Next Soualichi Story Synopsis: In Soualichi Stories’ fifth story, “Nora and the Dry Gutter,” Nora and her sister visit the other side of the dry gutter to pick cherries. Upon returning across the dry gut, a voice asks them for a cherry. Nora’s sister offers the dry gut her only cherry and then crosses. Nora refuses to give up a cherry from her very full basket. The dry gut teaches her a lesson . . .

Release Date: “Nora and the Dry Gutter,” narrated by Papa Umpo, will be broadcast on multiple radio stations across the island beginning Monday May 11 (both Dutch and French side, schedule included below), while all prior stories are available on the project’s website, located at

More Information: For inquiries and to suggest additional St. Maarten folk stories and story tellers, please contact Soualichi Project Coordinator, Laura Hartman,, or contact the Foresee Foundation on Facebook.

Programming Schedule


SOS 95.5

8:30 AM

Mix 94.7

9:00 AM

MY 88.3

9:30 AM

Tunes Carib

3:00 PM

Radio St. Martin 101.5

5:30 PM


MY 88.3

9:30 AM

Island 92 (91.9)

10:00 AM


8:00 PM


SOS 95.5

8:30 AM

MY 88.3

9:30 AM

Island 92 (91.9)

10:00 AM

Tunes Carib

3:00 PM

Radio St. Martin 101.5

5:30 PM


8:00 PM


Mix 94.7

9:00 AM

MY 88.3

9:30 AM

Voice of SXM (PJD2)

5:30 PM


8:00 PM


SOS 95.5

8:30 AM

MY 88.3

9:30 AM

Island 92 (91.9)

10:00 AM

Tunes Carib

3:00 PM

Radio St. Martin 101.5

5:30 PM


8:00 PM


Mix 94.7

9:00 AM

Voice of SXM (PJD2)

3:00 PM


8:00 PM



8:00 PM

]]> (Roddy) Soualiga Newsday Latest News Sat, 09 May 2020 15:46:07 -0400
Tax Inspectorate Reopens as of May 11 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays,-wednesdays-and-fridays&Itemid=504,-wednesdays-and-fridays&Itemid=504

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - In light of the new developments regarding the de-escalation and the imminent lifting of the current measures within the coming weeks, the public is hereby advised that the following services will be available during the week of May 11, to May 15, 2020 (Monday, Wednesday and Friday).



Week: May 11, 2020






1.     Receiving of tax returns, protest letters, etc,

8:30 AM -1:00 PM

Vineyard Building

2.     Collection:For payment arrangements etc.

830 AM -2:00 PM

Vineyard Building

All collection inquiries will be handled via email and telephone.


Tel: 542-2143/542-5301/542-5304/542-3839

3.   Cashier Transactions (Cash and Maestro payments only will be accepted at the window)

8:30 AM -1:00 PM

PSC /Government Building (Philipsburg)

Payments by check is also possible using the drop box located at the entrance of the Administration Building. Please be sure to print the name, contact number, and email address of the taxpayer or representative on the envelope. Please be sure to include tax returns, a copy of the invoice, etc.

When paying using online banking or bank transfer, please indicate in your transaction the crib number, tax type, year and month paid in the description box. Please note that for every payment, a separate transaction is required.

Banking Information:                       Account Numbers:

The Windward Islands Bank              324800-03-NAF/ 324800-05-US$

RBC Royal Bank                                5425048-NAF/403930461-US$

Please take note of the following tax obligation deferrals:

Wage and Turnover Taxes, AOV/AWW and AVBZ premiums (filing and payment)

March 2020                                        Postponed to May 25, 2020

April 2020                                              Postponed to May 25, 2020

For urgent matters, government public services departments/division can be contacted via email or through the 711 hotline. All clients must ensure that they are wearing proper protective gear (facial masks) and adhere to all security and safety (social distancing) guidelines. The public is also advised to stay tuned to the official Government website and other social media platforms with regard to the other services that will be provided in the coming weeks. 



]]> (Roddy) Soualiga Newsday Latest News Sat, 09 May 2020 00:23:33 -0400
INCOME SUPPORT FOR SOLE PROPRIETORS, VENDOR LICENSE HOLDERS, BUS AND INDEPENDENT TAXI AND TOUR DRIVERS IN FULL SWING,-vendor-license-holders,-bus-and-independent-taxi-and-tour-drivers-in-full-swing&Itemid=504,-vendor-license-holders,-bus-and-independent-taxi-and-tour-drivers-in-full-swing&Itemid=504

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - The Ministry of Finance would like to remind you to apply to the “Income Support for Sole Proprietors, Vendor License Holders, Bus and Independent Taxi and Tour Drivers”. The Income Support Program will pay ANG. 1,150 per month to qualifying individuals for the months of April, May and June 2020. In order to qualify, you must fit the following criteria:

  • Legally registered as a Sole Proprietor or have a permit for public vending (of any kind) or public transportation.
  • You do not have employees and you are not a part of payroll.
  • You have updated Tax Declaration Forms.
  • You have a valid local bank account number.

This is grant is available for Sole Proprietors, Vendor License Holders, Bus Drivers and Independent Taxi/Tour Drivers. In order to receive continued support, applicants must resubmit every month before the 22nd of the respective month. If you believe you are eligible for “Income Support”, please submit the following documents to

  • A Completed Income Support Application Form.
  • Upload a copy of your valid passport/ID.
  • Upload a copy of your valid Chamber of Commerce & Industry registration or vending (of any kind), bus or taxi license.
  • Upload a stamped (Tax Office) copy of your 2018 Income Tax Returns

After your application has been reviewed and approved, you can expect payment on the last Friday of the month. Please visit the official stimulus website for all information and updates. There is also a helpdesk available for all of your inquiries, the official SSRP website can be accessed at

]]> (Roddy) Soualiga Newsday Latest News Thu, 07 May 2020 19:59:02 -0400
TelEm Group getting ready “New Normal” environment to keep everyone safe upon return to the workplace

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) – TelEm Group is getting into gear to fully open its stores and offices to customers and the general public as soon as government makes the announcement that businesses can once again resume regular business hours.

So far, TelEm Group stores and offices have been permitted to open for limited hours and on specific days so that customers without the ability to make online payments can come into the stores to do so. From an initial “rush” last week, lines have tapered off somewhat, especially the special lines reserved for seniors, pregnant women and physically challenged persons, between the hours of 8:00 am and 10:00 am.

“We are informing customers now that we are now giving “preference” to Seniors pregnant women and the physically challenged, which means that customers no longer have to wait until 10:00 am in the morning to come in a be served,” said TelEm Group Chief Commercial Officer (CCO), Mr. Michiel Parent.

Mr. Parent says the commercial team, including customers service, is being heavily supported by Manager, Procurement and General Affairs, Carmen Lake-Reyes, to ensure everything that is needed is in place to accommodate staff returning to the workplace and also customers who are coming into the stores to pay.

“Even though we continue to motivate our customers to pay their invoices online or ask helpdesk-related questions over the phone or via e-mail, there is still a significant amount of customers who require face-to-face service. Carmen and the Manager, Customer Relations, Veronica Browne, are doing a fantastic job getting things in place. We started off slowly by only allowing a few customers into the stores at a time while we had the bulletproof glass to act as a barrier for cashiers. We also set up some tents outside as waiting areas to accommodate customers as best as we could while enforcing strict social distancing protocols,” said Mr. Parent.

He said the measures being taken internally were stepped up another notch recently with completion of screens in the customer service area to separate the customer service representatives from visiting customers.

“The management team has inspected the screens and we are very pleased with how they look. They will create a very effective barrier along with the deep cleaning, hand sanitizing and other protocols that will be enforced once employees return to their posts,” said Mr. Parent.

Mr. Parent says employees still working from home should expect a different work environment upon their return to their posts, to what is being generally described as the “new normal” situation.

“Once back in the workplace we have to constantly think of how we interact and relate with our colleagues and everything around us, what we touch, how close we are to each other, how we sanitize our work spaces, how often we wash our hands, how careful we are when it comes to reporting illness, no matter how small,” said Mr. Parent.

As the coordinator of the TelEm Group infectious diseases response team, Mr. Parent says the management team is doing all it can to ensure workers have a safe environment to work in when they are back in the workplace.

“The day is coming very soon when everyone will be called to return to work. We want everyone to be prepared for that day, but most of all to rest assured about the “new normal” environment they will be coming into,” said Mr. Parent.

]]> (Roddy) Soualiga Newsday Latest News Thu, 07 May 2020 19:39:45 -0400
President Gibbs expresses his condolences on the passing of Senator Lurel

SAINT-MARTIN (MARIGOT) – Daniel Gibbs, President of the Collectivite of Saint-Martin on Monday issued a condolence message on the passing of Victorin Lurel.

In his condolence message, President Gibbs expressed great sorrow that he had learned this afternoon of the passing of fellow senator from Guadeloupe, Victorin Lurel.

President Gibbs conveyed to the family of Lurel his sincere support and comfort also on behalf of the Territorial Council of Saint-Martin, an expression of heartfelt condolences and on behalf of the people of Saint-Martinois.

Victorin Lurel and his family are in our prayers, President Gibbes concluded.

]]> (Roddy) Soualiga Newsday Latest News Mon, 04 May 2020 00:40:46 -0400
Warning for organizers and participants of prospective street parties

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Sint Maarten Police Force see it as a necessity to once again issue another stern warning to certain members of the general public, the police said on Sunday evening. “It has been brought to our attention that a small group is once again coordinating a jump up in light of the closing of what would have been Carnival 2020 after being repeatedly warned of the dangers doing so may cause,” the police said in their statement on Sunday.

Warnings such as these are not because the police are aiming at stopping anyone’s fun, as stated in several of the addresses made by the head of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), Prime Minister Jacobs.

They serve as a means to request compliance from the community. We have all witnessed firsthand the countless lives that have been loss and masses of people that continue to battle with this COVID-19 virus. This virus is not a joke and can be caught in the simplest ways, the statement explains.

“Sint Maarten is a tiny dot compared to the rest of the world and our resources are limited. We are again asking the small group of people that refuse to comply, to rethink your decision-making process as it can cost you or someone you love their lives.

“We are in this battle together, no one is exempt from contracting the virus, and the more it spreads is the longer we have to limit movement, which will mean extended lockdowns.

“When we all come together to comply it will be the sooner, we can regain some sense of normalcy and get the country back up and running. We have done it several times after many devastating hurricanes, and we can do it again through this COVID- 19 epidemic with the help of the community.

“For those that may know someone who is involved in organizing or planning to attend these illegal gatherings, be your neighbors keeper, let them know it is wrong and the repercussions of their actions can have a tremendous impact on the economy of Sint Maarten.

“Please think before you act, anyone caught participating or planning any illegal gatherings will be arrested and fined heavily.

“At the same time, the police also want to thank the community of Sint Maarten who all comply with the described measure. You make the work easier for the Front liners, and we will get through this together.” (KPSM)

]]> (Roddy) Soualiga Newsday Latest News Sun, 03 May 2020 19:57:31 -0400
President Daniel Gibbs brings the voice of Saint-Martin to the President of the Republic Macron

SAINT-MARTIN (MARIGOT) - The President of the Collectivite of Saint-Martin participated, this Thursday, April 30, 2020, in a video conference organized by the President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron, with the Prefects and Presidents of Overseas Regions and Collectivites (Atlantic Zone), with the aim of taking stock of the situation with respect to the COVID-19 crisis in each territory and to examine together the stakes of the planned exit strategy from the confinement measures as of May 11, 2020.

Each territory was able to present the current situation of the epidemic and express its needs in terms of health, social and economic response, expected from the State.

On the reopening of schools

The issue of schools has been the subject of a discussion argued by territorial elected officials who do not wish to take any risks for students, teachers and their families and call on the government to deploy the necessary means for this recovery. President Gibbs was cautious in asking the President of the Republic to clarify the terms of the recovery and the means granted to the Collectivites. He confirmed that consultation meetings had taken place locally and would continue until a concerted decision was reached by 11 May.

On economic recovery

During his speech, President Gibbs stressed the major actions to be implemented in Saint- Martin to protect businesses and save jobs. The President of Saint-Martin recalled the statistics of his territory: 950 companies have used partial activity since the beginning of the Covid19 crisis, bringing to 4478 the number of employees affected by partial unemployment; 829 companies have applied for assistance under the National Solidarity Fund, with an average of 1390 euros per company in Saint-Martin. He also presented to the President of the Republic the main measures taken locally by the Collectivite , including the participation of our institution in the part 1 of the National Solidarity Fund to the tune of 123,000 euros, the establishment of an emergency fund of 5 million euros through a three-tiered scheme aimed at providing assistance to all businesses in the territory, regardless of their size. This assistance takes the form of two honorary loans of up to 15,000 euros and the use of the BPI's rebound loan,as well as the implementation, from 14 April, of deferrals of payments until next year, for the TGCA, corporation tax and commercial patent.

The Community is financially abounding in Part 2 of the Solidarity Fund, which will be launched from 1 May 2020 and which can reach 5000 euros.

President Gibbs also made it clear that investment assistance and the acquisition of protective measures will soon be put in place by the Collectivite for Shops and Restaurants.

Daniel Gibbs also spoke of his plan to revive the Economy of Saint-Martin and to start on a solid footing, the president asked the State for three levers: à l’Etat :

  • The revision of the State/COM convergence contract, to which the Minister of Overseas Affairs Annick Girardin, present alongside the President of the Republic, responded
  • The use of the remaining funds of the European funds under the 2014-2020 programmes (26 million euros) in actions to exit the COVID-19 crisis and the redeployment of part of the funds allocated for cooperation on COVID-19 shares (4 million euros out of 10 million euros of INTERREG-CTE credits initially allocated to STEP).
  • A revenue safeguard plan: revision of the endorsement to the State-COM protocol of 6 November 2017 with the request to extend it by 3 years and the guarantee of tax revenue actually collected in 2019 (100.2 million euros). Not to mention the implementation of tax reform of Saint-Martin that has been pending for a long time. The Minister of Overseas Affairs recognized the need to move forward on this issue.

On the reopening of bars, restaurants and shops

The President expressed to the President of the Republic the vital urgency for Saint-Martin to be able to reopen bars, restaurants and shops as soon as possible, as of 11 May, at the risk of many businesses finding themselves in serious difficulty and unable to overcome this unprecedented crisis.

A point on which the President of the Republic responded favourably under certain conditions. The President of Saint-Martin has also called for an extension of the partial unemployment scheme until the end of December 2020 in order to save jobs and support businesses that will have to wait until the next tourist season to be able to restart their activity satisfactorily.

The President of the Republic took this issue into consideration for the overseas territories and announced that a specific mechanism should be created quickly in the continuity of partial unemployment, for companies in this sector and help them to prepare themselves for the future.

The support of the banks was also discussed by President Gibbs, who wants much more support for the companies of Saint-Martin. The Minister of Overseas Affairs has pledged to intervene, as after Irma, for banks to strengthen their financial support to the overseas territories.

On regional cooperation

Another major topic for President Gibbs is the geopolitical context of Saint-Martin and its proximity to Sint Maarten, Anguilla and Saint Barths. As Saint-Martin is an air hub for these islands, the recovery must take place in consultation and in harmonizing tourism decisions: establishing joint modalities for the reopening of tourism services and infrastructure.

On COVID-19 screening

President Gibbs highlighted the involvement of the Collectivite of Saint-Martin about the community outreach COVID-19 testing initiative planned for May 4 to May 18.

]]> (Roddy) Soualiga Newsday Latest News Fri, 01 May 2020 03:23:27 -0400
Only two active COVID-19 Cases. One hospitalized

SAINT-MARTIN (MARIGOT) – Out of the 38 positive COVID-19 cases, French Saint-Martin only has two remaining active cases. One person remains in hospital in Martinique.

The President of the Collectivite of Saint-Martin, Daniel Gibbs, met on Tuesday 28 April, Valérie Denux, Director of the Regional Health Agency of Guadeloupe, as well as Professor Roger, an infectious disease specialist at the University Hospital of Pointe-à-Pitre/Abymes, to discuss joint measures to combat the spread of COVID19, on the territory of Saint-Martin.

This meeting was first and foremost an opportunity to provide a comprehensive update on the health situation of the territory, as the Director of the L.A. confirmed to the President a significant decrease in acute respiratory infections observed by doctors and a stabilization of COVID-19 cases in recent days, indicating that containment is working.

However, further action should be taken by expanding screening tests to all people with flu-like symptoms, even mild ones, and by continuing joint efforts to drastically reduce the circulation of the virus in Saint-Martin and to contain each case that would prove to be in the future.

In partnership with the Collectivite and under the aegis of the LRS, L.C. Fleming Hospital is currently forming a team of mobile physicians who will travel to Sandy Ground, St. James, and French Quarter to conduct voluntary testing. The Collectivite and the Neighbourhood Councils are mobilized for this operation which takes place from 4 to 18 May and will be accessible to all residents who are identified as symptomatic of COVID 19 and wishing to be screened, regardless of their neighbourhood of residence.

The Collectivite is also committed to the acquisition and donation of a PCR screening machine and two ventilators (anesthesia and resuscitation) for the L. C. Fleming Hospital, as well as to make available under agreement, two screening machines for the two laboratories of Saint-Martin as well as 3000 PCR tests. This contribution from the Collectivite amounts to a total amount of 190,000 Euros, from European funds.

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]]> (Roddy) Soualiga Newsday Latest News Fri, 01 May 2020 03:05:46 -0400
Victorious Living Visionary: Positive Disruption is key to Transforming our Community Registration for Leadercast Live 2020 Closes May 1st

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Globally, regionally and locally, many persons are challenged by the current crisis that has impacted the world due to the effects of “Covid-19.”

This crisis has disrupted all of our lives in one form or the next. In light of our local and global challenges which range from economic depression, job losses and loss of loved ones, Victorious Living’s visionary, Dr. Erna Mae Francis Cotton states, “If an alleged virus has been able to disrupt the entire world in such a tremendous way, imagine what positive disruption could do.”

Francis-Cotton noted in a press release that Covid-19 is teaching all of us that one person can make a difference. She states, “It is teaching us that if positive changes are to take place in our political, economic, educational, business, media and family systems, we’ll have to positively disrupt the status quo. We have to be bold and courageous enough to examine the systems that currently are not serving us and make the changes that are necessary to chart a more effective course that will benefit all of us regardless of age, race, creed or background.”

Fortuitously, Leadercast, the world’s largest annual one day leadership conference based in Georgia, USA, which Victorious Living hosts locally, chose “Positive Disruption” as its theme for Leadercast Live 2020, almost one year ago. “Positive Disruption,” calls upon leaders of all levels to shake up the status quo and drive opportunities for innovation and change.

This year, Leadercast and Victorious Living have adapted to the current need for physical distancing due to “Covid-19” and are offering Leadercast Live to registrants in the comfort of their home or office.

Nine influential change-makers will grace the Leadercast stage including:

Earvin “Magic” Johnson—Hall-of-Fame Basketball Player, Executive and Philanthropist

Five-time NBA champion and three-time NBA MVP now finding success off the court as a team executive, businessman and philanthropist.

Amy Jo Martin—Digital Media Pioneer and Best-Selling Author

Named one of the most powerful women on Twitter by Forbes, Amy Jo helps people and businesses revolutionize their brand.

Andy Stanley—Best-Selling Author and Leadership Communicator

Founder and senior pastor of the renowned North Point Ministries and author of more than 20 books.

Dr. Henry Cloud—Psychologist, Best-Selling Author and Leadership Expert

An unmatched knowledge of business leadership and psychology and author of more than 45 books that have sold more than 13 million copies.

Bozoma Saint John—Chief Marketing Officer, Endeavor

Known as a trailblazing executive from leading marketing efforts for Uber, Apple and Pepsi-Cola North America, and now Endeavor’s global network.

The registration deadline is May 1st and persons from any geographic location are able to register. Victorious Living is assigning 50% of the proceeds from Leadercast to reach vulnerable persons unable to afford mental health support. In addition, persons who register for Leadercast will receive a complimentary online course entitled “Self-Leadership,” from Victorious Living’s E-Learning Academy of over 180 enlightening and empowering courses.

For more information, or to register, persons may call 1-721-524-8731 or visit

VLF drhenrycloud 1

Dr. Henry Cloud

VLF Leadercast 2020 Final 1




]]> (Roddy) Soualiga Newsday Latest News Thu, 30 Apr 2020 16:04:23 -0400
Nature Foundation Evaluates the Environmental Impact of Middle Region’s Bushfire

SINT MAARTEN (MIDDLE REGION) - Last week the Nature Foundation St. Maarten assessed the areas of Middle Region, Madame Estate, Arc Road and Sucker Garden to evaluate the environmental impact of the bushfire that spread throughout those regions in the late hours of Monday, April 20th.

“The bushfire significantly damaged the native vegetation and wildlife of St. Maarten, decreasing our biodiversity, whereby a loss off at least 177,372 square meters of vegetation was recorded. Several wildlife species were found to be affected or even deceased due to the fire. St. Maarten’s native vegetation and wildlife were already greatly reduced and are under significant threats due to development and construction, we urge all residents to be very careful with burning any items, especially during dry periods” stated the Nature Foundation St. Maarten. 

In the days after the fire Nature Foundation’s Chief Ranger Etienne Lake and D. Bardfield of the VKS (Voluntary Corps St. Maarten) were able to visit the affected areas to determine the significant environmental impact of this incident. The team was able to assess that at least 177,372 square meters of land were burned or scorched during the fire through the use of a drone, most of this land was covered with native grasses, native cacti and wild growing Tamarind Trees. 

The fire has severe negative consequences for the biodiversity of the area and the following species have been recorded as being found dead from either fire or smoke inhalation: mongoose, lizards, iguanas, various bird species, snails, spiders and other insects. In addition to the loss of life from the event animals that could normally be found in the area often flee after a bushfire and cannot return for some time due to the lack of food in the region. 

While the negative impacts of such a fire on biodiversity can be obvious and devastating there were also signs of some life still surviving in the region including a mongoose, two doves, one lizard, and several ants. Bush fires are not only negative, as bushfires can trigger new germination of places in the area and encourage new growth that would not have been possible with the dense vegetation already in place. 

Thanks to the great efforts by the Fire Department, Police Department and residents of the area there were no human fatalities due to the fire which, if not contained could have spread to several densely populated areas nearby. The Nature Foundation will continue to monitor the area in the coming weeks and hope to see regeneration in a short time period.

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nature hillside impact on animals

nature hillside impact on bush


nature hillside impact on shell animals

nature hillside impact on trees



]]> (Roddy) Soualiga Newsday Latest News Thu, 30 Apr 2020 15:28:05 -0400
Port St. Maarten Recognizes and says Thank you to the Frontline Maritime Workforce & Seafarers

PORT ST. MAARTEN – Port St. Maarten Management would like to say thank you to the maritime workforce that comprises of and not limited to, pilots, stevedores, crane operators, truck drivers, forklift operators, port operators, security staff, marine engineers, pilot boat captains, dockmasters, shipping lines, shipping agents, port administrative staff and seafarers, who are on the frontline daily ensuring that the global supply chain related to the movement of cargo, food, medical supplies, essential goods critical to our community and other consumer goods, continues to move throughout the world and to St. Maarten and the surrounding islands.

“We have a full understanding of what you face during this global pandemic which has reached our shores, and we recognize the dedication, sacrifice and professionalism, and appreciate and give gratitude for what you do on a daily basis with respect to the COVID-19 response and recovery, as well as ensuring a steady flow of the supply chain continuity that our communities and the surrounding islands are so dependent on.

“Port St. Maarten continues to provide essential services to the community with top priority being the health, safety and well-being of the port workforce, and its users.

“A number of measures have been taken to ensure the aforementioned via our ‘Sterile Port Protocol’ that includes enhanced sanitization measures since mid-March at the Dr. A.C. Wathey Cruise & Cargo Facility.

“We urge all personnel to remain vigilant and take the necessary personal preventive measures as promoted by the Collective Prevention Service (CPS) to minimize the risk of infection from COVID-19.

“Once again, we say thank you to all our port workforce heroes and the seafaring community who are the reasons why commerce continues to move through Port St. Maarten and to the neighbouring islands,” Port Management said on Wednesday.

]]> (Roddy) Soualiga Newsday Latest News Wed, 29 Apr 2020 20:21:43 -0400
Several arrests made in illegal street parties kept in Dutch Quarter and Fort Willem

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The local Dispatch received several calls early Monday morning April 27th reporting groups of people in Dutch Quarter and Fort Willem areas gathered for a Street Party on the public road which had been previously organized.

Upon arrival of the patrols at the first locations, the officers encountered a group of about 50 people dancing behind a vehicle that was playing loud music. In an effort to avoid possibly exposing the Police officers on the scene to the COVID 19 virus, the decision was made not to arrest the revelers on the spot but instead order all the participants to immediately disperse and return home.

Since then, the Police launched a full investigation into the matter and later that same evening, six (6) persons who were responsible for organizing and participating in these so-called Jumps Up's in Dutch Quarter and Fort Willem were arrested.

The first two persons with the initials G.R. and G.R. were arrested in the area of Philipsburg. The father and son duo were involved with the Jump Up that took place in the area of Fort Willem.

They are being held pending further investigation. Meanwhile, the vehicles and sound systems used at both locations were also confiscated and hefty fines were issued.

“We would like to make it absolutely clear to the community, that we are taking a zero tolerance approach to persons, who insist on blatantly disregarding the curfew laws imposed and continue to put our front line workers and the community in danger,” Chief of Police Carl M. John stated.

“So far we have issued more than Naf. 4000 in fines and we anticipate much more as the investigation continues,” the police statement said.

The other four (4) individuals with initials D.A.M., D.M.M.H. R.K.E and I.R.B. were arrested in the Dutch Quarter area and one of the vehicles and sound systems was also seized. All six suspects were held and questioned and later released after paying their fines.

The KPSM would like to advise the public to adhere to the curfew set by the Prime Minister as head of the E.O.C and to refrain from illicit behavior that continues to put the lives of others in the community at risk. Anyone found to be in breach of these safety measures will be arrested and prosecuted. This investigation is still ongoing. (KPSM)  

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Two vehicles that were confiscated by Police are after they were involved in the illegal so-called J' ouvert morning event on April 27 during the national state of emergency. (Police photo)


]]> (Roddy) Soualiga Newsday Latest News Tue, 28 Apr 2020 20:28:38 -0400
Crown and Island Princess Cruise Ships in Port for Fuel Bunkering

PORT ST. MAARTEN – On Tuesday morning, two cruise ships came in for fuel bunkering, namely Crown Princess and Island Princess of Princess Cruises.  Port St. Maarten continues to cater to the cruise industry during the global COVID-19 pandemic by providing essential services such as fuel and food provisioning. 

Also, in port on Tuesday are Star Pride, Wind Star and Wind Surf of Windstar Cruise Line, which came into port over the weekend.  The aforementioned are in port to shift crew members as well as food and consumer product supplies between the three vessels.

Port St. Maarten Management continues to maintain a constructive working relationship with cruise partners and stakeholders during this unprecedented time and continues to assist the cruise industry with essential services when requested. 

All cruise vessels have to adhere to stringent public health measures as well as to the rules and regulations related to the national State of Emergency.  Port St. Maarten has a “Sterile Port Protocol” in place since mid-March with respect to COVID-19 ensuring safety and security. No crew disembarkation or embarkation is allowed.

Crown Princess and Island Princess vessels belong to Princess Cruises.  The line is a global cruise and tour company taking more than one million passengers each year to more than 300 worldwide destinations on six continents. The company was founded in 1965 and is headquartered in California, USA.  Its parent company is Carnival Corporation & plc.

Princess Cruises has extended a temporary pause of global operations through June 30 due to the global COVID-19 outbreak.  The cruise line initially announced a voluntary pause for 60-days impacting voyages that departed from March 12.

Princess Cruises operates a fleet of 17 modern ships, with one on order that travels to destinations around the globe including Alaska, Caribbean, Panama Canal, Mexican Riviera, Europe, South America, Australia/New Zealand, South Pacific, Hawaii, Tahiti/French Polynesia, Asia, Africa, India, Canada/New England and world cruises.

The Crown Princess made its inaugural cruise in June 2006 and was christened by Martha Stewart.  The vessel was refurbished in April 2018. Island Princess made its inaugural cruise in July 2003 and was christened by Jamie Sale and David Pelletier (Olympic Gold Medalists) and was refurbished in December 2017. 

Windstar Cruise Line Vessels in Port

Windstar Cruise Line three vessels docked at the cruise pier (right). (Port St. Maarten Photo)

]]> (Roddy) Soualiga Newsday Latest News Wed, 29 Apr 2020 18:11:14 -0400
TelEm Group launching 9111 Emergency credit plan for prepaid customers

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - TelEm Group is launching a new 9111 Emergency Bundle plan to assist prepaid subscribers in times of emergency.

From 6:00 pm, today (Friday, April 24, 2020) all TelCell pre-paid subscribers will be able to tap into a reserved Bundle of Minutes and Data to make an SOS or other Emergency call to any TelCell mobile or TelEm landline number.

The Emergency Bundle is ONLY available for a one-time use and once activated, The Emergency Bundle will remain available to the user for 15 days after which the bundle will expire.

TelEm Group says activation of the Emergency Bundle is automatically available when a subscriber’s balance reaches $1 or less, at which point the subscriber will have the option to send a text message “Emergency” to 9111 to activate the Emergency Bundle that TelCell has reserved for them.

TelEm Group CEO, Mr. Kendall Dupersoy, says the new Emergency Bundle plan is another measure taken by the company to assist customers and the general public as St. Maarten battles against the spread of the deadly Coronavirus.

“I would strongly urge our pre-paid subscribers to use this Emergency Bundle credit for what it is meant for, an emergency call, and not use it just because it’s there,” said Mr. Dupersoy.

He said TelEm Group is doing all it can, under very challenging circumstances, for the community, noting that containment of the spread of the Coronavirus on the island will only be successful with the combined effort of everyone.

During the lockdown the CEO has been voicing public awareness messages from TelEm Group urging people to Stay Home, and Keep Safe, for which he has been receiving some very positive comments from the online and social media community.

]]> (Roddy) Soualiga Newsday Latest News Mon, 27 Apr 2020 01:22:59 -0400

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - St. Maarten Non-Profit Organizations (NPOs) are asked to fill out a survey administered by NPOwer, a program under Foresee Foundation. The survey, although initiated by NPOwer, received input from various stakeholders of the community, leading to a questionnaire that is extensive and comprehensive.

Director of Foresee Foundation, Jose Sommers expressed, “We need to assess the current state-of-affairs of our non-profit organizations and attain insight and understanding about the effects that COVID-19 may have on the functioning of operations. With the data survey we can ascertain how prospective changes in civic society may influence St. Maarten society, and we can share the results with the St. Maarten Non-Profit Sector, Government, funders and other national and international stakeholders.”

Cassandra Richardson, NPOwer Project Coordinator further explains that several NPOs and volunteers usually “step-up and take care of the community in times of crisis”. Ms. Richardson expressed further, “we experienced this during hurricane Irma and many hurricanes before and it will be no different with this crisis.”

The survey is not to only capture the reality of how NPO’s are operating in the face of the COVID-19 crisis, we also hope to show trends of how the St. Maarten society on a whole is reacting as a result of this crisis.

As mentioned above, NPOs will be able to already access the survey as they received an email concerning this initiative. The survey can also be accessed through the NPOwer website at or by opening the link

All non-profit organizations are asked to fill out the survey this week. For more information organizations can contact NPOwer by sending an email to or calling

581 5050.

For those organizations who have not yet joined the NPOwer online database with already over 85 organizations, they are invited to do so and make themselves visible to St. Maarten and abroad.

“Helping NPOwer to build its data base helps with administering research, provide vital information to NPO’s and helps to get your own organization’s information to other NPO’s as well”, according to Ms. Richardson

NPOwer is a project of the Foresee (4C) Foundation and mandated to support in capacity building and connect the St. Maarten NPO community, the statement from the NPOwer Team, Cassandra Richardson and Jose Sommers said on Sunday.

]]> (Roddy) Soualiga Newsday Latest News Sun, 26 Apr 2020 14:14:42 -0400
VNP Head at Port to Welcome the Karel Doorman

SINT MAARTEN (POINT BLANCHE) - Head of the Office of Dutch Representation in Sint Maarten (VNP), Chris Johnson, on Friday was at Port St. Maarten to welcome the ZM Karel Doorman.

Royal Netherlands Navy Ship Karel Doorman arrived on St Maarten as part of the military assistance to the Dutch Caribbean, the VNP said in a press statement on Friday.

On hand to welcome the ship were representatives of locally stationed marines, the Marechaussee, as well as the Dutch Representation Office VNP.

The VNP statement further says: The ship and crew can support the islands in border surveillance, food security, and help maintain public order if necessary. There are also medical facilities and personnel on the ship, amongst other services to aid in the corona-crisis.

]]> (Roddy) Soualiga Newsday Latest News Fri, 24 Apr 2020 21:44:17 -0400
Dutch Navy’s Largest Vessel HNLMS Karel Doorman Arrives at Port St. Maarten on Friday

PORT ST. MAARTEN – The Royal Netherlands Navy’s biggest ship, the HNLMS Karel Doorman A-833, a Joint Support Ship (JSS), arrived on Friday at Port St. Maarten after its trans-Atlantic crossing from Den Helder on April 13 in the Netherlands.

The vessel was deployed by the Netherlands Ministry of Defence to support the civilian authorities in the fight against the coronavirus disease COVID-19 when and where this is required. The ship has been deployed for an initial three-month period according to the Ministry of Defence.

The HNLMS Karel Doorman brought in disaster relief supplies along with a number of vehicles for the emergency phase of post Hurricane Irma/Maria in 2017.

The HNLMS Karel Doorman consignment in 2017 was the single largest shipment of relief goods Post-Hurricane Irma comprising of goods with a total weight of over one million kilos and valued at an estimated one million Euros.

The Karel Doorman with a length of 204.7 meters, is a multi-functional logistical support vessel for amphibious operations that can be deployed to supply units at sea, for strategic sea transport, and for logistical support from the sea, with the ship acting as a seaborne base for implementing and supporting land operations.

The HNLMS Karel Doorman has 2,000 lane meters for transport of material such as tracked and wheeled vehicles or containers; has an elevator and crane for up to 40 tons; a roll on/roll off facility for vehicles, and a steel beach stern construction for accommodating cargo transfer via landing craft.

The vessel features a below-deck transport holding area, medical facilities (20 treatment areas, two surgery rooms), loading/unloading equipment, a helicopter deck with two landing pads for different types of helicopters; displacement of 27,800 long tons; beam of 30.4 meters; draught of 7.8 meters; speed of 18 knots; range of 9,800 nautical miles; 150 crew and 150 non-enlisted persons.

The Karel Doorman was built at Damen’s Shipyard in Romania, but was fitted out in Vlissingen, the Netherlands. The vessel costs US$480 million to build and was built between 2011-2014, and commissioned in April 2015.

The Royal Netherlands Navy deploys the vessel both at home and abroad for crisis management operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. The Royal Netherlands Navy is the oldest of the four Services of the Netherlands Armed Forces.

]]> (Roddy) Soualiga Newsday Latest News Sat, 25 Apr 2020 19:49:18 -0400